Diary Of A Series

I’m finishing up writing my Brad and Milly series. Actually I finished writing it a month and half ago. I’ve been revising, re-writing, and fine tuning it ever since. I found it very hard to a write a series with a fifteen hundred word limit. I’ve discovered over the last few months that unless somebody really wants to read your post, and it’s over 1500 words, very few people will read it. As for actual comments those can be helpful but they’ll also be rare.

If you do want to write a series write an outline. Now I know some people hate doing an outline, and that a lot of people would rather have a root canal. If an outline is something you can’t tolerate under any circumstances call it your blue print.  They are the bones that will hold up your series. Now give your characters physical attributes and write them down.

You don’t want to introduce your main character in chapter two and tell the world he or she is five foot five inches tall, then change your mind in chapter four and have them grow three full inches in two chapters later. Write down their correct height and keep it constant through out the entire series. Also take note of their hair color. For Brad I made him a height I always wanted to be. Brad is six feet tall. I didn’t quite make that (I’m five foot ten and 3/4 inches tall).

What do your characters do?. Research that occupation. Brad is a cardiac surgeon. Fine. So he is a doctor. Now you have to concentrate on the tiny details that make him a doctor. Ask yourself “Does he/she wear a stethoscope?” Doctors and nurses will do one of the three things. They’ll hang them from around the neck, they’ll drape them around the back of the neck with each end on the chest area or they stuff them in a coat pocket. But they usually do one of the first two things. Now, ask yourself “What do I want them to wear?”. That usually depends on their age. Dress them appropriately. Make it believable. Does he/she drive? Again the answer may be in their personality. Are they a good driver or a poor one? These are what I call snowball attributes. You give them one attribute which snowballs into a second, then a third.

Names. The idea seems simple enough. Once you’ve established your characters age give him or her a name appropriate to the time they were born. Brad is in his early thirties so that means he was born in the early eighties. If you’re stumped for a name check what baby names where popular for the year your character was born. If you have a character that’s as old as you think back to when you were in junior school. What were the names of your classmates? Names to avoid are usually you names you just can’t stand hearing. If you can’t stand hearing the names Myron or Lance it’s very unlikely you’ll want to read about them.

Last Names. They are just as important as the first. Even you have no plans to ever use a characters last name in the series give him/her one. Because you never know when a secondary character is going to ask about a primary characters last name. I’m going to paraphrase the Boy Scout motto: always write prepared. Try to know ahead of time what’s going to happen, and who’ll say what lines. You can always change it – it’s never carved in stone. So don’t be surprised if A says something that you planned to have B say. Write down ideas for lines, potential scenes, words that simply sound neat, and quotes. You may not use them at all in this series, but this info may come in handy when you write something else. If you’re like me and have truly awful handwriting you can always invest in a thirty dollar voice recorder.

Try to steer clear of politics. Politics nails down your series to a very short span of time. or a very uncomfortable period of time for the reader. Try to make your series appear that it could happen at anytime.

Try to know ahead of time who the series will be aimed at. Who is your target audience? I wrote and posted long before I knew who my audience was. If you already have a blog or web site ask your readers if they would mind seeing a series. And if the answer is a resounding “NO” go ahead and write it anyways. It’s your blog/website and you just might enjoy yourself. I certainly did. So much so I’m going to do a second.

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