Series or Stand-alone?

Why do I write in series rather than standalone books?

 First off let me say I love to read standalone books. They draw you in and they complete all of your questions in one sitting, but my true love is book series. It is much as I like to read series, I love to write them as well.

 

 Let me give you some of the reasons why I love to write and series.

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 I love my characters. They become friends to me, and I don’t want to see them leave at the end of the book. I can think of so many other things that they can get into, so many new mysteries for them to solve. When I’m reading, I don’t like to see a ton of characters in book one. Which is great, because when you’re writing the series, you can add characters as you go along. I’m not talking about the main characters, they should be consistent from book to book, but it’s the back story; the characters that live in the town with your main character and interacts with them daily. The characters that come and go could be the villains or just townsfolk that are only needed for one story.

 When I do my character casting, I have MAIN CHARACTERS, usually three or four; and one is always an animal. Then I have SECONDARY MAIN CHARACTERS. These are the glue to the story. These characters are the ones that help move the main character in the direction they need to go or point out things they may miss; they add interest. There’s nothing more annoying than reading a book where the main character has all the action. Having a sidekick, a doting relative, or even a love interest will add more interest and meat to the story.

 The next group of characters I have used are the RETURNING CHARACTERS. These are the characters that I build on as the series grows. They can be shop owners, friends, and family, townsfolk, or resources for the main character. These are the characters that add to the back story, making your book feel more in-depth and realistic. Here’s where you can have some fun. You can let one of your returning characters be an oddball that people shy away from or the opposite; somebody that everybody graduates gravitates to because he is so loving. They’re not main characters, but they play an essential role. And you want to bring them back, book after book.

 Then I have a fourth set of characters, and they are the characters it will only appear in the book I’m currently writing. I call these my THROW-AWAY CHARACTERS. These will usually that involves a villain, his minions, and a couple throwaways that are added just for interest or to move the story along without the help of a major character.

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 But writing a series is not just about the characters. For me, it’s also getting to know the SETTING of the story. My settings are all tropical. I live in the tropics, and I love it. After living up north in the Buffalo area in my youth, I have no desire to ever be cold again, and that includes writing about being cold.

 My settings are built on from book to book, just like the characters are. One book may future a specific setting and it may not be mentioned again for one or two books, but it’s always there, and it’s often referred to by the characters. By creating my settings in detail, I can give the reader a sense of the community my main character is revolving around.

 Another reason I like to write a series is to develop RELATIONSHIPS. Whether it be of a love interest that starts out as the first meeting in book 1 and ends up in marriage in book 10, or “frein-enemies” that end up helping each other at the end of a series.

 I could go on and on. But I’m giving you three reasons why I enjoy writing in a series; the Characters, the Settings, and the Relationships. That, to me, is a solid base to start and continue my series.

 I currently have for series written, adding new books to the series as time goes on. I’m also working on two other series and will release them at a later date. For more information about my series, check out my website.

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Victoria LK Williams

 

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Stop, Look, Listen…Write

Have you ever looked at somebody and just wondered?
Wondered- do I know you from somewhere? Have we met another time and place? Who do you remind me of? Or even more probing questions… What in the world are you doing? Why would you say something like? What an odd reaction! What an exciting job or hobby?

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Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

 
If you’re a people watcher, these are things that often happen, and if you’re a writer, these are potential characters for your stories.
It’s a storyteller’s job to be observant of what’s going on around them, not only current news and happenings but the people who come in and out of our lives on a daily and infrequent basis.
Sometimes those people just skim the outer circles of our day-to-day life. It might be somebody you happen to see in a park or a store. Or perhaps a conversation that you hear, but are not part of. Maybe an interaction between two people that you observe and it makes you wonder.
The sidekicks and minor characters a writer creates for the story can, and should be, just as important as your main character. It would be ridiculous to have your main character have all the action revolve around them. Some vital information, clues or conversations can come from other people within the story. Yet you don’t want those other people or characters to be blah and uninteresting. These characters need to hold the reader’s attention as much as the main characters.

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Because these side characters often don’t play an intricate part in your story, it is easy to use real-life people that you barely know or that you observe just in a casual setting as models. You can take the liberty with what you see and hear and create those side characters into funny, interesting, or evil characters, depending upon your storyline. Take care not to make them more interesting than your main character. Instead, you should be able to make them play off of your main character, making the main character have more depth and interest by how they interact with the people and events around them.
So start watching what goes on around you, regardless of where you’re at. You can hear some of the most interesting conversations standing in line in the grocery store. Waiting for your waitress at a restaurant? Watch how the occupants in the tables around you are reacting to each other. Is there a comradery or tension? Sitting in a park with your kids pay attention to how the other adults respond to children. Some will be loving and giving, possibly because they have children of their own. Others might be more annoyed and feel like the children are pesty, getting in their way of a quiet afternoon.
But don’t limit yourself to just people. Interactions between animals and people can create a release of tension in your story or an “awwwww” moment. These type of moments can easily be used to distract the reader from something in your storyline. A clue in your mystery that was glaring can be softened with the interaction of your main character in the dog. Suddenly that clue has lost its importance, at least for that moment until you’re ready to bring it back out to readers attention.

