I have decided to revisit a topic currently bombarding me with importance. The topic? Details. See, we are currently in the throes of several series. We are working on book three of the Cheyenne series, book two of the Gigolo series, book three of the Pan’s Naughty Flute series as well as developing the final story arcs for the Corona, Physic Detective, and Gargoyle series.
That’s a lot of details. I have learned that when you publish series, you need someone to keep all the facts straight. Which is me by the way. To accomplish this feat, I have requested the authors provide me with such things as character sheets for all the characters. I count locations as characters. I also have them give me a timeline of events and who’s who in each volume of the series. There are more topics, but you get the drift.
I can’t tell you how important it becomes when you write a long-term series such as Cheyenne that you have all the details right. Details such as her birthdate, her interactions with those around her, and most importantly; how she changes from book to book as she grows older.
The last item I find especially important. People do change despite the old adage that we never change. We do. The older you get, the more you change. The way life treats you makes you change. The people you surround yourself with makes you change. Change is inevitable so it must be reflected in a series such as Cheyenne, Gargoyle and The Physic Detective. In any series. Your characters can not become stagnant.
I have made up my own lists for each series. Keeping track of all dates so they flow from book to book. Birthdates, events, and holidays. I have downloaded calendars for each year the series exists. Ensured the dates work. Ensured the news of the day matches the times. Ensured the locations match the regions they portray.
So many details. There have been so many changes in the last decade that, when you begin a story as little as five years ago, you must take the technology of the times into account.
My wife and I were watching a television show which was popular at the beginning of the century and had to smile. The use of cell phones, internet, and money was completely different than now. Think about how much has changed in the last twenty years as far as technology goes. How much we have gained and lost.
The cars alone are enough to make you stop. Today, a kid with a smart phone can take over a car if they want.
Not to mention the use of the language. The current political climate as well as the sexual agenda of today. LGBTQA++ didn’t exist. The racial tensions of today. All are a part of a story that takes place over several books. Of course, if you create your own world, the details get even harder. You can’t fall back on what is in the real world. You must create all the details.
When you create your own world, such as in the Corona series, the details become even more important. Each detail of a story you must craft, control, and maintain from book to book. You must develop the timelines of a history that has never happened. Create characters in a world where time is measured differently, and people are different as well.
My suggestion is you grab a good glass of wine, some snacks, and settle in. Build your lists of details. Create character sheets complete to every little detail about your character. Details which might never make it into the books but show you the developmental aspects of your characters. Their attitudes, the specific events which changed them, etc.
Do the same for your locations, your major and minor plot events, your timelines, and anything else which needs to be recognized as important to the series. Create a timeline around your plots and subplots which flow from one book to the next.
What happens in book six may be dependent upon some minute detail in book two.
Drink more wine, add some tequila while you’re at it, and plod on. It’s going to take some time, but in the end, it makes for richer stories because the details match. Your readers don’t begin to question your facts because they are in order. If the story flows from one book to the next all the reader is going to do is want more.
Isn’t that what we are all after?
I’m Ross, the Editor-in-Chief at The Pyrateheart Press and I’m out.