Monday, May 15, 2023

Writing the series - constructing the universe - how long should series be? by Vijaya Schartz

 Creating an entire universe, with its inhabitants, its rules, its technology, is exciting but a lot of work. And as I create a universe for a story, I usually fall in love with it, which makes it difficult to let go of it to write something completely different. So, I tend to write series.

Although I write each book as a standalone, long series sometimes discourage the readers. Who wants to start with Book 8? And buying all the books that came before in one sweep may seem overwhelming.

Other readers want to wait until the series is finished to read all the books in one sweep. I understand that.

The Curse of the Lost Isle series, based on Celtic legends, has eight books. It can be a challenge or some readers.

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The Chronicles of Kassouk science fiction series has six. Still too long for some readers.

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So, I recently decided to limit each series to three or four books. But then, I start another series, set in another part of the same universe.

Sometimes, I fall in love with a secondary character in my story in progress, and I decide he or she deserves their own book. So, I use the secondary character from the current book as the protagonist for the next one. Or I introduce the next protagonist at the end of a story. It provides a link, and the reader feels grounded in the new series.

That way, I can enjoy writing new stories in the same universe I love so much, like the Azura Universe. Azura is the angel planet featured in the Azura Chronicles. 

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But the Byzantium Space Station series is also set in that universe, where Azuran angels cross path with human, alien, cats, and cybernetic characters.

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And the Blue Phantom series also stems from Azura, as the Angel Ship sails alone about the universe, rescuing the worthy and fighting the forces of evil. I'm currently writing the second book, ANGEL GUARDIAN, set for release in October 2023. 

From series to series, the Azura universe evolves. The forces in power at the beginning may be defeated, evil rises, an authoritarian regime falls and lawlessness follows. Evil never misses an opportunity to insert itself into the mix. We discover new corners of the universe, new planets, and special places, like Byzantium, The Land of Many Waters, or the Pandemonium Space Station, ruled by a powerful crime lord.

The advantage is that the universe is consistent for the reader, who, like me, enjoys spending time there. I noticed that, once hooked on one series, my readers will check out the other series in that same universe. All the books in the Azura universe feature cats. It’s evident on the covers for the Byzantium Space Station series. For the Azura Chronicles, and for the Blue Phantom series, all the titles start with Angel. The style of the covers may vary from one series to the next, but the theme remains. Angels, strong heroines, and cats, protecting the universe from evil forces.

Desperate to save her people from the Marauders swarming her space freighter, Kefira prays for a miracle. Blake Volkov, legendary captain of the Blue Phantom hears her plea and deems her and her refugees worthy of his help. Grateful for the rescue, Kefira finds his price shocking. Despite his glowing wings, handsome looks and impressive abilities, Blake admits he is no angel… although Kefira’s feline bodyguard strongly disagrees.

Meanwhile, an old enemy bent on revenge against Blake unleashed an unspeakable evil on the galaxy. Time to face past mistakes… time for innocent blood to flow. Nothing prepared Kefira for the upheaval ahead.

Can Blake find redemption? Can Kefira save her people? Can either of them ever trust again?

"Unique and memorable characters who travel throughout the galaxy battling the forces of evil in a truly epic novel. There are so many unique aspects to this book and not just the world building. The characters are well rounded, the description on point, and the surroundings are awesome. The plot of "Angel Ship" will grip readers from the first page and keep in a talon-like grip until the very last page... Fans of Science Fiction will love this offering and will be drawn to read more books from this talented and capable author." Ind'Tale Magazine

Happy reading!

Vijaya Schartz, award-winning author
Strong Heroines, Brave Heroes, cats

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