My current work – Desire and Duty was intending to be a one shot novel. The Machine was also originally just one story. When I got half way through Machine I realised the story couldn’t be contained to one book and the series will probably expand to a fourth. Now I’m near the end of Desire and Duty I think this will be a series too. Writing a series of books is great, you get to revisit characters over and over and put them through new trials and tribulations. The problem is how to keep it fresh.
Writing is not a restrictive process. The only limit is your imagination. Rules can always be broken provided there is a need to do so to further the story, the trick comes with making changes appear subtle and not falling into the trap of looking like an author who made up something to get out of a rut. It also helps if you don’t rush to put out the first book too quickly, so when you introduce new ideas in book two or three, you can go back to book one and make small adjustments and hints at things to come later. That leads to a more seamless transition and the readers will be more accepting of the new things later on.
For example, in the Machine the character the Cleric and his illusory skills were a very late addition to the story. He ends up being very important at the end and in the following books, but there was no mention of him for at least two thirds of the book. So I went back over and added him into some beginning scenes just in the background, never really doing anything, but just a presence with a hint of something different and interesting about him.
If any of you are working on a series, then I’d love to know your thoughts on how you keep it fresh or what your tricks are for introducing new ideas/characters/concepts into a well-established world that you’ve created.
And because it’s that time of year, Merry/Happy Christmas (or whatever doesn't offend you) and Happy New Year. Let’s hope for great things in 2016. xx