Thank you to R. Tran for hosting this guest post and helping me promote my latest release, Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age. This is the final book of my fantasy adventure series, which has spanned 15 volumes. That’s a long adventure, so you can imagine all the twists and turns. At least there better be some because you can’t go straight as the griffin flies in something this massive. So, here are a few tips that I hope will help anyone else who is going to tackle such a project.
- I can’t say this one enough because it’s saved my continuity bacon plenty of times in the past. NOTES! Whether it be notes prior to writing or jotting them down after you finish a chapter, you need to know where you’ve been when it comes to a long series. This covers character description, relations, monsters, sequence of events, and locations. I do a lot of outlines and prep work before the first draft, but I still make sure to keep a file of information for anything I need for the next book. After all, it’s a nasty flow killer when you have to stop and hunt down information in previous volumes.
- Character development should be a series of ups and downs. In shorter series, you can do this over the course of a book. In a longer one, you have more time for them to go up and recover from the plummet. For example, a hero might finally achieve their goal of being a famous adventurer. They revel in this for a while to show the good and bad of fame. Then something happens to destroy their reputation and they now have to rebuild, but with less positive energy and the public probably having a soured opinion on him.
- Throwing a book in that deviates from the main story is a risk, but it can be done as long as it has lasting impact. I say this because you might find there’s a subplot that needs extra attention, but keeps getting overshadowed. Maybe a romance or a character that would develop faster if put on a personal quest. This does extend the series by a book, so you have to make sure there’s a good reason that the main plot takes a temporary backseat.
- This one is more personal preference, but I think it does help when you’re going beyond a trilogy. Using a group instead of a solitary hero opens up for more subplots and a shifting of the spotlight. One book can focus on some of the heroes with the others stepping more into a role that is between main cast and supporting cast. The next one switches things up with another character taking the forefront for some reason. This doesn’t even have to be done with a true ensemble since you can have supporting characters that move in and out of importance. If you have more heroes to carry the load then you have a lower risk of people getting bored with them.
- A way to look at each book in a long series is that it’s a part of the whole and its own entity. You can’t end every book of a long series with a cliffhanger because readers need some level of closure. There can be a clear sign that the story will continue, but at least one of the main events of that book should come to an end. It doesn’t even have to be in the heroes’ favor.
- Returning to previous locations can help show that time is passing within the story world. This is an odd detail, but timelines can get a little confusing if it feels like characters move on, never age, and never look back. Using a city or region from a previous volume undoes this subconscious effect. Show differences within the area, especially if they’re caused by actions taken in the past. For example, a city that is dragged into a big battle can be revisited to show how far the repairs have come. There might even be some resentment toward the heroes for not having taken the action away.
- Never be afraid to take a break. I’ll admit that I’m pretty bad at this, but even a week off after finishing a first draft will revive you. Whether you realize it or not, your mind will start filing everything and you might stumble onto some things that you have to fix with editing. So, never underestimate the power of a break. (Going along with this a reward doesn’t hurt to. Personally, I treat myself to pizza when I finish a first draft or publish a volume.)
Again, thank you to R. Tran for hosting this post and I’m looking forward to swinging by the comments. Please feel free to check out or help spread the word about Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age. Enjoy the adventure.
Author Bio & Social Media
Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.
All cover art done by JASON PEDERSEN