Wednesday, April 16, 2008
The challenge of writing a series
Writing a series such as the Loveday novels can be exhilarating and also daunting. When I was given a contract for books 10 and 11 in the series by Headline I had no problem coming up with the main theme of the novels. There were still issues to resolve within the family and adventures in history I wanted to place them in. I also wanted to know what would happen next.
It was not until I began to plot book 10 and was researching not only new plotlines but the history and changes brought about by historical events in Cornwall (which is the main setting) England, London and Paris, that I had something of a shock to discover that so far I had written over 1,250,000 words about the family. The challenge is not only to keep the plot fresh and also the motivation of the characters but neither must the settings or the manner of their conflict become repetitious or they will lose their appeal. Fortunately Cornwall is such an atmospheric place where the moors and coves change dramatically with the seasons and the weather that these are tools to ring the changes.
Fortunately human nature makes us all many facetted as our ideals and emotions change over the years. Since the novels have now covered fifteen years in time the central characters have changed and developed through their experiences and both their good and darker sides have been allowed to emerge. Historical events were fast changing and turbulent starting with the French Revolution and leading into the Napoleonic wars. Smuggling, privateering, gambling hells, highwayway robbery, hedonism and direst poverty are but a few of the diverse situations found themselves in.
As each book ends with a tense and dramatic scene this has so far been the springboard for changes that take place within the family structure and adventures to come. Research is not only knowing your subject well but peeling back the superficial layers to reveal the hidden depths within.