As part of the blog tour for Fiona Ingram’s middle grade novel The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper, Fiona has agreed to share with us how she developed a children’s book series. Welcome Fiona!
How to Develop a Children’s Series by Fiona Ingram
Developing a children’s series is both rewarding and taxing for the author, and possibly gratefully welcomed by parents whose children suddenly discover a hero they can relate to and whose actions keep them riveted. Isn’t it wonderful when a child begs, nay, commands its parents to go out and buy the next in a favorite series because they ‘absolutely must know’ what is going to happen next. There are many children’s series currently on the market and perhaps many adults are reading them as well as their children. Developing a children’s series is not an exact science and not a guaranteed road to writing success.
• Sometimes an author will start out with an idea, and try to stretch the story over several books, but to no avail. They discover that when a story is done … it’s done! On the other hand, an author may find that the story takes off and grows into something that spills over the last two words (“The End”) and shapes itself into another and then another and then another book, before winding down to a great final climax. Yet another scenario is when the author creates a set of characters that have several adventures, each one clearly contained with a storyline. The characters have a particular history or set of circumstances to retain the familiarity for readers who keep coming back for more action.
• Can a writer tell if the story has the potential for a series? The plot will evolve naturally if the characters are appealing, and if their personal growth and development hold readers’ attention. Again, appealing characters are not worth anything if the action and conflict are not compelling. There must be a perfect marriage between plot and characters to sustain the strength of a series.
• So why do children love an exciting series? A gifted author will be able to create characters that readers can relate to, and either love or hate. The readers get to know the characters well as the action evolves and, as each book comes out, can explore something new about their heroes.
• Characters become friends to the avid young reader, who shares in the hopes, dreams and choices the characters make. Readers are amazingly loyal to their favorite characters, even though they may often disagree with the characters’ choices. A good writer can explore these further, enabling readers to begin to make their own choices, especially in a moral dilemma or emotional conflict. Parents who make the time to read with their children, or who are interested in their children’s book choices, will be able to discuss these issues further. It’s a great way of dealing with ‘sticky’ issues because the discussion is less focused on the child and more on a fictional character. It may be easier for a child to express an opinion if discussing a topic via a character’s choices.
• Sensible advice: There are many good reasons why a first-time author should NOT start out with a series. But wait a moment, I hear you ask, aren’t you marketing your own books in a series. Yes, although I hadn’t planned on that initially. I thought I’d create lots of exciting, unrelated adventures for my heroes. But just after the halfway mark in Book One, things changed and the mythology behind the story grew and grew into almost a story on its own. It was then I surrendered and said to the characters, “Okay, you win, it’s a series.” Whereupon they all burst into mad cheering, especially the ones who made it into Book Two.
Perhaps writers shouldn’t set out to ‘create’ a series but rather let an original good story develop, allowing the characters and plot potential to determine the result.
Thank you Fiona for your wonderful insights into writing a children’s series.
Be sure to check out Fiona’s book and the other son the WOW book tour.
About the Book
A plane crash! Lost in the jungle! Hunted by their old enemy, will Adam, Justin, and Kim survive long enough to find the Third Stone of Power? With only a young boy, Tukum, as their guide, the kids make their way through the dense and dangerous jungle to find the lost city of stone gods, where the Stone of Power might be located. River rafting on a crocodile-infested river and evading predators are just part of this hazardous task. Of course, their old adversary Dr. Khalid is close behind as the kids press on. But he is not the worst of their problems. This time Adam will clash with a terrible enemy who adopts the persona of an evil Aztec god, Tezcatlipoca, and is keen to revive the ancient tradition of human sacrifice. Adam, Justin, and Tukum must play a dreadful ball game of life and death and maybe survive. Will they emerge alive from the jungle? Will Dr. Khalid find the third Stone of Power before they do?
Print Length: 318 Pages
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Adventure
Publisher: Bublish, Incorporated (November 2017)
The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper is available to purchase on Amazon.com.
About the Author
Fiona Ingram is a children’s author, but up until a few years ago, she was a journalist and editor. Something rather unexpected sparked her new career as an author—a family trip to Egypt with her mother and two young nephews. They had a great time and she thought she’d write them a short story as a different kind of souvenir…. Well, one book and a planned book series later, she had changed careers. She has now published Book 3 (The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper) in her middle grade adventure series Chronicles of the Stone, with many awards for the first book,
The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, and a few for Book 2, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, and one already for Book 3! She also teaches online novel writing for aspiring authors and she finds that very satisfying. Relaxation time finds her enjoying something creative or artistic, music, books, theatre or ballet. She loves doing research for her book series. Fiona loves animals and has written two animal rescue stories. She has two adorable (naughty) little dogs called Chloe and Pumpkin, and a beautiful black cat called Bertie.
