A World Of My Own
One of the most rewarding parts about writing a spy series is that I get to create the world my characters inhabit. Sure, it has to have some basis in reality, but I’m not writing a text book on spycraft. I’m not qualified to do it and it’s not the kind of book I want to write anyway.
The best part about creating that world is when it takes on a life of its own. When the characters move off in various directions I hadn’t planned or an entirely new group of characters or events exist that I never anticipated. It’s great to turn them loose and see where they go. It’s even more fun to write about it, especially when it all makes sense.
But the same things that make a series enjoyable to write also present the most difficult challenges. My University novels, for example, can be read individually, but they exist in a defined setting. It wasn’t like that with the first book, SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL, but it was certainly there when I wrote the subsequent books.
I’ve lost track of how many times I had a character say or do something only to catch myself wondering if they had done that before. Did I change Hicks’s appearance from one book to another. Did Tali have that skill in an earlier novel or have I just jumped the shark? Am I writing about a plot point I had in my own head, but didn’t mention in the previous work?
Those kinds of concerns happen more and more as my series expands, but I try not to let it inhibit my writing as it’s happening. I’ll highlight a questionable detail and keep on going until I’m done. Then I’ll open the document of the previous work and search for the troubling detail or characteristic.
Getting it right may be a bit time consuming, but it’s better than getting an email from a disgruntled reader pointing out your errors.