"Keep scribbling! Something will happen." Frank McCourt

Monday, October 27, 2014

READING FEVER!

A student visiting my office one day disclosed that he/she liked reading series books and wouldn’t even consider a book unless there was a minimum of four books in the series, but preferably six. Now this had nothing to do with why he/she visited my office, but this type of disclosure was a welcomed phenomenon and an icebreaker of sorts. From a writer’s perspective, this was interesting. He/she went on to say that he/she would rather, now get this—read than play video games.

The student could have been pulling my leg, but I prefer to see youth through rose colored glasses. So, I checked the student’s temperature for a fever (not really) and sent the student back to class, requesting he/she walk among classmates to spread the reading fever. He/she snorted a fake laugh and went back to class.

As a child, I remember reading and escaping to worlds that I didn’t have access to and becoming lost in books. When it ended, I felt sad. Millie likes books, too, eating them. No relevance to my post? True.

I have three books in mind that could be potential series. All outlined. Some outlined better than the others. Some have waited patiently for my magic keyboarding skills. They are:
  1. One adult book that has the MC, Roni, solving a murder and/or disappearances for her family and could do so in other books. This has entered my mind.  A series. She's been a PI or a police officer (don't know yet which one), but has decided to quit all of that and go into teaching. (Partially outlined, first two chapters written.)
  2. In my YA book the MC, Mona, just wants to be a normal teenager, but there are so many secrets in her family of one parent and herself. She can’t stand not knowing and tries to figure out the secrets because they seem to complicate her life. Not to mention, there’s old bones showing up and new bones disappearing.  I can stretch this story for two books, but not sure about three. (Half written.)
  3. My MG book has the MC, a young girl, whose father was recently reported as MIA, dropped off by her stepmother, at her great aunts old Victorian house? Can you imagine all the weird things going on in an old, dilapidated mansion (with good bones)? Plus there’s a secret garden of sorts—overgrown, but that’s okay, our MC doesn’t go outside much since she has a bug phobia. Really? Let’s make her go outside. There's conflict between the great aunt and some town officials. (I have in mind a series of three, three titles, but only one plotted book.)
I could tell you more about the books, but then as they say, I'd have to hunt you down and well...you know.
I realize that I ramble a lot on my blog, but the reality is that I'm a woman of few words and enjoy writing the short story. I feel challenged when I think about writing 50000+ words, but I know I can do it because I have a plan! One wonderfully wise—um person (sorry I can’t remember who) told me once, on this very blog, pretend each chapter is a short story, write it, and soon you'll have a book.
Recently, Dr.Lovely Daughter told me to get Mona’s book finished so that she can read it.  She sometimes reads YA books, because--she's got the READING FEVER!
Peggy Lee sings about Fever best here! “Everybody's got the fever, That is somethin' you all know, Fever isn't such a new thing, Fever started long ago.”
I could write a song about Reading Fever, but I won't. I promise.
For more reading pleasure, hop over to The Ruralhood to read Friends and Séances, Love and Regret, another goofy story from my rural childhood. It's a wonder that I survived some of my stupidity. Remember the fast speeds in High Speed Reasoning and fighting a spider while driving in The Upset?
ALSO,
Here's a couple of links on writing a series:

23 comments:

  1. Hi Teresa - this student must have warmed your heart and as long as you can write quicker than Millie can eat - a series should be on. Interesting isn't it - one happy customer will buy lots of series ... yes your talk must have taken an unusual turn.

    Go for it .. especially if your daughter is chasing you .. cheers and have a happy week - Hilary

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  2. I'm the same way as the student--give me a series with lots of books in it!

    Love Millie references. :)

    These books you've outlined sound good! Yes, just take it a day at a time and it's not overwhelming. Good luck!

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  3. Lots of books in a series is great because it takes a while for the series to end. But then you have to know when to stop before you beat it into the ground.

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  4. If I can write books longer than that, then so can you!
    I like reading and playing video games. Not at the same time though.

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  5. I'm the opposite - writing above 50k doesn't worry me, but those short stories are a little scary :)
    Like your student, I love those series!

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  6. Hi TPC! Thanks for visiting my blog. I came over to visit, and I'm so glad that I did. I found your other blog first, and what a powerful story. I don't think I could forget it if I wanted to. I'm a retired elementary teacher, now writer, so I was interested to learn that you are a school-based social worker. Now that is one challenging job! I worked closely with my school's various social workers and psychologists throughout my career. I loved your student's reading fever, and I hope s/he is contagious. Have a good week!

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  7. When I taught, I always made a point to speak with kids about books when I saw them reading them. It really helps connect with them when they realize their teachers share their love.

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  8. I love book series too. I am eagerly awaiting the third book in the Miss Peregrine series. And of course I love Narnia, Harry Potter, Earthsea trilogy, His Dark Materials, Little House, All Creatures Great & Small....etc. etc. etc.

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  9. I like sorter series. I usually hit burnout after 3-4 books. Heading over to The Ruralhood.

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  10. It does seem lots of readers these days prefer series. I think the reason I've never written one before is becasue of commitment issues - that's a lot of time to commit ot one group of characters. But I'm trying to write one now & we'll see how it goes.

    All three of your ideas have great potential for expansion!

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    1. P.S. Thanks for those links to articles on series

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  11. I always feel sad when I read a really good book and learn that there won't be any more about those characters.

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  12. It's interesting that the student said that. I loved reading series like Sweet Valley High when I was a kid but I tend to not have as much patience for it as an adult. It's important that books be spaced closely together or I forget what the first book was about by the time I read the second one!

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  13. That's great advice - every chapter as a story! I love reading series too, but I don't make it a requirement for books I read.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights!
    You can do this! Tackle that 50,000!

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  14. I love reading a series too, but not when the author does what I consider the ultimate travesty--cliffhanger. Ugh. I've stopped reading series before when I found out the author did that, figuring I'd get back to it when the series was done. If I can remember to come back. That's always a risk.

    Great post!

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  15. This is interesting Teresa! I do go for the same author to follow through a couple more before another author gets my attention. One can relate to familiar elements and there's some form of continuity carried over from one book to the other. Thanks for sharing!

    Hank

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  16. Actually, I agree with your student. I won't pick up a book unless it's a series either. Not unless I'm trying to help a fellow author. I'm too committed to the characters and I don't like to end the relationship with one book.

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  17. Blogger ate my comment to you Monday. Drat them! As a child I loved series: Sherlock Holmes, Doc Savage, Conan.

    As an adult, I have strayed towards series, too: Odd Thomas, Spenser, Harry Dresden.

    I guess that is why I write series as well. McCord has 7 novels. My YA hero, Victor Standish, has 5 with McCord being "discovered" to be his father!

    I have 7 novels with my YA hero, Blake Adamson.

    I only have 2 novels so far of my mystic bear, Hibbs. But it is fun to write series where the secondary of one novel can walk on center-stage to tell her or his story.

    May school be treating you kindly. I was a teacher and a counselor for a time myself. Whew! All that paperwork!!

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  18. You mean he/she won't give trilogies a shot? There's so many good ones! I also have a few series in mind. I favor the five-book series route. :)

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  19. I am the opposite actually. I usually love stand-alones much better :)

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  20. A series can be a good marketing ploy if the first in the series is strong enough to hook readers. I'd rather read just the stand-alone books. The trilogy movies kind of bug me.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  21. Great post and thanks for sharing that bit about series. I've been asked a few times if I've thought about turning my first published novel into a series and I'm still thinking on that... Thanks also for the links.

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