I am so THRILLED to have J.A. Belfield stop by to discuss writing a series today. Her Holloway Pack series is one of my favorites. Seriously, I’m in love with all the boys in the pack. 🙂 Without further adieu, the most excellent J.A. Belfield:
When Linda asked me for a post on ‘how to write a series’ I almost snorted out my coffee.
Because the truth is, I never for one minute expected The Holloway Pack to be a series when I first wrote Darkness & Light.
Yep, I reached the end, wrapped up all the loose ends, and thought I’d finished.
Until a week later when I realised I was pining for more Sean and Jem.
After being shouted at strongly encouraged by ‘Him Indoors’ to write something else because my moping about was driving him nuts, I knuckled down to plan and came up with the idea for Blue Moon.
Again, I thought this one would be another standalone novel. Another Jem and Sean tale, yes—but one that would end wrapped up with a nice big bow.
You see, my ridiculous naivety was there before I headed back to write the prequels so I could study Jem & Sean’s history. It was also before I had the idea for and started to write Holloway pack 3. At the time, my head was pretty rebellious about the third book in the series. Because the ideas for it were there, driving me nuts inside my head, but I held off for a year. Thankfully, holding off came with positive results—because my head decided (*ting* Cue ‘lightbulb moment’) to switch up the narrator to someone completely new.
This dude was a major pain in the butt to write.
However, stress and additional grey hairs aside, I was almost halfway in when I realised that I could, in fact, write a story for each of the Holloway Pack males.
*Ting* Cue another lightbulb moment.
Because the instant I quit fighting it, the ideas began to flood in. And within weeks I had loose concepts for each of their tales—and within days after that, I had a strong idea of what the conflict would be in each book, and how each preceding book could lead into that.
So where’s the advice in all of this, you ask?
Okay, the best I can give you is this:
- Don’t force it. Not every story is meant to be bigger than a singular novel. If the ideas aren’t flowing for future stories, step away. But remember, even if they’re not there to begin, doesn’t mean they won’t be later—which leads me to …
- Don’t fight the muse. He usually knows what he’s doing even when you think he’s an idiot. If he’s trying to pop new ideas in your head, don’t discount them just because you hadn’t intended for your novel to turn into a series. I also find that what some folk refer to as writers block is often a bad case of me not having listened to my muse. Trust me: as much as I hate to admit it, the dude knows his stuff. Which leads me to …
- Once you’ve realised your story should be turned into a series, you have to have some kind of plan. Just a real rough, loose plan will do. After all, you don’t want your head stuck in book number 6 whilst you’re trying to work on book number three, right? BUT, that doesn’t mean you can’t jot ideas down. Have a document ready for each loosely planned title. Make any notes in there, as they come to you, but then shut the document down so it doesn’t interfere with the novel of the moment. Aaaaannnnnd (and this is possibly the most useful trick I’ve performed) if you know them, write your openings. If possible, a novel should have the conflict identified within the first scene. So what you waiting for? Get it written. And your head will instantly know the destination of the preceding title before you even start writing.
And that’s about it, folks. Yeah, I never claimed to be that helpful, ya know? 😉
About Blue Moon: Someone is watching the Holloway pack, and this time, the female isn’t the target.
Life with a group of seven male werewolves worries Jem Stonehouse not one bit. She is engaged to the Alpha’s son Sean Holloway after all. So what has Jem’s territorial instincts on high alert?
The pack’s latest addition. Both of them.
None of the men think there’s a problem with the new girlfriends. Jem’s intuition tells her otherwise—that and a nagging suspicion the new females aren’t there to partake.
Jem believes they’ve joined in to take.
The question is … What?
As the eve of the blue moon draws ever closer, Jem’s running out of time to find the answer and outwit a thief of the worst possible kind.
A woman who believes she can’t lose.
About J.A. Belfield: One day, a character and scene popped into J. A. Belfield’s head, and she started controlling the little people inside her imagination as though she were the puppet master and they her toys. Questions arose: What would happen if …? How would they react if …? Who would they meet if …? Before she knew it, a singular scene had become an entire movie. The characters she controlled began to hold conversations. Their actions reflected the personalities she bestowed upon them. Within no time, they had a life, a lover, a foe, family … they had Become.
One day, she wrote down her thoughts. She’s yet to stop.
J. A. Belfield lives in Solihull, England, with her husband, two children, three cats, and a dog. She writes paranormal romance with a second love for urban fantasy.