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The Fun and Challenges of Series Characters March 12, 2012

Posted by shannonmuir in analysis, Books, characters, ebooks, epub, fiction, indie, indie publishing, Kindle, NOOK, novels, plot, self-publishing, series, Smashwords, truth revealed, Willowbrook Novels, Willowbrook Saga, world building, Writing.
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Right now I’m doing outlines for two books that are next in series. One is the next for THE WILLOWBROOK SAGA (where Book 1, EVERYTHING CHANGES, is currently exclusive to Kindle); the other is the follow-up to the TRUTH REVEALED series (Book 1, HALF TRUTH AND FULL LYE, is available at a wide variety of retailers including for Kindle, NOOK, Smashwords, and more). This got me thinking about why it is that readers – and writers – might find characters in a series so fascinating.

I guess the most important thing is that if we enjoy the ride in following the story, there’s the feeling one made a great investment. There’s the knowledge there is more to come and something to wait for and hopefully new things to discover – and that  I think is as true for readers as it is for writers.  For me half the fun is often discovering new things about my characters as I write and I do hope readers enjoy making discoveries as well. The challenge for me writing a series comes in revealing enough to make the story hold together but holding back enough mysteries about the characters that a reader will want to return to that next book in the series. It also allows for a lot richer character and world development that doesn’t force packing everything into one ultra-epic novel, particularly when writing SF and fantasy (those these are areas I have yet to try to actually write myself).

The thinking about reader investment is also the reason I’ve adopted the first book at 99 cents model, and future books in a series at 2.99 model, which you’ll see me use in both cases. I want the financial investment of readers at the start of the series to be minimal, that way if they find it isn’t a fit they don’t feel much has been lost. However, I’m hoping that if people enjoy what they received in the first volume, they’ll be willing to spend a little more on subsequent volumes. You still have to consider that with the lower price on the first book in the group, the average price comes down to lower than 2.99 but less is invested upfront.

I’m looking forward to giving people more insight to both the town of Willowbrook and the schemes and plans of Edana that Extraordinary and how Truth and Lye still need to work against her to save the world. I’m hoping that what I’ve written will encourage readers to join me on the adventure.

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