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The build-up between characters for that first kiss can easily be dragged out by a kid brother or sister interrupting their moment.
These are just a few examples of how you can take online or event or character and use them in your story. Use them to give your main character more interest and more exciting things to do.
Can you think of something you’ve seen just this week that took you by surprise or caught your attention? Can you weave it into your story? Good, I’ve given you something to look for.
Now go write!

It’s a Mega Sale!

Good morning! It’s still dark here in south Florida, but I wanted to get this info to you early so you don’t miss out.

I’m thrilled to be part of the ” Cozy Mystery Mega Sale” and am so very thankful for all the hard work Ava Mallory did putting this together. There are over 100 books and all of them are $.99 or free!

With fall almost here, the nights will be long and perfect for reading, so stock up now. This is the perfect opportunity to try out a new author. (Remember to leave reviews for the books you read, please.)

You will find two of my Citrus Beach Mysteries included: Murder for Neptune’s Trident and Trouble has a Tail.

 

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click here to go to sale!

It’s a short sale, so don’t miss out!! I won’t hold you up any longer; there’s a lot of books to look over.

Happy Reading!

Victoria LK Williams

It’s all about the Cozy Mystery

Can you believe this weekend is Labor Day weekend, where did the summer go?
This is the time when most people start to plan for their fall/winter season. Down here in the South, the winter season is crucial because it is our tourist season. And the tourist will want to visit the beaches, and in their beach-bags will be books; light beach reads. This means more books will be purchased!

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I’ve thought about my fall/winter objectives as well. I decided my books are going to be more consolidated into one generic. And the genre is COZY MYSTERIES. It’s what I love to write, what I love to read; it’s even what I love to watch on TV. So, why not stick with what I love?
Because I’m consolidating and aiming more towards cozy mysteries, my blog is going to   have one post per month dedicated strictly to cozy mysteries. I’ll be talking about the genre, some authors, the type of settings, the characters and doing a few book reviews. My regular blog posts will continue the other three weeks of the month , but I thought it might be fun to change up.

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What is a Cozy Mystery?
Think of the TV series Murder She Wrote. This is one of the best examples of a cozy mystery. The series has all the elements found in a cozy; a small quaint town, amateur sleuth, and a cast of characters the reader can get to know. Sometimes the main character is a bit nosy, or sometimes they are in the right place at the right time. But the main character always is compelled to investigate a crime (usually a murder) and put the wrong to right.

One of the first writers of cozy mysteries was Dame Agatha Christie. Her cozy mysteries that started it all was the Miss Marple series. Miss Marple was a elderly lady, wise about human nature. And she sure knew how to solve a mystery. Dame Agatha was a master at leaving false clues, red herrings, and wonderful characters that you loved. She could paint a picture with her scenes, pulling you into the mystery and then leaving you with unexpected results.

Cozy mysteries today are tamer, often glossing over the evil of the crime; becoming a bit sweeter, than the mysteries of Agatha Christie. There is usually no swearing, no gore, and any sex happens behind closed doors. Good always wins, and the mysteries are always solved. Whether it’s a series, are not, you are never left hanging, wondering what really happened.

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Sounds simple right? Now try writing one!
Next month I will start going over a few details involved when writing a cozy mystery and review a couple of books I’ve really enjoyed.
Let me know what you think cozy mysteries and share some of your favorite books!

Victoria LK Williams
Writing Cozy Mysteries with a Tropical Twist.

Writing is Hard Work, not a Hobby!

 

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I love to listen to U-tube as I drive. There is some great information out there that not only educates you, but can also amuse and stimulate your thoughts. Most of what I listen to is about the writing craft; from the words on the page to selling those words. Yesterday I ran across not one, but two hilarious videos  about what not to say/ask a writer. I was laughing so hard, the other drivers around me had to think I was nuts.

I agreed with 90% of what the authors said, but 100% on the question “how’s your hobby doing”. It got me thinking…

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Anyone who has sat down and wrote a book will agree that this is not a hobby. It’s darn hard work. Time consuming, energy draining, mind shattering work! So, I thought I’d share with the potential writer (or the helpful person who just doesn’t get it) my process. There are things I’m sure I’ve missed, and this is a broad over-view. Each item on this list has multiply levels and tons of details that need to be taken care of. Every author has their own process, the things that are important to producing their books.

For the new writers-I hope this helps guides you through the process. For the friends and family looking in from the sidelines, I hope this opens your eyes to the reason we spend so much time on each book. And I thank those of you on the sidelines for all your support-we need it to keep going.writing process for me

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Victoria LK Williams