by Wendy Sparrow
Consistency is more than just keeping character names straight—especially in paranormal series. There’s a vast world’s rules that have to be the same throughout every book. What about the tone of a story? If that changes from one book to the next, it can be jarring.
Take the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Chances are that a good portion of the people reading this have read the series. Have you ever read them out of order? Have you read the first book and then skipped to the sixth or seventh? While you can defend this as Harry aging and the escalating danger maturing the tone of the book, there’s not quite as much justification for how some of the more fanciful aspects of Hogwarts dropped out after book one. Remember how the school song could be sung to any tune and at any speed in book one? What happened with that? That first year was not the origination of dark times at Hogwarts, so that can’t be used as an excuse. Having said that, I love the series and can forgive a lot. Though that’s always bugged me.
I think part of my problem with the tone and mood shift is that it changed the rules of the world slightly—something that, as writers, we have to be very careful of. Our goal for a story is for the reader to be so immersed that they forget it’s a story. It should feel real. Changing aspects of a book’s world without a darn good explanation jars the reader. I’ve been there and felt a little betrayed.
I’m not sure how other authors handle maintaining everything in a series, but I try to immerse myself as deeply in a world as I want my reader. I’m currently working on revisions for a paranormal book that’s part of series. How deep will I go into this world? I typically go on a media blackout. No movies or TV most of the time. No reading books by other writers at this stage. If it’s a book from a series, I’ll obsessively read and reread the manuscript and other books in the series. With shared characters, I’ll make sure they don’t change besides the natural growth through their journey. In some cases, I keep a cheat sheet of what words certain characters use so their voice doesn’t change. In this book, I’ll be going into the deep end of immersion because it has a southern accent, and I’m years from when I lived in Florida. However, by the time I’m done revising, I’ll have picked up a bit of an accent again. (My husband and friends find this hilarious.)
One of the obstacles I faced with consistency in the Servants of Fate series is that book one, Stealing Time, was written over a year before the second and third novellas. I’d intended it to be a one and done, but I couldn’t cut ties with the world—it pulled me back in. Yes, Zeit reappears in the second and third book, so I wanted the backstory and the world to be the same, but I also wanted it to feel as magical. Stealing Time had been well-received by readers. What if Taking Time was a second book slump of a book? What if Keeping Time feels like an unnecessary addition? As an author, there’s always the worry that your later novellas in a series won’t be as liked. So, along with getting the details right, you want it to be just as good. I’m not sure how other readers feel, but actually Taking Time is my favorite book of the series, so I hope I managed that.
Also, while I’m the most persnickety writer I know when it comes to getting things just right, I have to acknowledge that a lot of consistency can be achieved by a good editor. They see things with fresh eyes and are as anxious to release a professional product as an author. Editors have saved my bacon time and again with discrepancies large and small in my work. They are the gods that walk among us when it comes to skills in polishing.
I hope that I’ve created with this, and all the stories I release, a world that readers will dive into and not want to leave for any reason. The biggest praise an author can receive is that they left readers with a book hangover because they just had to turn one. more. page. I really hope you enjoy reading the Servants of Fate series. Thank you for having me on your blog.
She’s active in OCD and autism communities and writes on her blog to support awareness in both. With her whole heart, Wendy believes everyone deserves a happily-ever-after. If she's not writing or wrangling kids, she's on Twitter, where she'll chat with anyone about anything.
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Wendy's Paranormal Romance Boxset: Servants of Fate Series
THIS COLLECTION CONTAINS ALL THREE TITLES FROM THE SERVANTS OF FATE SERIES
Father Time’s son, Zeit Geist, must sacrifice a mortal’s lifetime to the Fates each New Year’s Eve. Last year—inexplicably, really—he made an 11:59 substitution. The Fates are pissed and they’re after his mortal Hannah. With the year ending, he ought to figure out why he’d saved her—and why he keeps doing it.
Following an unlucky year, Hannah Lyons needs a week’s holiday in a lodge to unwind. What she gets is near-death experiences and a sexy immortal who can’t avoid kissing her, but might have to kill her. After all, even Zeit can’t hold back time indefinitely.
Tempus fugit. Time flies…unless you’re Tempus Halt, Father Time’s son. Day in and day out are the same, except for New Year’s Eve when he steals the life of a mortal on behalf of the Fates. This year marks his first failure to stay the monotonous course. A mortal’s kiss and her insistence on taking the place of his year’s sacrifice stalled out everything. Now, Tempus has to keep her alive for a year so his sacrifice isn’t wasted, but that’s the only reason—definitely.
One of these crazy grim reapers stole Lacey Carpenter’s estranged father’s life two years ago. She’ll give her own life rather than letting it happen again. It backfires when Tempus doesn’t actually kill her, and they have to spend the year together. She’s falling for an immortal who stops time, not just to save her life, but also to ruin her dates and steal her books. This can never work and fate is just not on her side—in fact, they’d really like her dead before Tempus falls for her in return.
When Ruin’s mortal sacrifice to the Fates on New Year’s Eve is already dying, it should be the easiest life he has to take, but not this year. The dying man knows Ruin is there to kill him, but he asks Father Time’s son to look after his twin sister. Ruin can’t stay away from the sweet and sensual Phoebe. His previous interactions with women changed the definition of his name, Ruin, so he can’t fall for her, especially when the lovely mortal doesn’t know he killed her brother.
Phoebe’s brother promised to send her a guardian angel, but Ruin seems too devilish to be holy. He only wants to be friends and keep watch over her, but she can’t resist him. Loving Ruin is a sin tempting her heart. How wrong is it to cause an angel’s fall? Ruin and Phoebe’s time is running out as another New Year’s Eve sacrifice approaches, and Ruin might lose everything for keeping his true hand in fate secret.