Writing a mystery series: tips and timing

Hey, kids–

Hope this weekend treats you well. I’ve been thinking about series. That is, the series of books that authors write — usually in genre fiction like mystery or speculative fiction. In addition to my standalone short stories and novella-length stories, I write two series. One mystery, one sci fi.

Like many writers (most, probably), I have a day job, which means I have to really budget my time and make schedules so that I get writing time in as often as I can. I generally try to write every day, but some days, I’m really tired so I don’t. I don’t beat myself up about that, because trying to write when I’m tired means I’ll be doing lots of re-writing later, and if I’m just too tired, I can’t be present for the writing session.

Point being, because I have a day job and can’t devote 8 hours a day to writing, that means it’s hard to do that book-a-year thing that many series authors do. I also had a bunch of other issues crop up over the past year that required my full attention, so I had to back-burner (for a bit) both my series. I’m finishing up the third in the sci fi, and I’m over halfway through the fourth in my mystery series. So I’m playing catch-up. But that’s not really what was on my mind.

I recently saw the movie Looper (which is completely awesome though if you’re fragile in certain ways, it is very violent and there’s lots of cursing), and because there’s time travel involved, it got me thinking about that and other time conundrums. And that, in turn, got me thinking about series.

Source: Nova (re-sized here)

WTF, you say? Read on!

Continue reading