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The Joys and Challenges of Writing a Long Series by C.R. Richards

The Joys and Challenges of Writing a Long Series by C.R. Richards

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I can’t think of anything better than a good book series. It has likable characters, an intriguing plot, and plenty of adventure. Throw in some good-humored banter between characters and I’m hooked. These are the books I’ll buy in bulk.

We, Readers, love book series (the longer, the better), but what about Authors? Is it easier to write a series of books than it is standalone novels? Do Authors enjoy writing about the same characters over and over again? Having written three books in my Dark Fantasy series, I can tell you the answer varies depending upon which phase of editing I’m in. Ultimately, it is love for the series that keeps me writing.

The Joys 

My characters become more “real” to me than living beings walking about in my hometown. I’ve spent so much time with them, they’ve become dear friends. The world in which they live is a familiar place to escape and renew my energy. 

In staying with the same fantasy world, I enjoy some delightful benefits:

  • I have the opportunity with each new book to delve a little deeper into the fascinating aspects of the world I’ve built

  • My readers are already familiar with the world and my characters, so I spend less time on development. I still love to have a bit of fun expanding my main character’s circle of friends and enemies

  • The Best for Last: Fans of the series enjoy the characters and ask for more stories about them

The Challenges

Every Author will tell you what a thrill it is to meet someone as excited about your work as you are. I enjoy attending conventions and meeting readers. Our chats usually move to scenes in my books. I hate to pull back the curtain, but it will be easy to stump me with questions. I don’t remember fifty percent of a book’s detail once I let it go off into the world. My creative brain has moved on to the next project. 

  • The more books in the series, the more information I have to remember. Readers pay attention to what they read. Mistakes made in specific details of a storyline may slip by the Author and Editor. An attentive reader, however, will catch it. I keep a list of characters, incidents, and cultural details to jog my memory

  • The urge to be perfect. We grow in our craft as we write. I try to improve my skill level with each new manuscript. It’s my goal to produce a better book than the last one. Unfortunately, the temptation to alter past novels is great. I resist all my perfectionist tendencies with a force of ferocious will. If I go back and update earlier books, then I will be delayed moving forward which brings me to the last bullet

  • Binge Readers. I’ll admit it. I’m also a “series” binge reader. Give me a new series that I can sink my teeth into, and I’ll read every book until I reach the last “The End.” It can be frustrating when the story isn’t complete. I want to know what happens, but the Author hasn’t completed the next volume in the series. Waiting. I hate it. BUT – quality books take time to write. In my case, I usually put out a novel every 1.5 years. I don’t want to disappoint my readers, but art takes time. I won’t release a book until it is at the highest level of quality I can achieve

Every artistic endeavor has its joys and challenges, but the creator endures because their art is always worth it. Love keeps me writing the Heart of the Warrior series. I intend to keep going until the last “The End” of the last book.


C.R. Richards’ literary career began when she interned as a part-time columnist for a small entertainment newspaper. She wore several hats: food critic, entertainment reviewer and cranky editor. A co-author of horror and urban fantasy novels, her first solo fiction project - The Mutant Casebook Series - was published by Whiskey Creek Press in 2013. Phantom Harvest (Book One in the series) is the winner of the 2014 EPIC eBook Awards for Fantasy Fiction. Cynthia is an active member of the Horror Writers Association, EPIC and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. For more information about her books, visit her website:

Books and Short Fiction by C.R. Richards: Phantom Harvest (2013), Lost Man's Parish (2014), Pariah (2014), The Lords of Valdeon (2015) and The Obsidian Gates (2017)

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