How Do You Write a Series?

This is a genuine question for anyone willing to answer but also a bit of me writing out loud to possibly answer my own question. As an author, how do you write a series? Do you know it’s going to be a series from the start that will span three books or more or does it just happen and you run with it? There are so many important characteristics that make up a series that authors must have some knowledge of before it becomes one, right?

Think about the many series which revolve around a specific character. Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch, Veronica Roth’s Tris, Raymond Chandler’s Marlowe; I wonder if the writers simply stumbled across a character they loved writing about and knew readers would enjoy multiple books about or if they wrote the character with the intent of following that character through multiple stories and creating a massive story across decades of books.

The character development must always be present. With each novel something new must become known about the character. If it’s the same person going through the same problem, it’ll eventually reach it’s plateau and I’m sure it won’t take long to get there before readers, or even the writer, get bored. If the character remains the same and is unaffected by the developments in the story, then why would we keep reading about him/her? Why even bother? If it doesn’t change the character then the outcome must not have been that interesting or effective. No one would want to read through multiple novels where nothing happens.

Now, let’s say you don’t write about a specific character but you write about a place or a time. A Song of Ice and Fire, while primarily following the Starks of Winterfell, also follows the Lannisters and various other characters in Westeros. Hell, Martin could’ve written books about only one family or another and tied them in later and everyone would still be enamored with the physical and descriptive settings of Westeros.

Though the Hunger Games follow Katniss Everdeen, they are also a series about a dystopian world where people fight to the death in bloodsport that the whole country both loves and despises. The settings of these stories carry on across multiple books and still keep you intrigued. Do the authors intend to follow the setting of the story or do they intend to follow the character through the setting and see where things go from there?

Personally, I haven’t even written multiple short stories with the same character although I recently wrote about a character I’d enjoy writing more of. I might decide to make a series out of him. His story hit off pretty well with those who’ve read it and I enjoyed writing about him. While I haven’t really been sticking to any one genre lately, this is in one genre I’ve never really written before but was apparently decent at. Hopefully, I’ll be able to see what it’s like to write a series with him and answer my questions and anyone who reads the series will be happier after doing so. I need to write more creative works and run with them longer as opposed to only extracting a few pages from my mind.

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