My Ingredients for a Series – Guest Post…

Blog Post 3

The Preparation Method

I know right away or before the first book is finished whether or not it’ll be a series. For instance, in “Beyond the Colored Line” (Book 2 in The Stella Trilogy), Joseph and his brother Edward come to blows in their mother’s living room. As a consequence, Jo leaves home.

After I finished writing this scene, with Karen’s voice still screaming her brother’s name as he stumbles down the street, I knew I wanted to explore more deeply Joseph’s story. What happens to him on his journey? Where does he go? What does he do? What kind of thoughts run through his mind? I knew that Book 2 would end, and yet there was still more to explore.

The Ingredient List

a. A pinch of completion
b. A tablespoon of deep plot elements

Most people don’t like having to wait for the next book. This is why a pinch of completion is so important for me when it comes to writing a series. You see, a series doesn’t have to be defined by a cliff hanger where you have to wait for the next book to finish the story. Instead, the story can have an element of completion about it. In this way, readers can read it as a standalone without feeling lost that they haven’t read the other books.

What makes it series material if it can be read as a standalone?

The answer to this question cannot be explored with one answer as it will be unique to the individual author. For me, I know a book is a series when there’s enough depth and subplot to extend beyond just one book. For instance, it wasn’t that I wanted to pick up where I left off that prompted me to make Stella’s story a series over a novel, but rather the family connection. The protagonists in each book are related. Stella, Sidney, and Joseph are all part of the same family. This is what encouraged me to write this series. I thought how powerful to explore the lives of three different people from the same family, living in three separate time periods? Stella in Book One comes of age during slavery, Sidney in Book Two grows up during Jim Crow, and Joseph in Book 3 exists during the Civil Rights Movement.

Though a series, each book is complete enough to stand alone, but deep enough to explore overreaching plot elements. For me, that’s the basic ingredient of a series.

Yecheilyah Ysrayl


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26 thoughts on “My Ingredients for a Series – Guest Post…

  1. I really hate it when books end and the story doesn’t. I think it’s only honest to give a reader the sensation that they have read a complete story even if it’s clear that there’s more to it then we just read. I like the way you think of series 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree that each book in a series should read as a standalone. Personally, I don’t have patience for the opposite. I had a heck of time getting through The Lord of the Rings, for example. And that was in my youth! I have even less patience now. I want to choose when and if to read the next book and not be left hanging, forcing me to push onward or abandon my curiosity — both of which make me a very unhappy camper. Shared this across my pages 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Your comment “You see, a series doesn’t have to be defined by a cliff hanger where you have to wait for the next book to finish the story. Instead, the story can have an element of completion about it” defines the problem with series today. A series HAS to have an element of completion about it. If it’s a cliffhanger, so you need the next book, it’s a SERIAL by definition. Take LOTR: at the end of volume 1, the Fellowship has broken up and they go their separate ways. If you mind how they get on, you read the next volume. End of volume 2 “Frodo was alive, but taken by the enemy.” Cliffhanger = serial. Naughty JRR, but we were hooked before then anyway.

    Apart from that, I love your post, I’m just holding out for series to be series again!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Element by definition is just a part or aspect. Thus, by element of completion, I do not mean everything about the story is complete or that no cliff hangers exist at all. Otherwise, as you’ve stated, it wouldn’t be a series. Book Three in my Stella Trilogy is only partial complete (element). It can stand alone but to really understand the end is to first have read Book Two. Thanks for leaving a comment on the table!

      Liked by 2 people


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