Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts with the label series

How Much Is Enough?

Thanks, George Michael! My version of that question doesn't apply to "Star People" but rather to series books. How many books can a series contain before it gets stale? I guess it depends on the writer, and to some extent on readers. Some series characters I have stuck with for a long time, like Lee Child's Jack Reacher, Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone, Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski, Dean Koontz' Odd Thomas, and Michael Connelly 's Harry Bosch. Some books are more memorable than others, but in the end it's the main character that brings me back when the next book is released. I will admit in at least one case above I recently reached my limit. I'm tired of the character and have no curiosity about what the next adventure is. Some series characters grow and change, and some don't. Harry Bosch moves through time, falling in love, gaining a daughter, rejecting change, and recently retiring from the police force. Grafton takes a different a

An Author's Bucket List

Panel at Printers' Row 6-16  In the preface to Iberia, James Michener explained that he'd conceived the idea for the book decades before, made a bunch of notes about it, and then put it on a shelf because he had too many other things going. I think many authors have the same experience: too many ideas, not enough time . I always tell people I'll die with ideas for more books in my head. It takes time to make an idea into a book, which is why, though we all might have "a book inside us," we don't all write it down. It's a daunting task, and even if/when you do write it down, it needs editing and reworking, over and over. Even books that seem light, like cozies, require multiple draft s. (I know there are authors who claim to write it down only once. A: I don't believe them and B: if it IS true, I'm guessing they work it over many, many times in their heads before they make that one draft. The rest of us can't keep all that stuff inside

Plain Talk for Writers: Series

3 Current Series: Upper left, Loser Mysteries. Upper right, Simon & Elizabeth Historical Mysteries. Lower left: Dead Detective Mysteries. Somebody Doesn't Like Sarah Leigh is a stand-along mystery. Publishers love series . They invest in an author's work, and series mean they can reap the rewards of that investment more than once. Readers love series . It's nice to know that characters we love are going to come back and visit us again, telling us about their latest scrapes. Writers love series--to a point. It's comfortable to slip into the minds of characters we've already created. We know how they think, what they'll do. (Even if we don't, we can look back at the books that came before and refresh our memories.) The problem with series-writing is keeping it fresh . Writers don't want their characters to "jump the shark," but it's obvious to me from reading some series that authors find it difficult to tell when they've r

"What Are You Working On?"

Every once in a while, I update readers here, because so often I get questions about "What's next?" Here's a rundown: The Loser series is finished, at least for now. The first two are out as audio books. The third is in the pipeline, but the narrator is at university and just had a baby, so she's asking for patience. The Simon & Elizabeth series will have one more installment (#5), but it's going to be a while. I'm slow and so is the publisher of this series. (To their credit, they like to get it right.) The Dead Detective series will have its final story sometime in early 2016. The manuscript is not complete, but the story's down. The Sleuth Sisters series book #4 will probably be next. It's in my head but not written down anywhere yet. My new/old standalone mystery about the death of a friendship in northern Michigan is out. (It used to be just an e-book but I rescued it, got a new cover made, and arranged for print cop