Is it a Series? : A Continuing Narrative Part 3

So for those new, we’ve been discussing ways to write multi-novel stories. We’ve talked about cliffhangers and my distaste for them, but there are still lots of other ways.

nothing makes a reader more inclined to pick up the next book than if the book they just read is great. Thats better than any tease or cliffhanger any writer could come up with.

If the book in hand is amazing, other kinds of teases may not be needed, but won’t hurt. If the book in hand is only okay, teases might help ensure further readings.

If your book is bad no amount of teasers or hooks or hangers will bring people back.

The simplest tease is the ad. Every Black Womb book has an ad for the next book in the back. Hopefully the title of the next one is compelling and makes readers want to read it, and the blurb that follows is always written to intrigue and excite. It provides hints about the great events of the next book… I only mention the exciting bits. Not the whole chapter that Xander spends styling his hair. I leave that out of the blurb.

But we’re not really here to talk about my advertising ability. Although those blurbs are ridiculously hard to write.

No, these are virtual writing seminars. So let’s talk about more ways to tease your reader.

The best tease of any kind is consistently great entertainment. Build up enough momentum and enough of a name as a writer, and you can even ride that through the darker parts of your career. Like a car you just let coast after giving the gas for so long.

But just in case you’re not sure you’re doing that, there are alternative ways.

I like using a slow build. That’s like the Tommy plot in Black Womb. It’s a collection of scenes or interludes not necessarily related to the main plot of the novels in which they appear that build anticipation of a story or big event to come. I usually build these over an arc to prepare the reader for the final book in the arc, which I like making especially epic.

This can be done wrong. Fans have pointed out that I did it wrong in Ghosts of the Past. The tease itself was fine, but it’s presence at the climax of the story left some readers feeling cheated of a true resolution. Thankfully there were other teases placed, like O’Toole’s hypnosis sessions, which were much more effective. 😉

Once we’ve built the anticipation to epic proportions, we pay it off with the climax novel. The end of the arc. I liken these to the “season finales” of serialized shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I’m sure you can all think of good examples.

These aren’t sub plots. People all them that. They’re teases. Sub plots relate to the main plot and typically resolve near the same time or at the same time. It serves the main plot of the novel, not the arc. A subplot can set up and tease a future novel though. The titles are complicated. Screw them. Learn to write, not the writing terms, I always say.

Another teasing technique is the Easter Egg. That’s dropping a small hint or plant a clue, but keep it seemingly unimportant. These are the most subtle teases. When the meaning of all the eggs is revealed, it leaves the reader with the impression of a cohesive book in which everything matters. That in itself is a powerful, motivating factor to keep reading.

So that’s it! The riveting three part virtual writing seminar on how to write three part stories comes to a close! Lol.

Hopefully what I’ve said help. If it doesn’t, remember, feel free to chuck it. Chuck anything that isn’t helpful to getting your story told.

And Never Look Back
Matthew LeDrew

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