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Pros and cons of writing a series: Editor's Notes #252
January 18, 2018

Sometimes, when it's going badly,
she wonders if what she believes to be a love of the written word
is really just a fetish for stationary.
The true writer, the born writer, will scribble words on scraps of litter, the back of a bus ticket, on the wall of a cell.

—David Nicholls

In this issue:

1. Pros and cons of writing a series
2. Tickled my funny bone
3. Interesting Web site
4. Writing prompt
5. Letters to the editor

1. Pros and cons of writing a series
Series work well for many types of writing, both fiction and non-fiction. Some writers plan a series before they write the first sentence. Others receive requests from publishers or readers to revisit a character or topic. Even if you’ve never thought about a series, it’s good to have information on your options.

The best thing about a series is the built-in sales. Once readers love what you’ve done, they are eager to have more. Some writers of series can’t keep up with demand for new material.

Some writers love the structure that a series gives. Although each book requires something new, it builds on something old. If you love comfortable old slippers, you might be a good candidate to consider writing a series.

There are downsides to writing a series. The biggest is probably the time commitment. It will run into years, maybe decades. Ask yourself if you are ready for that much of any good thing.

Because of the time commitment, in signing on to write a series as in entering marriage, it is best to begin out of love. How much do you love your character, topic, or the research that may be required? Pure love of money will probably not be enough to sustain you for the duration.

It is generally best not to tell a publisher that you want to write a series unless you have already published. Publishers wisely do not believe first-time authors who say they are up to the job. Most publishers want to see what the sales are on your first book before taking a chance on the next one. But if you have a contract signed and you are into the publishing process with book one, you might float the idea that you have more where that came from.

This issue is one of a series about series. I opted for a series because I try to keep Editor’s Notes brief, and I have more to say than would fit in the short format of this publication. So, I’m doing what I suggest you do if you choose to write a series. Get going on number two even before number one is sent. That way, when the publisher responds with, "Let’s see what you have so far," you have something besides a dream to show.

As for here, the next two issues give more details about specific sorts of series.


2.Tickled my funnybone
She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.


3. Interesting Web site
Here’s a site you can just dig into as a writer.

4. Writing prompt
When you write a fiction series, the end of one story is often the jumping-off point for the next one. The link below is a list of fabulous last lines. Choose one, and use it to begin something of your own. Don’t be shy. Send me your results.

5. Letter to the editor
I got a flurry of word lists from the last writing prompt. Here’s one with a suggestion you might incorporate into your writing life.


Here's my list for walked:


I thought of these in 10 or 20 seconds then did what I frequently do when I'm not satisfied... I searched for synonyms and found (for walk):   stroll, saunter, amble, wend one's way, trudge, plod, hike, tramp, trek, march, stride, troop, patrol, step out, wander, ramble, tread, prowl, footslog, promenade, roam, traipse; stretch one's legs, go for a walk, take the air; advance, proceed, move, go, make one's way; mosey, pootle; yomp; perambulate.

Of course, the use of online searches for synonyms is another new tool which writers didn't have until fairly recently.

Hope you're doing well and not suffering too much from the cold.



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