You can find Fiona at –
Author Site: http://www.FionaIngram.com
— Blog Tour Dates
@ The Muffin
What goes better in the morning with coffee than a muffin? Grab your cup of morning brew and join us today when we celebrate the launch of Fiona Ingram’s book, The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper. You can read our interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.
August 14th @ Write Like Crazy
Make sure you stop by Mary Jo’s blog Write Like Crazy where Fiona Ingram talks about why your child doesn’t like reading and how to fix this.
August 15th @ Girl Zombie Authors
Come by Christine’s blog where Fiona Ingram shares her thoughts on writing about different places for kids.
August 16th @ Jessica Samuel’s Blog
Come by Jessica’s blog today where Fiona Ingram talks about how to transform your non-reader into a reader.
August 19th @ Madeline Sharples’ Blog
Stop by Madeline’s blog today where author Fiona Ingram shares her thoughts with young writers on writing and creating characters.
August 20th @ Mari’s #JournalingPower Blog
Stop by Mari’s blog where author Fiona Ingram shares her thoughts on developing characters that children will relate to.
August 20th @ Bairn’s Bard
Stop by Rebecca’s blog Bairn’s Bard today where you can read a post by Fiona Ingram’s daughter and also you can read about Rebecca’s thoughts on the book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.
August 21st @ Cover2Cover Blog
Stop by Steph’s Cover2Cover where you can read Fiona Ingram’s blog post about choosing books for your kids.
August 22nd @ Look to the Western Sky
Come by Margo Dill’s blog Look to the Western Sky where Fiona Ingram writes about her experiences fostering (and later adopting) an illiterate African child who is now a lovely young woman who loves reading.
August 22nd @ A New Look on Books
Come by Rae’s blog where Fiona Ingram writes about the joy of writing for children.
August 26th @ Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi
Come by Karen’s blog where Fiona Ingram shares her thoughts on how to encourage your kids to start writing.
August 27th @ Mommy Daze: Say What??
Stop by Ashley’s blog where Fiona Ingram talks about helping kids read better with homeschooling. A must read as school is about to start!
August 27th @ Rebecca Whitman’s Blog
Come by Rebecca’s blog where you can read Fiona Ingram’s post about using computers to improve reading skills.
August 28th @ Jennifer’s Deals
Stop by Jennifer’s blog where she shares what she her thoughts about Fiona Ingram’s incredible middle grade adventure book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.
August 30th @ Story Teller Alley
Visit Veronica’s blog and check out her thoughts on the book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.
August 31st @ Mommy Daze: Say What??
Make sure you stop by Ashley’s blog again where she shares her thoughts on Fiona Ingram’s book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.
August 31st @ Rebecca Whitman’s Blog
Stop by Rebecca’s blog again where you can read Fiona Ingram’s post about writing a children series.
September 1st @ Cathy C. Hall’s Blog
Visit Cathy’s blog today where Fiona Ingram shares the top ten things you never knew about Mexico!
September 2nd @ Break Even Books
Come by Erik’s blog Break Even Books where Fiona Ingram talks about how to make your books both enjoyable and educational.
September 3rd @ Beverly A. Baird’s Blog
Join us over at Beverly A. Barid’s blog where author Fiona Ingram shares her thoughts on developing a children’s series.
September 4th @ Cathy C. Hall’s Blog
Make sure to come by Cathy’s blog again where she shares her thoughts on Fiona Ingram’s book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.
September 5th @ Jill Sheet’s Blog
Come by Jill’s blog today where Fiona Ingram shares her thoughts on writing for children.
September 5th @ Ali’s Bookshelf
Stop by Ali’s blog where Fiona Ingram talks about whether books can help children cope with life.
September 7th @ Beverly A. Baird’s Blog
Join us at Beverly’s blog again for her thoughts on Fiona Ingram’s adventurous book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.
September 7th @ Anthony Avina’s Blog
Stop by Anthony’s Blog where you can read Fiona Ingram’s post about why a book series is so good for non-readers.
September 9th @ Anthony Avina’s Blog
Make sure to check out Anthony’s blog again where you can read his thoughts on Fiona Ingram’s book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.
September 10th @ Misadventures with Andi
Come by Andi’s blog where you can read Fiona Ingram’s post about why children love reading about other countries and cultures.
September 10th @ Whitman’s Academics
Stop by Rebecca’s blog where Fiona Ingram’s talks about turning a non-reader into a reader.
September 12th@ Coffee with Lacey
Stop by Lacey’s blog where she reviews Fiona Ingram’s book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.
September 13th @ Coffee With Lacey
Be sure to stop by again when Lacey interviews author Fiona Ingram and chats about her newest book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.
September 14th @ World of My Imagination
Come by Nicole’s blog where she shares her opinion about Fiona Ingram’s middle grade fiction book The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.
September 15th @ Story Teller Alley
Stop by Veronica’s blog Story Teller Alley to read Fiona Ingram’s post on how she came about to write the series The Chronicles of the Stone.