On Writing a Series by Vicki Leigh + Cover Fun!

NOTE: Hey guys! Today I've got a super special (and rare) Saturday post to share with you the super epically awesome cover for my CP Vicki Leigh's second novel Find Me if You Dare! And because she's awesome, she's also chatting with us about what it's been like to write a series. AND there's a giveaway. Woot! 


As a reader, I love series. Not only does it give me a chance to stay in the world I’ve come to know, but it gives me the opportunity to hang out with the characters I’ve come to adore, too. So, when I first started writing with the intent to be published, there was one goal that I knew I had to achieve: publish a series.

I’m so excited to announce: Book Two of my Dreamcatcher series is releasing December 1, 2015! The excitement is insane, ya’ll.

But while there was lots of squealing and jumping for joy when I got the contract for the second book, I realized I had no idea how to actually write a series. I understood how to start a story and complete a story arc, but how do you take a story arc and expand on it so that the next book has its own arc but both books are encompassed under a bigger story arc umbrella?

Cue a mini panic attack, am I right?

Well, after a few mishaps and re-drafting the same scenes multiple times, I learned a few things about writing a series—and I want to share them with you!

  1. Have your ultimate end in sight. It’s one thing to worry about the ending of a book, but I think it’s even more important to have the series’ climax planned ahead of time. If you know how you want to series to end, you can then work backward to figure out where each book in the series should end.

    For example, as the blurb for Find Me If You Dare tells you, the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have a significant role to play in my Dreamcatcher series. I then made a clear distinction as to how I would reach that final ending: two Horsemen would ride in Book Two, and the others would (maybe) ride in Book Three. Right there, I had a clear idea of where my plot was heading and how I would ensure my series arc continued over the rest of my books—and all because I knew how I wanted my series to end.

  2. Force yourself to plot, even just a little bit. I know many of you are “pantsers,” and you let your characters dictate what happens in your stories. That’s perfectly fine! I am not telling you to become a “plotter.” In fact, I like to think of my self as a “plotser” because I’m not one of those people who use scene cards or outline from beginning to end. But I still make sure I have some sort of backbone so I don’t lose track of my story arc.

    In my opinion, this is even more important when it comes to writing series. Each book needs to connect to tell one big story, and if you’re simply starting at page one with no idea of what’s going to happen, you will find yourself spending a lot of time in revision, trying to put all the puzzle pieces together. So, even something as simple as Dan Wells’ 7 Point Plot can help make sure you’re moving each book in the right direction toward that ultimate, series end.

  3. Re-read the other books in your series before you start writing the next one. Maybe you guys are already awesome and can jump right into characters’ voices, even though you’ve had zero contact with them for a while. But if you’re like me, and you fully absorb yourself into each new point of view you write, it’s really hard to jump back into an old character’s head. To make sure you’re getting the voice right—and the tone right—the best thing you can do for yourself is to read the first book(s) in your series. Besides, what’s more fun that falling back in love with the characters you haven’t “seen” for a while?

  4. Find a critique partner or beta reader you trust and talk it out with them—if they don’t mind spoilers! One of the great things about my best friend and CP (though she has many) is that she lets me talk out my plot ideas and isn’t afraid to offer advice about where I might be steering the story wrong. Having someone to brainstorm with can make a huge difference because their opinions can absolutely spark new ideas that you never would’ve come up with on your own.

  5. Finally, if you are struggling to determine where your story should go, do some exercises from your main character(s) point of view. Act out a scene as if you were that character. Write journal entries as if you were that character. Actually talk to them if you have to. It’s amazing what can happen if you put yourself in the place of your character and start to think about the story in other ways than plot points on pages. Becoming a character can make a story feel real, and when you’re in “the zone,” many ideas can spark.

And now, for the cover. Ready? 









Isn't it friggin' amazing? Here's what it's about: 

They may have won the first battle, but the Apocalypse has just begun. 
Five weeks have passed since the battle that left Rome and Columbus in ruins. Sheltered in the hidden city of Caelum, Daniel and Kayla train alongside over one hundred Magus and Protectors, hoping that their unified ranks will be enough to take down their greatest threat yet: Richard, his followers, and his horde of Nightmares. Then a fallen comrade is returned to Caelum with a message carved into his chest and a note referencing the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and Daniel knows their time for training is over. 
Finally understanding Richard’s plans for Kayla and the three other Magus born on Halloween, Daniel and the rest of Caelum’s volunteers scout the U.S. in a desperate attempt to stop their enemy before he can unleash his first Horseman. But when massive attacks claim thousands of lives, people all over the world begin to fall ill—including those Daniel and Kayla care about the most. 
With the Horseman of Pestilence released, Daniel knows it’s time to step aside and let Kayla take the lead. Only she has the power to rival her father’s. But when Richard’s plot turns out to be darker than they imagined, their fight is met with more death and destruction—and an enemy who might be unbeatable, after all.

Finally, there's a 22 book giveaway over on her tumblr page, so if free books and swag are something you're into, you may want to check that out. :)

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

What do you think of the post and cover? 

Twitter-sized bites: 
How to write a series—@vleighwrites talks series-writing & shares the EPIC cover for her 2nd book. (Click to tweet).

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