Sunday, February 07, 2016

Serial Not Cereal

I confess I'm a serial writer, as opposed to a serial killer, which I might be too, considering how many bodies I've killed to date between the pages of books. I once started adding up all the bodies trailing behind my computer keyboard, but as the numbers piled up and headed toward triple digits, I became increasingly alarmed.

That many? Really? Who knew?!

But when it comes to writing stories, with or without bodies, I am a serial writer. I love writing stories about characters that don't end at the end of a book, but continue over many books, with the characters changing, developing, and growing as they face the same challenges we all face in our daily lives. Minus the string of dead bodies, of course. I also love to read serial fiction.

When I first started writing my Odelia Grey mysteries, I knew it it had potential to be a long series, if given a chance. I saw the arc of Odelia's life spanning lots of pages and time, and was very fortunate that my publisher, Midnight Ink, saw that too and purchased twelve books in the series. I'm currently writing RHYTHM & CLUES, the 11th book. It has been a very long, bumpy road for both Odelia and me.

When my Ghost of Granny Apples series began, I never saw it as going beyond three books. Really I didn't. But here I am now writing the 9th! Once THE GHOSTS OF MISTY HOLLOW is done, I will have penned six full-length novels and three novellas in this series. Again, who knew?!

2nd in series Available Here!
So when I started writing the Winnie Wilde romance novellas under the pen name of Meg Chambers, it was no surprise to me that I saw Winnie's journey of self-discovery extending over a series of short fiction instead of containing it all in one long book.

I love writing these short digital novellas filled with humor, sexy adventure, and family drama. Somewhere between a short story and a novel, they give me, the author, time to create a full story, condensed and distilled into a hundred pages or so, and leave the reader wanting more. While some earlier reviewers weren't sure about my use of this format, I think it's a perfect fit. Frankly, I'm not sure I'd want to write, or read, 350 pages of bed hopping, but this way each short novel can focus on another segment of Winnie's life, keeping on hand a core group of supporting characters, as in my mysteries series, while allowing other characters to come and go within just one book.

And sometimes the reverse happens. Years ago I started a series of short stories, the Holidays From Hell series, in which I played out a dysfunctional family's crisis against the backdrop of holidays. There are currently four short stories in this series available on Amazon. I stopped writing them a couple of years because as I developed the story of the Bowen family, especially Zelda Bowen, I realized that this story arc should be taking place within the pages of a full novel. Unfortunately, with all my other writing obligations, it has taken me quite a while to finish this book, but it is about 3/4 done and I hope to finish it up by the end of 2016. The working title is STUCK IN THE MIDDLE.  So stay tuned on the progress of that book.

But back to Winnie. A week ago the 2nd novella in this series, WILDE WOMEN, was released. The plan is to have the 3rd, WILDE AT HEART, out later this year, followed by WILDE THYME after that. I have notes on at least six books, and already can see how the series will end. Hopefully readers will be biting at the bit for each one.

After Winnie, my alter ego Meg Chambers has another romance series up her sleeve. One with a lot more possibilities. So stay tuned!

But just as someone cannot live off cereal all the time, neither can a writer live off of serials. Although born of a series, STUCK IN THE MIDDLE will be a stand alone novel, and I'm currently jotting down notes on a stand alone thriller. I also have several stand alone short stories available on Amazon for just 99 cents, and another partially completed.

Reading is a lot like eating. Sometimes we need a snack, sometimes we need a quick soup and sandwich, and sometimes we need a three course dinner.


Crafty Damn Hero said...

! Looking forward to each and every one of them!
I'll have to check out Amazon for your Holiday series as I FINALLY got a Kindle.

Alisa said...

Love the Holidays from Hell stories so I'll look forward to Stuck in the Middle!