Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Meet Author Kayelle Allen and How to Write a Series

 Today, I'm pleased to bring you Kayelle Allen, seriously, one of the busiest women I know and her post on writing a series.
And don't forget her excerpt from At the Mercy of Her Pleasure on Saturday.


"Thank you for popping in to read today. As my gift, please accept The Tarthian Empire Companion Book, First Edition. This is 23 pages of images and info about Tarth and all the other places in the empire. When you click it, this will either offer you a download, or open in a new window, depending on your settings. To read it, you need Adobe Reader, available free."

What Was I Thinking? 

The alternate title for this could be "You Can't Write a SciFi Series Without Losing Your Mind" but I'll settle for the shorter one. Thanks for inviting me today, LA. I appreciate being part of your blog. I know you're busy -- you're an author and have a real life at the same time. That's two full-time jobs right there, not counting family or a day job.

When I started writing the series I've undertaken, I did it because it seemed like the smart thing to do. Writers -- especially SciFi writers -- create new worlds and civilizations, and then craft an entire book around them. Next book, they start all over from scratch. I could not imagine doing that. If I was going to do a bang up job on writing a series, I decided I'd write more than one book in it. I'd get my money's worth, so to speak.

So I sat down and over a period of days, hand sketched my version of the Milky Way galaxy, and decided I needed a history for it. Not past, mind you -- future history. I spent months writing details for that. I wasn't ready for publication yet. I wasn't even ready to write a book yet. I was just world building. I know most people probably don't spend that kind of time, but since I planned to write multiple books, I wanted the details to be right.

Plus, I was scared of being rejected, so the longer I could put off writing, the better. I put it off for about twenty years. I finally realized time was sailing past and I hadn't done what I set out to do, so I knuckled down and started writing. Once I had the plot done for the first story, I wrote it quickly. I started in November, finished it in February, and it was published in July. The next book came out that December. Wham bam thank you ma'am. It was great fun.

But then I realized I had a slew of other books to write, and I needed to make sure the details all jived. I needed a "bible" of details. I had kept notes from the beginning, mind you. I was the queen of advance prep, but I had more work to do. For one thing, I had an alien character with a cat-like language. I developed a lexicon of words, wrote detailed info on how they spoke, and listed an entire bevy of handy phrases to know.

The thing with a series is you need to make sure your left-handed protagonist doesn't become right-handed in book three, unless there's a good reason for it. He should keep the one blue eye, one brown eye all the way through the series. If he's a level 19 thief in the Thieves' Guild in book one, he shouldn't be an 18 in book two unless he's been demoted. Keeping the details straight means keeping notes.

I use combinations of things. I have Excel spreadsheets, documents, lexicons, and lists, and an enormous collection of images to remind myself what something looks like. Was I ever excited to discover Pinterest! I have an entire board there just for two characters. Pinterest can be a writer's dream.

One part of my series takes place in the Tarthian Empire, and there are currently 22 inhabited planets. Naturally I had to write a bit about each one. You can tour them on my website.

If any of you are thinking about writing a series, I'm not suggesting you can't write it unless you spend ages developing your world. But I do think you should write it well enough, with the details in such good order that people will think you did. And please do the number one thing I did when creating it: have a blast.

At the Mercy of Her Pleasure will be out of print after February 28th, so this is your last chance to grab a copy of the Loose Id edition. It will be re-released with slightly different material in the fall, along with a new sequel, and its previous one.

Antonello Brothers 1: At the Mercy of Her Pleasure

When the mission goes wrong, risking pleasure is the least of her worries, but Captain NarrAy Jorlan can't get professional thief Senth Antonello out of her mind -- or her heart.

Reader warning: This book is about a professional thief. The author claims no liability for items missing once the book is open, including hearts.

Loose Id
Amazon (Print)
Powells (Print)
Barnes and Noble


Kayelle Allen is a multi-published, award-winning Science Fiction Romance author. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary characters, role-playing immortal gamers, warriors who purr, and agents who find the unfindable.

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  1. Thanks for hosting me today! I'm excited to be here. I'll be glad to answer any questions.

  2. Kayelle,
    I'm thrilled you're here.

    Funny thing about series, I'm hooked on writing them now, but didn't even think about it until my BFF and writing buddy, Audra Harders, suggested it.

    A lot of work goes into a book and if you have multiple characters and have spent all that time developing was a V-8 moment. (knock on the head)

    A bible is vital. I didn't do that and am now having to create one mid way through the 2nd book.

    So if you're thinking of making a series, start the bible.


  3. Fabulous job, Kayelle! I wish I had done it your way, first. But I'm still having a blast, so you got that part right!

  4. I don't recommend taking 20 years like I did, but however you do it, do have fun. ;) Thanks for posting Eva.

    LA I'm so glad to finally be here!

  5. Yes, it's still a blast! Even when I'm spewing in first draft...I love this job, profession, passion.


  6. It doesn't matter how long it took you to write your series, Kayelle--as long as you did it and you're happy with the results!

    Thanks for the advice on keeping logs and such so that your characters remain consistent in their physical attributes.

    I wish you the very best in your writing journey.

  7. Thank you Lisa. It's good advice and you'll find it helps no matter how long or short your series is. :)

  8. Hi, Kayelle,

    My publisher keeps bugging me to write series. Your post is one reason I've held off. I don't know if I have that level of commitment.

    One thing you don't talk about, though, is the question of characters. It's all well and good to create a new world, but when you started, did you already have a sense for who would inhabit it? Did you know the denizens of the Tarthian empire before you started, or did they introduce themselves as you were writing?

  9. Lisabet, that's a great question. I only knew a few of them. I started with Senth and Khyff, who are brothers in At the Mercy of Her Pleasure. I also had the empress, and the Kin (feline humanoids). And Luc Saint-Cyr, although he had a different name back then. I developed all the other characters as I went along. However, I always add to a document I keep when I introduce someone new. It shows who's related to whom. Khyff is the half brother to Senth, and Senth was adopted by Luc. When Luc adopted him, Luc only knew Senth had a half-brother, not where he was. Since their meeting, Luc has unofficially "adopted" Khyff and thinks of him as a son. That means he's also semi-adopted the Kin female Khyff meets and falls in love with in For Women Only, and by extension, her entire family is now involved with him. It's a complicated tangle. Knowing who is whose cousin or brother or aunt is vital to more than one story. It's not easy, but it is fun to do.