Guest Blog – Seleste DeLaney

I want to extend a warm welcome to my very first guest blogger, Romance novelist Seleste DeLaney.

~~~

Boot or Re-boot?

I’ve been a fan of Supernatural since it debuted. Sam and Dean Winchester are two of my favorite characters on TV, and even when the show drifted from its original urban legend roots to tell a larger, over-reaching story, I was still on board because the characters were still true and the stories, though not as inherently creepy, were still strong.

In my opinion, that’s because the show’s creator, Eric Kripke, had a vision. When he created Supernatural he saw where the story could go, if only it had the opportunity. And once it became a hit in the first season, he plowed ahead with this wonderful five season tale of the bond between brothers and the war between heaven and hell. Through those five seasons, the show never lost its focus on Sam and Dean, and they only changed organically as the story progressed. Was it always brilliant? No, but it was always true to itself and true to the vision.

This is the kind of thing that authors of series kind of plan for, at least I do. The first story goes out into the world, and the author sits back, working on something else, all the while hoping beyond hope that the first story takes off. Because odds are, in the back of their mind, they have a vision. It might not be so clear as to say it’ll take X books to get there, but they know the big picture.

You see, to me, planning a book series is kind of like playing pool or chess. First, you have to have the skills (I don’t have them for either game), but you also have to look so many moves ahead. Even if the end game isn’t in sight, you need a plan on how you’re moving toward it.

And at some point, you need to stop jerking your readers around and get there.

That’s one of the many things Kripke did right. He said five seasons and he meant five seasons. He took viewers on a ride straight up to the gates of hell, just like he promised.

So why is the show still on?

There are a few reasons: the fans still love it, the CW is making money on it, and so is everyone else involved. This happens with books too.

So instead of going quietly into history, a new vision had to be created, a new story written. The big question is whether the people in charge can still do justice to the original world.

Some authors have done it. I have high hopes that Richelle Mead will pull it off with her second series set in the Vampire Academy world. And I’m pretty sure Kelley Armstrong will do it with the Darkness Rising trilogy. But I’ve also seen authors falter when they’ve attempted it. It’s a dicey business pushing a story past what some might claim is its natural end, because it can’t work for every story.

And it’s a fate some feel has befallen the new Supernatural. Everyone I know has different issues with the new season. My husband hates the missing natural banter Sam and Dean were known for. I’m not entirely comfortable with the way the brothers have apparently switched places. I don’t feel like they are the same characters I came to know and love.

But I’m not giving up yet. Eric Kripke might not be at the wheel anymore, but he’s still involved and I’m hoping beyond hope he isn’t going to let fans down.

It’s very similar to the hopes I have for myself with every story I write.

Thank you, Julie, for having me here today. And if readers are interested in me or more of my work, they can find me at www.selestedelaney.com (as well as facebook and twitter) and my debut story Of Course I Try is currently available at www.decadentpublishing.com.

Also, tomorrow for #charactertweet on Twitter, please follow @Ever_Badlands. She is the heroine of my upcoming steampunk/alt-history romance and she’ll be tweeting off and on all day.

Thanks again!

~~~

I am guest blogging over at Seleste’s blog today as well: http://selestedelaney.com/wordpress/?p=311

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26 Responses to Guest Blog – Seleste DeLaney

  1. A very nice post. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Okay, I’m going to try AGAIN and watch Supernatural sighs. If for no other reason that to watch to Hawt brothers do there thing. Honestly, the blur between the first season to the current is real. I see it most times even in books I read that are series. So off to fine Supernatural season 1 πŸ™‚

  3. Seleste says:

    Thanks again for having me here, Julie!

  4. Kelly says:

    I ❀ Sam and Dean, though I am late in coming to the show. I'm catching up thru netflix and am loving it so far. I do agree that when a story comes to its natural end, it should end. Think Buffy TVS or Friends. I loved those series, and would have kept watching had they continued, but the story lines ended…and we sadly let the characters go. I have faith that Richelle's VA spin off will do well b/c (from what I've read), she's not stretching Rose's story. It's going to focus on a different character that has only played a very small role in the series so far. Same for Kelley's series. Same world, different narrator, different story.

    • So far Kelley’s series is doing quite well. I’m really enjoying it. Loved Buffy and Supernatural – I too am watching it on netflix. I’m just starting season 5.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      -Julie

  5. Pingback: Tweets that mention Guest Blog – Seleste DeLaney | Writer J. A. Campbell -- Topsy.com

  6. Engage the senses and have a vision –I get. Its the word count thing that overwhelmes me.
    In my teens I wrote long unending stories. The fear of ‘no-endings’ made me fall in love with first flash fiction and then short stories. Recently, I have written novellas. My challenge is develop my vision sufficiently so that I can write a novel and then a series.
    Any tips on how to do this would be greatly appreciated.

