by Kariss Lynch, @Kariss_Lynch
I love watching a good television series, especially one that has multiple seasons on Netflix. There’s something about watching a character enter the screen unsure and feeling incomplete before they are swept into an adventure that forever changes them. And every season, that adventure morphs and grows. So does the character, romance, and friendships. The trick is learning how to write a consistent point of view hero and heroine over the course of a series.
1. Show growth.
Just like you plot out growth for your character in one book and make that they can do something new at the end that they couldn’t at the beginning, so you must do for a book series as well. Your character’s personality won’t have changed but they will have grown in character qualities, shaped by the circumstances you toss at them. They must conquer some personal demon in the first book that is challenged again in the second book and built on as a new personal demon emerges.
2. Give them new problems and goals.
The best way to show growth is to give your character different problems and goals in each book all underneath the umbrella of the overarching story. In my Heart of a Warrior series, my heroine, Kaylan, is caught in a deadly earthquake in the first book and loses people she loves. She must come to terms with her pain and heal in order to move on. In Shadowed, the second book in the series, she has found a level of peace with a new state, job, and guy she is head over heels for, but now she has a new problem. She has fallen in love with a Navy SEAL, a man who voluntarily puts himself in harm’s way and may not come back alive from his deployments. This builds on her solved problem and growth in Shaken, but is now a new demon for her to conquer. I used circumstances in book one to create a problem in book two that creates more room for problems, growth, and setbacks as they move into book three.
3. Keep the main thing the main thing.
Frodo has to get rid of the ring. Luke must save the empire from Darth Vader and the Emperor. George Banks must walk his daughter down the aisle (I mean, it’s in the title – Father of the Bride). Even as you add new problems and goals, the main thing must stay the main thing, not only for each book in your series, but for the series as a whole. Each book needs to fit into the overall narrative. It has helped to create a new story outline and character chart with each book in my series. Many of the answers remain the same, but because the character has grown, they may have a new wound, a recently developed flaw, a new immediate goal, and different competing values. These new additions advance my characters and my story into the next stage of the adventure.
When plotting a series, do your best to get a loose, overall narrative on the page before you send that first book off to be published. Consistency is key when writing POV for the same characters throughout a series. Just like in seasons of a television or movie series, your characters have to grow, your problems have to increase and be different, and your story has to be consistent and end with a satisfying bang. And the guy has to get the girl. Somehow that always needs to happen, because that’s my version of a happy ending.
Ready to change the world, Kaylan Richards leaves her comfortable life in Alabama to serve in poverty-stricken Haiti. But when the earthquake strikes, people she cares for are gone and she is left picking up the pieces. Navy SEAL Nick Carmichael never planned to find a girl he loved more than his country. Now she is a world away, trapped in a deadly situation. Will Nick’s love be enough to help her heal, or will her world forever remain shaken?
Kariss Lynch writes contemporary romance about characters with big dreams, adventurous hearts, and enduring hope. She is the author of the Heart of a Warrior series and loves to encourage her readers to have courage. In her free time, she hangs out with her family and friends, explores the great outdoors, and tries not to plot five stories at once. Connect with her at karisslynch.com, or on Facebook, Instagram, or Goodreads.