When I was in high school I started writing a story about a girl named Casey. The story didn't have a particular beginning or end, it just sort of meandered from episode to episode through Casey's four years of high school. I still have those notebooks and the comments my friends made in the margins (my first critique group). And while a lot happened and technically I had it broken down into four books, it wasn't really a true series.
Fast forward many years and the story of Casey has morphed into Reality Ali. It's no longer simply a series of events but a story with a plot and a beginning and a middle and an end.
I'm done. I'm happy.
But then I realize that maybe, I can write more stories about Ali - after all, I had all those notebooks of Casey stories, certainly I can write more about Ali. So I present my idea to the publisher and she agrees. Three more books are contracted for.
This is different than simply writing what happens next in Ali's story, like I used to do for Casey. Each book needs a plot. A beginning, a middle and an end (this is more complicated than it might seem at first glance). And the books have to fit into the whole.
Lights, Camera, Ali came out last year and the third book, Honestly, Ali will be out later this year.
So now I'm on the fourth book, tentatively titled Always, Ali.
There are challenges to writing a series that I didn't anticipate when I started. Things that I want to do now, but can't, because they weren't done that way in the first book. Everything has to fit into the world I've already created. It's a fascinating restriction, because I love the world I've created, it's just hard to remember that even though I created it, I can't simply alter the rules, at least without some explanation.
The great part about writing a series, though, is being able to spend more time with characters I love. The characters of Ali and her brother Mark are two of my favorites and it always feels so comfortable and easy to write scenes for them because I know the characters so well.
Working on this as a series, has been a wonderful experience. I learn more with each book. And am so glad I get to spend more time with these characters.
What challenges and adventures have you faced while writing?