Wednesday 23 January 2013

Constructing a Series

First off, I've finished this month's essay and kicked my winter blues! Yay!
Sorry for the lack of updates (both to this blog and my erotica catalogue), but it's been a fortnight of distractions. The good news is the new title should be out by the weekend, and I'll be free for another few weeks of uninterrupted writing!
Coming down the pipeline will be more Wild Instincts, and the rapidly approaching conclusion to His Darkest Desire.

So, as I approach the home stretch of my first eRom series, I thought it'd be good to look back and reflect on how writing it has gone so far. While it's certainly no novel, His Darkest Desire is without a doubt the longest single story I've ever written, and it's been an interesting process. As with everything these past few months, I feel like I've learned a lot in a very short time.
First and foremost, I think the biggest weakness of this series was the way it started off. I'm often my own harshest critic, but, despite finding some modest success, I feel like Tempted to Submit wasn't an amazing way to begin the story. It wasn't an inspired idea. Being totally honest, what I did at first was to read through some successful eRoms in a similar niche (billionaire BDSM), and try to emulate them. I feel like the story has gone in it's own direction since then, but that first instalment honestly didn't have much of a creative spark behind it at all.
What I've learned from this is: Start strong! With the first chapter being a free hook to try and draw readers in, ideally it should be one of the most engaging parts of the series. Wild Instincts was an idea for a compelling story that sprang into my head overnight, and I think that series has started out way, way stronger than His Darkest Desire did. I'm actually pretty proud of my first foray into werewolf erotica, and I can't wait to continue with it.

Another big concern that's started to rear its head lately is the issue of keeping all the parts of a series consistent with one another. When you're publishing a serialised story, you can't go back and correct things or add in extra paragraphs here or there when an awesome new idea occurs to you months after publishing. Well, you *can*, but it's not going to retroactively apply to everyone that's already bought it. The other day when writing the upcoming chapter Ready to Confess I started to think to myself: Have I already talked about this before? Do the readers know this detail about X? Is this important moment cheapened because I already hinted at it three chapters ago?
Obviously I'm going to have to go back and check, but if a problem arises the only way to fix it will be to rewrite the unpublished part.

So how do you solve this? Well the obvious answer is to plan everything in advance, but that's not my style of writing. I'm not a pantser, but I like to leave the details and the specifics up in the air. I know that X will happen in chapter Y, and roughly what order the scenes will come in and what they'll entail, but even if I write up a rigorous plan there's no doubt I'll end up straying from it when I get to the actual writing.
The other solution is to write the entire series in advance before publishing, so you can go back and tweak without having to worry about confusing readers. I guess that'd require a lot of self-discipline though.

Maybe one day in the future I'll take a few months off to write an entire erotica serial and proof the heck out of it. Until then, however, fingers crossed I don't mess anything up!

I'm pretty sure I won't.
Nothing major.


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