Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Saturday, June 8, 2013
by Linda Hope Lee
WRITING A SERIES: DEVELOPING THE SETTINGTo use the setting to link your series books together, choose various aspects of the setting and repeat them in each book. Readers will enjoy revisiting familiar places along with the characters. Showing how the characters respond to the various setting elements will enrich the story.
Here are some examples from my Red Rock, Colorado series.
The TransAmerica Railroad. The train plays an important role in each story. In book 1, Finding Sara, the train provides a means for Sara Carleton to escape an intolerable home situation.
For Rose Phillips in book 2, Loving Rose, the train is her livelihood, for she is TransAmerica's quality control manager.
And, in Marrying Molly, book 3, the train brings Molly Hensen and her daughter back to Red Rock after a two-year absence.
The Roundup Restaurant. Red Rock's popular eatery is featured in all three books. In Finding Sara, Jackson Phillips takes Sara to the Roundup after she's undergone a nerve-wracking interview at the police station. He hopes the homey, casual atmosphere will help her to relax, but she surprises him with a startling announcement.
In book 2, Dr. Mike Mahoney is dining alone at the Roundup when someone confronts him and reveals a shocking secret about Rose, the woman he loves.
For Molly in book 3, visiting the Roundup evokes bittersweet memories of the times she and her husband, Buck, had eaten there.
The weeping willow tree. In the front yard of Jackson's ranch house stands a tall weeping willow tree. Propped against the tree's trunk is an old, weathered wagon wheel. To help her relax, Sara sits on the ranch house's front porch watching the tree's long branches brush the top of the wheel in the soft breeze.
Loving Rose has a tense scene between Mike and Rose as they sit on the front porch. Like Sara, Rose calms her emotions by focusing on the tree and a robin as it perches on the wagon wheel.
When Molly first returns to the ranch, the weeping willow catches her eye, bringing waves of nostalgia.
These are only a few of the setting elements I have incorporated in all three books. Other elements include: a Denver hotel, the Rocky Mountains, a duck pond on the Phillips' ranch, and the grange hall.
You might want to check out another of my blogs on series writing, Developing the Characters.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Thursday, October 25, 2012
| Image and text copyright by Linda Hope Lee|
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Sunday, November 6, 2011
When I began writing Finding Sara (The Wild Rose Press), I did not intend it to be the first book in a series. Somewhere along the way—I don’t remember exactly when—I decided to make Finding Sara the first of a trilogy.
The second book, Loving Rose, has now been published. I’m working on the third and last one, Marrying Molly.
It’s been an interesting experience. There are many things to take into consideration as you go along. You’re concentrating on the story at hand, but you’re also keeping in mind what you can include that will pave the way for the next book.
One thing you need to determine is exactly how you will tie the books together so that the term “series” will apply.
An obvious way is to have secondary characters in the first book be the main characters in the second book, and so on. In Finding Sara, rancher Jackson Phillips’ sister, Rose, had already broken up with Dr. Mike Mahoney when the story opens. Keeping the reason for their breakup a secret (I didn’t know it at the time, anyway) and having them remain apart during Finding Sara provided the basic plot for the next book, Loving Rose.
Sometimes, the characters who star in the books are related to one another, as is the case with Jackson Phillips and his sister, Rose. But sometimes, they are not. Molly Hensen, the star of the third story, Marrying Molly, is not related to Jackson and Rose, but she is “like family.” The seeds for her story are planted in Book 1. In Book 2, events occur that form the basic plot for Marrying Molly.
Other story elements, such as, setting, themes, and conflicts, may also help to tie books together as a series. These elements will be the subjects of future blogs.
I’d love to hear your opinions and ideas about series. If you’re a writer, what prompted you to write a series? How many books are there? What ties the stories together? If you’re a reader rather than a writer, what do you look for when choosing a series to follow?
Leave a comment and I’ll enter your name in a drawing for a print copy of Loving Rose. The drawing will close on Friday, November 11, 2011.