Arts & Entertainment, Writing

Writing a Series

David Baldacci

Lesson time 11:49 min

Should you turn your novel into a series? David takes you through the decision-making process.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Age With Your Characters • Allow Yourself Wiggle Room • Have a Reason to Write the Next Book • Offer Just Enough Backstory • Be Consistent


[MUSIC PLAYING] - I think the decision your writers have to make, that all of you have to make, is what kind of story do you want to tell? I don't care if this is your first novel or your 50th novel. If you have the juice, and you have the desire, and the motivation, and the material to start out writing a series, go for it. I'll give you a great example of somebody-- a writer I much admired and who was a really good friend of mine for a long time. She passed away. That was Sue Grafton. So she had been a screenwriter and television writer for a while, and then she started the series with Kinsey Milhone-- "A is for Alibi," "B is for Burglar." That was her first novel, and so she started off one of the most stupendously successful crime series of all time, right from the get-go, right out of the gate. And she did it incredibly well. And Sue Grafton was a very gifted writer, and she could do that. So don't tell yourself that I can't do a series because this is my first time. You know, don't box yourself into that. If you have a really cool character that you think can live beyond the confines of one novel, move on to the next, and on to the next, and on the next, I would swing for the fences because you know, the world otherwise might be missing out on a character like Kinsey Milhone that otherwise would be such a gift to the world. So don't confine yourself with that. And it's not about inexperience. It's not about having written a novel-- not written a novel before. It's all about, what is your material and what's the story you want to tell? And if it's a story that's going to live beyond the confines of one book, go for it. There's nothing holding you back. [MUSIC PLAYING] My first probably 12 or 13 books were all standalones. You know, the story was encapsulated in those characters there, and you never saw them again. And then I wrote a book called "Split Second." Shaun King and Michelle Maxwell-- didn't really intend for that to be the beginning of a series with these two characters, but as a writer, I made the decision. When I had finished it, I thought to myself, I left a lot of issues unresolved between these two and I think there's more potential. I think they have more room to grow. There's more fuel in the tank, as I like to say. So I brought them back in a second book, "Hour Game," and I brought them back in three other books after that. That was sort of the beginning of my series career, and I've done it now multiple times with lots of characters-- the Camel Club, and Amos Decker, and Will Robie. And for me and as a writer, series allow you another chance, you know, to dig at these characters, and to deepen them, and to get into their heads a little bit more, and see them grow and evolve. You don't get that with standalones. So for me, it was exciting to see that I would be able to see these people again. And they almost become friends. You know, I feel like I know them. I've hung out with them for years of m...

About the Instructor

David Baldacci has captivated readers across the world with gripping, suspense-fueled thrillers. Now the New York Times–bestselling author of 38 novels shares his techniques for crafting authentic characters, developing research-based plots, and navigating the world of publishing. Learn how to write a novel with red herrings, clues, and plot twists that will keep your readers turning the pages.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

David Baldacci

In his MasterClass, bestselling thriller author David Baldacci teaches you how he fuses mystery and suspense to create pulse-pounding action.

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