Why So Series?

Now that I have the newly edited (but hardly finalized) copy of The Shadow Within in my beta reader’s hands (Hi, Amber!  Hey, Angela!  Welcome aboard, Julian!), it’s time I seek where next to aim my focus.  We recently finished Together Alone in group, so I’m going to start going through and line-editing it (and starting this process all over), but I still need something new to bring on a weekly basis.  I’ve been coasting the past few years by typing up stories I had already handwritten.  Now, with the exception of bits and pieces of various stories I’ve started, I’m on my own, forced to create new work instead of refining what I’ve already done.  So here are a few of the options I have:

Unseen Things III – World of Shadows Book I:

This was my NaNo book from last year, so it’s my best option as far as what I already have extensive work done on.  unfortunately, it needs a drastic overhaul.  Halfway through writing it, I altered my POV, changed the structure, adjusted the plot a bit and generally left it a skeleton of an outline with some meat on its bones.  There are some really good bits in there (if I do say so myself) and I do feel obliged to get out these books in short order, since I have a fan base and all (you know who you are).

Only Human on the Block IV: The Blood Contract

Coming off the euphoria of finishing the third book in the series in group, I have to say I’m rather excited to continue this series.  Together Alone is a bit of a turning point, the “Empire Strikes Back” of the series, if you will.  Back in the day, I immediately launched into writing The Blood Contract, but for reasons ranging from a shift in my work schedule to a bit of a burn-out, it took me a long time to get it out.  When I stopped writing it, I was only a handful of chapters from finishing.   Then…it vanished.  I recall looking at it in my last residence, but ever since the move, I haven’t been able to find it.  My hope is, it’s because it’s buried in a box somewhere and not lost out there in the nether.  I recall a lot of the major plot points (I think), but having to start over again from the beginning, even years later, is depressing enough I might just put this one off until next year.  Not forever, though.  I’m antsy to finish this series out with the fifth book.

Taern, Asunder (WT)

This is a story that popped into my head a few weeks ago and I really haven’t had much time to develop it.  I’m excited because it’s a return of form for me, as I used to feel much more comfortable writing fantasy than real life (well, as real life as fighting demons and shadow creatures can get).  I’ve considered making this my NaNo book this year since I’ve done absolutely no writing on it.

Keller’s Casefiles I (An AdaptNation Novel)

Like The Blood Contract, I’ve actually done quite a bit of writing on this one.  It’s about a private detective who discovers he has the power of telekinesis.  It’s set in a world where superpowers are starting to become more and more common, separating those gifted from those who are not.  Despite writing quite a bit, I never really found the proper voice I was looking for.  As it stood, the writing centered on one character, main protagonist Frank Keller, to the point where I considered going 1st person.  I waffled between broadening the scope of the story, making it more epic, and keeping it small and intimate.  In the end, I think I decided to have Keller’s cases be a separate entity in the universe, a more focused story set in a more diverse universe.  Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to really flesh it all out yet and, like The Blood Contract, I haven’t been able to locate the writing I managed to finish before quitting.

NecRomancer I: The Dead Tower (WT)

This is my take on a fantasy horror (well, one of my takes, anyway).  I started writing this several years ago and got a few chapters done before it got pushed aside.  Still, it and it’s sequel are fairly well fleshed out in my mind and they might make for (relatively) quick writes.

Spirits of Man I (WT)

This is actually a book I wrote back in the day, fresh out of high school.  It was my first attempt at writing anything other than a short story and I rather liked the way it came out.  In hindsight, however, it perhaps borrowed a bit too much from Robert Jordan (I was a huge fan at the time) and it suffered from some a lack of maturity in my writing.  I’ve been toying with ways to update the book and breathe new life into it, as the characters are still all near and dear to my heart, even after all these years.  It would be a major undertaking for me, however, as the first book was considerably longer than what I’ve been writing of late, and I had planned on five books total.

Ascension II: God Am (WT)

Ah, Ascension, the book I swore would never become a series.  I love the fact the first book stands on its own, but I’ve done enough plotting of the second and third book to know they could be killer.  It’ll likely be awhile before I take this one on, but I have little doubt it will someday see the light of day.

Through The Gray Gate (WT)

The NaNo story I started a few years back before I gave up and worked on getting The Shadow Walker out.  It’s another dark fantasy, which I can’t deny was influenced by playing Demon’s Souls back in the day (I had the idea before playing, but the game had such a perfect atmosphere, it allowed me to roleplay the characters).


I’ve got a few other stories I have bouncing around in my brain, but these are the ones I’d be most likely to focus on.  For good or bad, most of them happen to be series (and I suspect those that aren’t, might become so–doh!) which has its good and bad points.  As the writer, it gives me a world and characters I feel comfortable with .  When I work on Only Human on the Block, for instance, the rules are established.  The characters already have their voice.  This can also be a negative, however, because it gives me a baseline I can’t stray from.  It can also prove to be a bit creatively stifling, knowing that once I finish this book, there are still two more to go before the end of the series.  And after that, a spin-off series….

I suppose none of this would matter terribly if I could devote more time to writing.  As it is now, producing 1-2 books per year is going to take me quite some time to publish them all.  And in the meantime, I keep getting ideas for new projects I want to work on.  It can be tough to get excited for a new story when I know it may be five years or so before I can get around to it.

Of course, I’d rather have this problem than the opposite (no ideas–well’s run dry).  At this point, that day is far, far away.

Thanks for reading!


S.L. Madden


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