From a stereotypical view of the personality type associated with members of the Ravenclaw house, guest speaker Kat Oldrey’s discussion of how the writing process changes between a prose or novel and a long book series was expectantly blunt and factual, though she did include her own special sense of humor while providing examples.  In her talk, Kat pointed out that there are many important points to keep in mind when writing a long series, including:

1)      Character Development – The development of a character must be done gradually with time so that the character grows through the series.  If they start off acting in the beginning as they do in the end, then the character will not have grown and therefore would appear boring and unbelievable.

2)      Narrative Voice – When following one character, you cannot know something before the character him/herself knows it.  Also, when writing from a character’s perspective, you must write in the character’s “voice/personality”.  This helps in understanding what character is the narrator when you are switching between characters.

3)      Consistency – Consistency is probably the most important point when writing a long series.  If the setting, characters, or plot are inconsistent, then the story will not make sense or sometime hard/impossible to follow.

4)      Plot – The existence of an overarching plot is crucial in keeping the progression of the series on track.  Within each book of the series, a bunch of smaller plots must exist to help drive the story toward the larger point.  These mini-plots must make small steps toward the goal, so that you don’t conclude the series a third of the way through the books.  Also, the earlier you can plant the plot thread into the series, not matter how discretely, the better.  You can’t just throw in a major point when it happens.  Some clue needs planted ahead of time.

These tips, or rather guidelines, are crucial to the success of a long book series, but may also be applied to individual, standalone writings.

Even more important than Kat’s tips on writing a successful long book series, were her tips on the editing process.  Having written multiple papers before myself, I can attest to the difficulties of the editing and reviewing process.  To assist in this process for a long series, Kat suggests that once the book is completed, you should set the book aside for about a month.  This will give you the time you need to detach yourself from your writing, your characters, and your background knowledge before beginning the reviewing process.  Then, once you have reviewed the work for yourself, you should pass the work onto a trusted friend or individual to review for an unbiased opinion.  Also, most helpfully, Kat suggested that you switch reviewers regularly so that one person doesn’t become accustom to your writing style and start missing key mistakes.

Advertisements