Wednesday, January 15, 2014
How Flexible Is Your Story
One question that writers frequently bring up is whether it is a good idea to package your books in a series. Now, while this idea sounds good, for new writers, this can often be a huge risk to take. The reason is simple. If the first book sells, those later books in the series are now dead as well. For this reason, I am always recommending to writers to keep your stories flexible.
When I refer to the idea of flexibility, I am talking about the ability to turn it around into any number of ways, depending on the circumstance. Can you move from romance to women's fiction? Can you take a paranormal and remove all elements of the paranormal? And certainly, if it is part of a series, can you take book 2 and 3 and turn those books in a new direction with absolutely no link to book 1?
The same goes for word count. In other words, can you turn a category romance into a single title. Let me tell you, it is more than simply adding more words. We're talking depth and sub-plots. We're talking about increasing the role of those secondary characters.
I do believe that many writers are so fixed on "their story" and they only see it one way, that the flexibility issue becomes a huge breaking point for them. Because they only saw those stories linked, or they only saw those stories one way, they are now forced to start from scratch and re-build the story.
As an agent, I would always recommend to think before you start writing that story. If you have a story that is great, we can find a way to create a series out of it, but don't start with thinking series. Always keep your mind open. As a writer, you cannot afford to always start over when one things doesn't work out.