Whilst researching non-fiction, I found this article called And Now for the Sequel…Writing Series Fiction for Children by Nikki Tate.
It’s interesting to read the thoughts of this writer, because they echo my own thoughts in so many ways, even though I made up my own mind before reading it elsewhere. I like how this author of this article has explained the many ways in which sequels can be written.
My own series is linear (as in the characters do become older with each book), but stand alone in as much that all information for each story will be contained between the front and back covers. Any additional information will contribute to the overall story arc for the series, ie hints for future story lines etc, but it won’t matter if the reader picks up on these facts or not. It will make no difference to the story or the series.
As a young reader, I remember falling “in love” with characters in a book. Of course, I had my favourite characters and if those characters didn’t make an appearance in the other books I picked up to read, I was terribly disappointed. Remembering this fact, I think it’s important to have all the main characters appear in each book in a children’s series. Otherwise, we risk losing readers.
I’ve never thought about writing a series where the characters remain the same age … forever. However, I’ve seen TV series and read books where this has happened and it was never a problem for me. I remember thinking, after reading X number of books in the series, “when are these people going to have a birthday?” But I soon forgot about that small detail and enjoyed the book.
Be sure to read the part called Keeping Track of the Details, there’s a good tip in there about using calendars, which is so simple, but I hadn’t thought of it.