Writing a Series with Marie Dry

Before we go to this week's author, I would like to say hi to you all from Santorini Island. Yes, I'm on sunny Santorini Island, Greece while visiting all your blogs and welcoming author Marie Dry to Revisions & Editions!

Fira, Santorini. Its hot and sunny! 
Yes, blogging around and catching up on work!

This week we have author Marie Dry talking about writing a series. She has a new book out, 

Alien Captured (Zyrgin Warriors Book 5).

Ever since she can remember Marie Dry wanted to travel. She had had the privilege of living in Zambia, Morocco, and Spain and sees herself as a bit of a gypsy. Every few years she gets restless and has to be some place new.

She read romances since she was nine and was fairly young when she decided she would write the perfect story that had all the elements she looked for in a romance. In 1997 she decided to go all out with her writing and to get published. Being published by Black Opal Books is a dream come true for her.

There are several wonderful moments in her life that she would never trade for anything. One of them is meeting President Nelson Mandela and the second being published.
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Here it is in short:
Give your characters vulnerabilities
Work out the world rules and stick to them
Put clothes on them
Keep details of secondary characters to a minimum

I always tell everyone at our monthly ROSA (Romance Writers South Africa) meeting at the library in Waverley in Pretoria, that I can explain craft issues to them because I made every mistake in the book. That is not quite true though, I did a lot of things right instinctively. Most writers have read so much fiction by the time they are published that they have an instinctive knowledge of story.
Looking back at the five books in the Zyrgin Warrior series that is out, I am proud of what I accomplished. But it would have been great if someone had told me to write the series backwards. Seriously, if you can have the last book in the series written when you submit the first one you can seed in a lot of things that happened in later books. Says the pantser extraordinaire!
When I wrote Alien Mine I planned it to be the first of a series from the beginning and I knew Zurian and Azagors story and had pieces of it written. I also had an inkling of The Zyrgin’s story, though Viglar hid from me until I was in the middle of Alien Betrayed. I knew the world was set in the dystopian future. I kept thinking of Al Gore saying how we are ignoring global warming to our peril and that we are like a frog in boiling water. Slowly dying without realizing it should jump out. I wanted to write about the time when things got really bad and humans still didn’t realize they were on the brink of extinction. And then I set down and worked out the specifics of my aliens. From the craft courses I took I knew you had to create a world and stick to it. No convenient changes to keep the story going. Remember at that stage I’d done a tone of craft classes, but nothing beats sitting down and writing one book after the other and learning through your triumphs and mistakes.
Clever me decided my aliens are so tough bullets bounce off them. And it worked perfectly. I loved Zacar and his story and still remember that moment when I held the book in my hand. Then I started to write the second book and I realized that I made them so tough nothing threatens them. They took on whole raider camps no problem. So where’s the conflict? No threat, no tension and I couldn’t change things at this stage. Anyone out there starting a series probably know this, but always write in some weaknesses when you craft your characters. Physical, mental and emotional weaknesses. And that goes for their environment as well.
Then remember to put clothes on them. See it like a stage or a movie and think how the clothes reflect their way of life. And also how the different clothes show up against each other. I of course totally forgot to write down what I saw in my head and during my first edit with the editor she assumed my aliens walked around naked. I’m still blushing.
The last one another writer wrote about in a blog and I only realized exactly what she meant when I wrote the Zyrgin Warrior Series. Keep the interaction and details of secondary characters to a minimum so that you have more room to manoeuvre when you craft their characters when they get their own stories. The moment you write even one sentence about that person or the woman or man they will eventually end up with its set in stone. Many things can change between writing the first book and the last book.
I am a pantser and I enjoy my process, but I have learned a lot from writing my first series and I am looking forward to applying it when I write the spin off series, The Unclaimed Galaxies and Beyond the Unclaimed Galaxies.

Alien Captured (Zyrgin Warriors Book 5)

In a bleak future, where government systems are breaking down and poverty and violence reign, on an abandoned farm in Montana, Susannah had a simple plan. She’d capture an alien, sell him to the resistance, and use the money to save her son.

Instead, Susannah had an arrogant alien trapped in a pit who acted as if she was the prisoner. He wanted to kill her dog and insisted she should care for the wound he sustained when he fell into the pit she dug to trap him. On top of that, she had no way to know if the resistance got her message. Every day that passed, she doubted her decision to hand Azagor over to the resistance.

But her son, her baby, was being held by people who considered him unclean because he was conceived out of wedlock—and time was running out.

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