January 17th, 2007

Starting a series

Have you ever thought of creating a series? Whether it's a series of middle-grade readers, a YA vampire trilogy, or a mystery series of adults, it will all go a lot easier for you if you think it through first. I'm working with a co-author on a new series. We know that the time we spend up front will help us years down the road.

More than a dozen books later, my friend Laurien Bereson still vividly remembers one fateful phone call. Her editor had just read A Pedigree to Die For. “I love it,” he told her. “I’ll take the first three.”

“Three what?” Laurie asked.

An experienced writer who had written a dozen standalone novels, Laurie had inadvertently began the Melanie Travis series. She says, “It never crossed my mind that I might have to live with those characters for a decade. I remember thinking, ‘Hey, let's throw in a kid, I haven't done that in a while. ‘ This turned out to be a big mistake . It’s hard for a your heroine to solve mysteries – and to put herself in believable danger – when she’s a mother. And an adult can be "thirty something" forever, but kids are constantly changing. It makes a big difference whether they're four or six. She adds, “If I hadn’t already had the first book written, I would have done lots of things differently.”

Best-selling thriller writer Lee Child once told me, "The time I spent thinking about these things has paid off handsomely, and the things I didn't think about have come back to bite me.”

By making careful choices about characters, point of view, and setting even before beginning the first chapter, you can create a strong series that will last five, seven or even more than a dozen books.



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An inconvenient idiot

My 11 yo saved up their allowance to buy the book An Inconvenient Truth, a companion to the film. It's coming out in a YA version soon.

Meanwhile, our neighbors to the north have been scared off by a bully. As the AP reports, "This week in Federal Way [Washington] schools, it got a lot more inconvenient to show one of the top-grossing documentaries in U.S. history, the global-warming alert "An Inconvenient Truth."

After a parent who supports the teaching of creationism and opposes sex education complained about the film, the Federal Way School Board on Tuesday placed what it labeled a moratorium on showing the film. The movie consists largely of a computer presentation by former Vice President Al Gore recounting scientists' findings. Al Gore's documentary about global warming may not be shown unless the teacher also presents an "opposing view."

"Condoms don't belong in school, and neither does Al Gore. He's not a schoolteacher," said Frosty Hardison, a parent of seven who also said that he believes the Earth is 14,000 years old. "The information that's being presented is a very cockeyed view of what the truth is. ... The Bible says that in the end times everything will burn up, but that perspective isn't in the DVD."

Praise the Lord! Now I understand the earth's warming up is all part of God's plan, not man's destruction. People like Frosty give other believers a bad name.



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7 gets 86ed: the Judith Regan fall and the fallout continues

HarperCollins announced this afternoon that it will close the ReganMedia Los Angeles office. Harper/Morrow says they expect to publish most of the books acquired by fired publisher Judith Regan, but they will not publish 7: The Mickey Mantle Novel.

7, by Peter Golenbock, was described as "an inventive memoir" and drew heavy media criticism for Golenbock's technique of telling Mantle's story in the first person and filling the book with undocumented, controversial events and quotes - including a supposed affair with Marilyn Monroe, based on a single comment another ballplayer made to Golenbock.

Some have felt that 7 helped contribute to Regan's downfall as well as "If I Did It" the supposed recreation by OJ Simpson of his wife's murder.



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