Thursday, July 14, 2011

Series Business: Three Types of Series - A Guest Post by Misty Evans

I love reading books in a series, don’t you? No matter what your favorite genre, you can find a series that grabs you by the imagination and refuses to let go, story after story. The best series are like Calgon…they take you away from the everyday world and give you a free pass to live vicariously through the characters.
As an author, I enjoy writing series as well. When my muse produces a fun character, I want to spend more time watching them get in and out of trouble, and help them on their quests to find true love, save the world, or fight the devil.
I’ve turned my love of reading and writing series into teaching others how to write them too. I thought I’d share info about series from my online workshop with you today.
There are three basic types of series:
Serials: same main character is featured in each book, but each book can stand alone.  Most mystery/suspense and action/adventure series fall into this category. While you learn more about the character as the series progresses, the stories themselves are mostly episodic. A few examples:
Stephanie Plum (Janet Evanovich)
Kay Scarpetta (Patricia Cornwall)
Eve Dallas (Nora Roberts)
Sookie Stackhouse (Charlaine Harris)

Sequels: a finite number of books where the plot is introduced in the first and concludes with the last. Many fantasy and science fiction series fall into this category. Individual books can be read as standalones, but readers get more out of the stories if they begin with the first book and follow the series in order. A few examples:
Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling)
Mortal Instruments (Cassandra Claire)
Twilight (Stephanie Meyer)
Witches Anonymous (Misty Evans)

Spinoffs: a minor character from the original standalone is developed. Spinoffs, or ensemble series, work well for romance writers who need a fresh couple for each book’s romance. A few examples:
Black Dagger Brotherhood (J.R. Ward)
Lords of the Underworld (Gena Showalter)
Dream Hunter Novels (Sherrilyn Kenyon)
Super Agent Series (Misty Evans)

One of my favorite resources is the Los Angeles Public Library’s Index for Series and Sequels: Type in an author and get a list of books in their series, including the main characters and special notes about location or other important facts.
Series allow readers (and writers) to get to know fabulous characters and explore their world in detail. There are great series out there, in every genre, and written by many of our favorite authors under pseudonyms. Head to your local library, independent or online bookstore to find a new series. Happy reading!

Misty Evans writes the best-selling Super Agent Series and paranormal Witches Anonymous series. She likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. To learn more about Misty and her books, visit

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1 comment:

  1. Hmm...interesting take. I kind of just consider it a series if it takes place in the same world. That's just me though, easy peasy. lol

    ♥ Sarah @ I'm Loving Books