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Write a series: Editor's Notes #218
August 31, 2016
Hello,

Write what you want to read.
The person you know best in this world is you.
Listen to yourself.
If you are excited by what you are writing,
you have a much better chance
of putting that excitement over to a reader.

--Robin McKinley


In this issue:

1. Write a series
2. Tickled my funnybone
3. Interesting Web site
4. Writing prompt

1. Write a series
Series offer readers predictability and writers pre-sold readers. Both fiction and non-fiction shelves hold series.

In fiction, the books are held together by characters, (Franklin), setting (Harry Potter), or plots (Robert Langdon).

In non-fiction, an expert may have many topics to cover or may want to break one massive book into smaller bite-sized bits. For example, if you are the go-to person on 20th century literature, you could write a series about the various genres, or about the influences of other art forms or politics on the literature, or about the female writers of the 20th century.

Could your current writing project become a series?

It's best if you consider the option of writing a series at the start of book one. That way, you can think of both big picture things like themes, topics, and plots as well as smaller details such as the look and feel of the books and an overall title for the series. If you can realistically conceive of four books that hold together, you may have a series.

Some publishers pull back when a new writer suggests a series. One strategy that works is to submit book one after you have fleshed out at least an outline of three or four books. When your first book is accepted, ask the publisher if you should submit the ideas for the rest of the series. That way, the publisher is not being asked to be tied to a dead dog if your writing does not meet expectations or sales go flat. At the same time, the publisher can begin to think about how a series could roll out.

An alternate strategy is to seek out publishers who have successful series.

If you plan to publish your own series, publish the first book only after you have written the first two. Then stay one book ahead of the publishing schedule.

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2.Tickled my funnybone
From a church bulletin: Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.

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3. Interesting Web site
Here's a series all writers can use: TED-Ed on writing. (Be sure to stick around for the little quiz at the end of each lesson.)
http://ed.ted.com/series/the-writer-s-workshop

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4. Writing prompt
I call this prompt Gender-Bender. Take a story or scene you know and change the gender of a character. A current example of this in popular culture is the twist that makes Dr. Watson a female in the TV take-off on the Holmes series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

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