Today I’ve got a guest post by author Jo Ramsey. Thanks for contributing Jo!
I’ve askedmyself that question a number of times—about my own books. That’s one of theproblems you contend with when you decide to write a series.
I currently havetwo young adult series available, Reality Shift and The Dark Lines (bothpublished by Jupiter Gardens Press, http://www.jupitergardens.com).I’m currently, at an editor’s request, planning a third series forFeatherweight Press, and just submitted a novel to Featherweight that I suspectwill become a series.
That’s a lot ofseries, and the only one that was intended to be one was Reality Shift. Theothers just kind of happened.
Writing a seriestakes a lot of work, and only some of that work is actually writing thestories. The rest is all about organization. I’ve been amazed by how manyseemingly minor details in my books have turned out to be necessary for futurebooks—and how often I’ve forgotten to write those seemingly minor details downbecause, well, they were too minor. Like the name of one of my main character’sbrothers, who I thought would only appear in one book but who returned in alater one, by which time I’d completely forgotten his name.
For each of myseries, I now have a binder. The binder can be kind of fun to put together,because I get to decorate the covers, which gives me an excuse to procrastinatewriting. The Dark Lines and Reality Shift share a binder because there is somecross-over between the two series, including some shared characters, and thebinder is divided into sections. I’m not quite organized enough to furtherdivide things into character information, plot notes, and so on, although Iknow several authors who do that. I just keep notes from each book in the orderof the books, so that with each subsequent book I can look back. I plan to dothe same with the other two series, though I’m not quite at the point yet ofhaving much information.
When I reviseeach book, I jot down anything that looks like information I might need at somepoint. Even if I don’t think that character will reappear, or that I’ll need toknow what day of the week Jonah forgot his homework, I write it down. If Idon’t, it’s a pretty safe bet I will need to know. I type up my notes, justbecause I think it makes the information look prettier, and put it in thebinder.
I have atimeline, detailing what month and year each story takes place in and the majorevents of that story. In Reality Shift, a large portion of each book takesplace during Jonah’s and Shanna’s school days, so I developed school schedulesfor each of them and have those in the binder. I have each main character’sphysical and emotional description, and if I describe a secondary character Iinclude that description as well. Sometimes I have to flip through the binder afew times to find what I’m looking for, but at least I have the information allin one place instead of having to reread each book to find it.
Some authors useindex card files. Some use computer programs. I know of one author who has awall-sized marker board and keeps track of her series on that. If you write aseries, however you choose to organize, organization is vital.
Jo Ramsey’s latest young adult urban fantasyrelease is When Darkness Falls, booktwo in her series The Dark Lines. Find out more about Jo and her books on herwebsite, www.joramsey.com.