Continuity in a Series

Continuity in a Series

Writing a series is in a sense easier than writing stand alone books. The author can start a new book where they left off in the previous book. The longer the series goes on, the better the creator gets to know their characters, and how they’ll act, making what happens next easier to decide on. Yet this building up of knowledge and events is a double-edged sword, as the more past there is to draw on, the more the creator has to remember correctly.

Some series get past this by evolving super slowly, or not evolving at all. Remember Sweet Valley High? Those blonde twins were in high school for many, many books. Time almost didn’t seem to pass, and past references were few and far between. Other series take a particular place instead of a couple, and focus on the different characters living there, so that major events are referenced, but many minor ones specific to certain families or couples don’t have to factor into sequels. Therein is the hardest part of writing a series: the author needs to address the events that happened before in previous books. While that isn’t hard when starting book two, an author starting book number fifteen will have to do a significant amount of research to make sure that their characters are true to form and previous history.

Another necessary aspect of continuity is addressing the passage of time. In reality, humans change as they go through life as a direct result of events they weather and celebrate, experiences they accumulate. Good people can become bitter, and villains can become heroes. Settings change with development and decay; stores and landmarks there one decade can be gone the next. Friends that we are close to when we are young are often not in our list of friends when we’re adults. Change is inevitable as we grow and mature, get jobs, get married, or grow apart in values and ideals.

Lastly, there is series progression. Usually, each book has a few specific conflicts that are resolved by the book’s end, be it a couple getting back together, a murder being solved, a villain getting his just deserts, etc. Readers want to see a series evolve, for things to change for the better (unless it’s a horror series, lol). A really great series has multi-book arcs that go through lots of twists and turns before their conclusion. A spectacular chain of novels has this plus a great arc that runs through the entire series.

I’ve tried for continuity in both my Promise Me and Lash series, checking again and again for date/event errors, a solid progression of character evolvement and believability, and many story arcs within each book and throughout several books. Do I have a great arc in mind? Yes, I’m working on it!
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Published on January 24, 2017 09:44 Tags: lash-series, promise-me-series, series, tara-fox-hall, writing-series
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