Not my Big Distraction – that’s an entirely different story. It’s my Big Decision. The one I’ve ignored for as long as I could. It’s time to answer the question. Am I writing a series – or not?
The fictional Skye Pointe community and its residents star in my current story and several more that I will write. With some tweaking, I can make at least four stories – including the one that I am now rewriting – into a series. My scene notes for the current story indicate where to drop in the clues and hooks for the later ones. To make this story fit into the series, I’ll have to combine a few characters and remove a couple of the subplots. Doing so simplifies the story; and also reduces the number of conflicts that it has. That’s why I’ve hesitated. Fitting the story into the series will dilute it.
On the other hand, readers’ fondness for the series format is widely reported. It’s true for me as well. I like getting attached to characters and traveling with them through multiple adventures. However, I don’t limit myself to reading series. Many of my favorite books are singles. Should I go for the story as it was meant to be written or adjust for the potential of dedicated series readers? I have to commit – one way or the other. Otherwise the words I write will lack conviction.
Too conflicted to choose, I even considered a drastic solution – why not write it both ways and let someone else decide? No problem! Two versions of a 400+ page manuscript. Make twice the work for myself and dump the problem on someone else’s lap. All because I insist on being a coward. Crazy.
Just as I’d decided I should grow a backbone, my old friend Serendipity dropped in for a visit – in the form of a tweet from Cathryn Wellner. You know her as @StoryRoute on Twitter. Her tweet referred to a post by Nina Amir (@NinaAmir on Twitter); in which she shared an experience from the San Francisco Writer’s Conference. She had attended the lunchtime keynote presentation by David Morrell, author of First Blood (Rambo). Among other things, Nina wrote that David had said, “Write the book you must write.”
After five months of agonizing indecision, could the choice possibly be that easy? Indeed it was. Conflict resolved. I’m secure in knowing that I must write the Skye Pointe stories as they were originally conceived. It’s a mistake to make a series of them simply because of what I perceive the market forces to be. I have to trust that there are enough readers who will like them for the stories that they are – connected, yet each standing on its own.
Believe it or not, I do have a series in mind, but I won’t get to it until after I’ve finished the Skye Pointe stories. Flash forward to my future – I won’t be trying to figure out how to unravel the series because market research says that readers prefer singles. Lesson learned.
#ROW80 update, 03/20/2011:
- Goal 1: Completed the elevator pitch and short synopsis; now one third done with long synopsis. Look how far off I am from my original goals! I’ve only managed to finish the revision outline and scene notes. Now I’m revisiting my other artifacts to make sure I have a cohesive set when I start rewriting.
- Goal 2: Did my usual amount of writing this week though I average about two hours per day, I’ll keep my goal at three so that I’m still working toward that.
- Goal 3 – Haven’t missed a post!
There’s a few more days left, but this is my last update for round one. See you in round two!