    • Have you tried making a loose plot arc (outline) before you start? It doesn’t have to be any more detailed than a general idea with a general end, but that might help.

      Kelley Armstrong once summarized the typical plot arc as: Chase your character up a tree, throw rocks at her, then let her down again.

      Maybe a brainstorming partner would help too? Then you can say, Hey, I have this idea… bounce it off of him or her then refine it as you go.

  7. Maureen B says:

    It’s a real conundrum as a writer. We’re told not to work on a second book or pitch a series, but then we hear that is what agents/editors are looking for! It’s a real balancing act when decideing what the next project is…move on with what you love or wait to see if it sells…

    • Agreed. I’ve written several sequels regardless of agent interest or not and have learned quite a bit from them. I think the trick is to write them if you really want too but be willing to change your ideas if you end up needing too πŸ™‚

      Thanks for stopping by!
      -Julie

  8. I agree completely. All stories have a natural end and it’s important for the author to know when that is. I love Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden series, but I could feel it coming to an end and frankly felt it needed to. She has a spin-off with Outcast Season and I have to say I actually like it better than the original. It’s definitely something a writer needs to map out, at least in a general sense or the readers will feel as lost as the author.

  9. Seleste says:

    Tips on how to write a series or how I do it? LOL

    Hell, I started writing a response and it was turning into a really lengthy post, so I’m going to just make it a blog topic. Looking at my calendar, I’m putting it up for next Saturday. (That way I can talk as much as I want and not take over the feed here :P)

    Thanks for the comments everyone! And thank you Leanne for the topic idea πŸ™‚

  10. katerichards says:

    Very interesting post!

  11. Mardel says:

    I missed most of Supernatural’s first five years – only saw a few of last season’s shows. So for me, watching the new season isn’t a disappointment, or an improvement, it’s just fun. I totally get how a series (TV or book) can out run the original plot. I think this has happened with the Anita Blake Series (although a lot of that has to do with the whole author’s tone and skills changing) and also with Rachel Caine’s weather warden series. With the weather warden series, I think the writing is just as good as ever – but I just lost interest in Joanne and the earth always being in danger of being utterly destroyed. I read the first six (not totally sure on the number) have the next book but haven’t felt like reading it, and I haven’t even been tempted to buy any of the others. Then I tried the spin off and couldn’t get interested in it at the time. Maybe later.

    I had a feeling last year that a lot of writers were going to go for steampunk writing – although it was passing thought and I didn’t think too much about it (since all I do is read and cheer the occasional author on) so now I’m seeing a lot of urban fantasy authors who have been working on some steampunk. I have to say, you are the first romance/steampunk that I’m read about. Interesting. I usually don’t read romance, but I might give your upcoming steampunk romance a try. πŸ™‚

    Most likely, within 2011 we’ll all see a book (or two) with werewolves, vampires, ghosts, fallen angels, vampire-hunting dogs {**;)**}, demons, talking cats, djinn, elves, fae and witches in a steampunk setting. Hell I’d read that! LOL (no, really, I would)

  12. I’ve been terribly, terribly lucky when it comes to series. When someone has asked me ‘is this the first in a series?’, I’ve usually been smacked in the forehead with a series idea just as they’re asking. Thing is, the series idea is much like a single story idea; it has a beginning, a middle and an end. Writing past the end is a lot like writing past the end of a single story. The readers feel it, and don’t like it.

    Just like a single story doesn’t have to mean the end of the characters, the end of an arc doesn’t have to mean the end of the characters and world either, but it really ought mean the end of that particular series. The ‘writing past the end’ applies as well; readers or viewers feel the anticlimax, and don’t like it.

    The trick is to treat it like any other plotting; have it planned out, but not so rigid inspiration can’t strike. When it’s done, say so, and mvoe on to the next thing. If the readers want more, you’ll know, and if there IS more, you’ll find it eventually, and as a fervent reader, I’d rather wait an extra little bit to get something good than get something sooner that feels forced.

    Just my two cents. Your mileage may vary.

    Oh! @Mardel – I can’t comment on anything else, but how about SteamPunk Cyborg Zombies?

  13. Robert thanks for stopping by and sharing!

    -Julie

  14. Very good blog on the ‘Supernatural’ series. I have always enjoyed the creative ideas in the episodes and the hot brothers spice it up and make it even more enjoyable. The talent lies with the writers of the show who have obviously given it much thought and creativity putting it all together. I haven’t watched the past year, but I can always pick it up at the video store and catch up. Great post! πŸ™‚

  15. Thanks for stopping by Patricia. I agree, the writers for Supernatural are amazing.

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