Status: Just finished book #2 and the cover
I'm celebrating because I finished the edits of the second story in my series as well as the cover this past weekend. Hooray! However, because this is part of a series, it's not really "The End" but the beginning. More to come for these characters. :)
Which brings me to my topic: writing series characters.
I know other authors have carried one or two main characters through a number of books. Don't know if I could stretch and pace one character's growth for five or ten or more books.
Other series consist of secondary characters who get their own story after the wrap-up of a first or second story, with previous main characters stepping back to minor roles or just mentioned. My first three books were like this. Paty has done series like this, as has Chris and other authors.
However, the series I'm working on has overlapping events and characters from previous stories continue to grow and evolve as the family saga continues. This is new to me and it's been interesting to track major events and how those events affect each member of the family.
(At our meeting on September 1, I'll share some of the ways I've tracked the progress of this series, including storyboards, a character notebook, and massive databases.)
For instance, their home town blowing up triggers the sister and her maybe-husband to make a commitment to their relationship. The same event pushes the oldest brother to propose to a woman he has been dating only a short time. Another brother becomes involved with the reporter who returns to town after leaving in whispered shame years ago.
Throughout the series, there will be secrets revealed that will put different family members in conflict with each other, and crises that will bring them closer together.
It has been intriguing to explore how each event affects each character differently, bringing different memories or issues or changing the direction of their lives. It was a good way to get to know my characters better--put them in a crisis situation and see how they react.
I'm always interested in how other writers dig down through the emotional layers of their characters. Do you interview your characters, or think about what they would carry in their purse or pocket, or dump them into a crisis and watch them react as you get to know them? I'd love to hear your process.