Starting a New Book Series

I’ve mentioned it a few times here on the blog, but since I finished the latest draft of Hit List, I’ve been working on something new. A brand new series, new characters, new plots, nothing to do with what I have now. Starting a new book series so far has been a long process for me, but I’ve really ramped it up in the last week because I’m ready to get to writing.

Starting a New Book Series

Because it’s been so long since I’ve really created new characters on such a big scale (probably since college), I’ve spent a lot of February just writing scenes to get a feel for these characters. Will any of these scenes make the final story? Honestly, probably not, but it’s like dating. You still go on dates before you become an actual couple, right?

Given that it’s been so long I’ve really struggled to get a good grip on this book until I made myself sit down last week, one morning before work, and write down everything I wanted to get accomplished before I really began this draft. If anything, this story has taught me that my days of pantsing are long gone. So when it comes to starting a new book series, I’ve taken a multi-step approach to creating a story.

Starting a New Book Series

1. I’ve Let this Basic Idea Marinate in my Brain for a while

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure when I first had this idea: a journalist who ends up working with the local police to catch a murderer. I have a feeling that all my books will involve murders. It’s a thing. Either way, I’ve had this basic idea for the story – but I was busy with The Cassie Morgan Series. This one just sat in my head for a while, patiently waiting.

2. Turning to Evernote for Specifics

Over the past few years, I’ve saved a lot of news articles from the web about crazy murders or crime stories. While I’m currently cutting down the waste in Evernote, including a lot of those articles, I’ve gone through many of those looking for the perfect murder to bring to my story. Any article I have in Evernote is tagged with “news inspiration” so I can find all those murders quickly without anything else.

Starting a brand new book series is HARD, y'all. Share on X

3. A Little Notebook for Outlines

I mentioned before that my pantsing days are long over. I need a plan before I can dive into a story. While I’ve outlined in a variety of ways over the years, I’m taking this outline simple. A little notebook I got at the Target Dollar Spot is doing the job this time, and I’m doing my outline pretty barebones.

Over the years, I’ve done my outlines straight in Scrivener, I’ve done it on them on notebook paper during my college days, and the last few times, I’ve used index cards and taped them to the wall with washi tape.

There’s going to be a post pretty soon where I break down all my ways to outline, but this time I’m keeping it pretty light. I want wiggle room to keep things open.

I’ve gone back and forth on my outline, I want this book to be like a cozy mystery, but gosh, I feel like everything I’m writing has just a touch of too much darkness to really qualify as a cozy mystery.

At this point, I think I’ve come up with about three different plots and I’m not sure which one I want. I might be taking a break from the In Death series so I can read some cozy mysteries and get back in the lighter mindset.

Y’all, plotting is hard.

4. Getting an Idea of the Characters

I’ll be using my Evernote template to make these characters. I feel like I’ve got a good idea of what my characters are like, there’s some cool things rolling around in my head, so I’m excited to really dive into these characters and get to know them in a way that I know a lot of the characters from The Cassie Morgan Series. 

5. Write the Damn Book

It feels like I’m dragging my feet on this part, because it seems like it’s been weeks since I finished my last book. Since it’s taken so long to get this story nailed down, I’m getting a little antsy. I’m ready to start writing, so I’ll be excited to finally dive in.

Writing a new book series is proving to be a little harder than I anticipated!

Looking to really understand your characters? Sign-up for The Company and get the free Evernote template for your characters.

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