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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > January 2017 > Fiction focus: Staying power

Fiction focus: Staying power

Keep readers on the hook for your next book and enjoy expanding your fictional world with a novel series, says Margaret James

A couple of months ago (Nov 16) this column discussed writing epic novels, and this month we’re going to look at writing novels in series.

What’s the difference between epics and series – is there any? I’d suggest that although a series novel can sometimes leave a few incidental questions unanswered at the end of each individual story, it is usually complete in itself, rather than part of a continuous narrative journey developing over one huge or several smaller volumes.

Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot stories, for example, definitely form a series in which her charismatic hero has a range of adventures that engage the reader enough to want to meet this central character again and again.

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About Writing Magazine

• STAR INTERVIEW WITH LEE CHILD, the multi-million selling creator of the Jack Reacher novels • Writing wisdom from the great Greek thinkers – rules that have stood the test of time • How to make your historical fiction stand out, and top tips on the genre from author Nicola Cornick • Study the short story masters to learn the art of the unreliable narrator • The magazine sleuth - how every magazine tells you exactly what its editor needs

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