The Process of Writing a Series
I used to think writing a series meant that you knew what happened from the very first page to the very last page. Then I actually wrote a series and I had to guffaw at this gross misconception. Of course, there are authors who plan books out in detail, but I think for most of us, the process is a mix of planning and flailing in the dark.
When my agent sold My Very UnFairy Tale Life, we pitched it as a standalone novel with series potential. That meant that while I was revising the book with my editor, the back of my brain was working on ways to keep the story going if the time came. Luckily, the time did come!
Right before the first book was published, my editor asked for summaries of possible follow-up books. I quickly got to work and wrote up summaries of two sequels that mapped out a larger story arc throughout the three books while also creating smaller story arcs within each book.
I was beyond thrilled when my publisher bought the sequels and I could get to work actually writing the novels. As I went along, I was surprised to discover that the larger story arc (Jenny’s search for her parents) was easier to figure out than the individual arcs in each book.
Now that the last book in the series, My Sort of Fairy Tale Ending, is almost out, and the first book in my next series is on the horizon, I feel like I have a stronger grasp of how my process of writing a series works. I think I’ve gotten better at planning things out in advance, but honestly, there’s still a lot of flailing in the dark. I think that’s just par for the course.
Born in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Stanszewski grew up loving stories in both Polish and English. She was named the 2006-2007 Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library and a winner of the 2009 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award. Currently, Anna lives outside of Boston with her husband and their black Labrador, Emma.
When she’s not writing, Anna spends her time teaching, reading, and challenging unicorns to games of hopscotch. She is the author of My Very UnFairy Tale Life and its sequels, My Epic Fairy Tale Fail and My Sort of Fairy Tale Ending, all published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. Look for the first book in Anna’s next tween series, The Dirt Diary, in January 2014, and visit her at www.annastan.com.