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Arts & Entertainment

Writing a Series

David Baldacci

Lesson time 11:50 min

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

David Baldacci
Teaches Mystery and Thriller Writing
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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[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...

Captivate your readers

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.


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

My God! This man is a power house! I hope I can match his work ethics and his energy level.

I have published 40 novels, been on bestseller lists, and found Baldacci's Masterclass informative and inspiring. You don't need to be a beginning author to take something away from this.

I resonated with so much of what David said, I think there are moments and lessons I will remember for years even without having to write them down and study them later. His view on writing, the realism and professionalism and competence with which he spoke was inspiring, reassuring, and exactly what we in the unpublished world need to hear.

David is a good conversationalist. His take on writing and his writing process are very much like mine; but, I am up at 3 am when inspiration comes to me. I have to write my ideas down, or I forget. This is one of those Masterclasses where I was eager to watch it through its entirety. Robin Garland


Dale U.

I'm planning on launching a private eye series and this lesson was extremely helpful.

Mike C.

If you write a series and want to remember the past story and characters, create and an audiobook. It's a way to refresh yourself and hopefully make a few dollars with the audio version. Oh yes, it takes far more time than skimming the older books in the series, but you are creating more content. Just a thought. I'm hoping it pays off for me.

Lina R.

Really liked this lesson because two of my novels are a series. I write romance, but I can apply his suggestions and tips to my writing. I worry about giving too much backstory. I am about to launch book two of my first series. I'm going to look for spots where I may have given too much of it when I do the next round of edits.


Thanks for this insightful guidance on writing a series,' it's helped me tremendously to know how to move forward.