Writing a series when you didn’t plan to write a series – Tracy Bloom

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By Tracy Bloom

Some series are planned but some, no doubt, come off the back of a surprise success and an unanticipated demand for more! No-One Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday was my first novel and after a long period of struggling to get a UK publishing deal, I self-published in desperation. It went on to top the ebook charts and has currently sold over a quarter of a million copies.♥

The reviews and the sales would have me believe I did something right and so I embarked on a sequel two years later which culminated in the release of No-One Ever Has Sex in the Suburbs and now I find myself with a trilogy … who would of thought it.

So here are some of the opportunities and pitfalls of turning a stand-alone into a series that I have learnt along the way. I hope they are helpful.

1. I didn’t start either book until I knew I had a clear dilemma to put the main two characters in and a good idea for a complete story arc. I was actually first asked to do the Christmas book three years ago and I refused. My writing process always starts with a big idea and I couldn’t change that just because it was a series.

2. The best advice I was given right at the beginning was to introduce new characters alongside the favourites. This of course brings in fresh blood but crucially adds impetus to plotlines. New characters have a knack of dragging everyone forward which is the key direction to go in!

3. I read my reviews and comments from readers and tried to extract what exactly they loved about the first book. One thing that came up time and again was the popularity of two secondary characters, Daniel and Braindead. I made sure I was true to their personalities and gave them bigger storylines.

4. Although my books are sequential I have written them as stand-alones. They can be read in any order in order to maximize the sales opportunity. This is challenging when trying to put in backstory, but as always less is more. I certainly suffered from a tendency to over-explain the characters’ history in order to make sure the reader understood the motivation behind their actions. I would write it, then cut it down, then cut it down again. Then I would get someone to read it who has not read the other books. I found you can get away with very skant details and avoid slowing the pace of the book.

5. The biggest bonus of writing a sequel is the enjoyment of writing characters you now know inside out. For the first time in my writing career I experienced characters writing themselves. It’s the greatest feeling with comedic characters when the humour flows without force and it feels like it’s them being funny and not you! What a relief! The opportunity to do this is something to be really enjoyed and reveled in. Let it flow!!!

Tracy Bloom started writing when her cruel, heartless husband ripped her away from her dream job shopping for rollercoasters for the UK’s leading theme parks, to live in America with a brand-new baby and no mates. In a cunning plan to avoid domestic duties and people who didn’t understand her Derbyshire accent, she wrote her romantic comedy, No-One Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday. Back in the UK she has continued her writing career and has just launched her latest book: No-One Ever Has Sex on Christmas Day.


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