In Part 1 of this series, we talked about the definition of a series.In Part 2, we looked at how-to write a series and in Part 3 we discussed character creation. In this final part of the series of the series, we look at the kind of mistakes you can make while writing a series and how you can avoid them.
Here we are talking with reference to the character(s), plot, and setting of the story.
If your character is a health nut, but then suddenly starts smoking, it is jarring, even if something might have pushed her over the edge. The character’s habits require credibility.
This does not mean that characters do not change or develop, even in a negative sense. Both Inspector Morse and Detective Kurt Wallander developed diabetes due to their drinking habits and unhealthy lifestyles, but nothing more.
If Frodo kept the ring instead of destroying it, the whole series would have been undone.
We have mentioned Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove series before. In the television mini-series, you stumble across these inconsistencies, especially when it comes to gun fighting. Time and again, both sides have long range gun fights using only their pistols, while their fully loaded rifles are left in their scabbards.
The lead characters should also be consistent in their viewpoints. Besides this, authors should get the facts straight when it comes to technology, science and set procedures. And they should stick to those facts.
What ever happened to…?
A reader never knows the complete history of a character at the outset of a book or series. But the writer has an idea and drops hints. So if you write about the main character’s incarcerated brother, kidnapped sister, or institutionalized mother, the reader will expect that you come back to it.
Early on in the Lonesome Dove series, Call finds out that Maggie, his favorite partner is pregnant with his child.This theme is developed throughout the whole series until the end.
Historical realism and accuracy
Your hero is stuck next to the road in a storm and risks freezing to death. She jumps out, builds some kind of shelter, and survives the night next to a warm fire. The problem is that she had a functioning cell-phone, tablet, and a laptop with working wifi connections, and she didn’t even try to contact anyone even once
Although your book is a work of fiction, at least get the major facts straight.
Have you written a series? What mistakes did you make? What did you learn?