Michael and I are thrilled to have Charles E Yallowitz, author of the 15-volume Legends of Windemere series, visiting us here at Robbie’s Inspiration. Gregory is also excited about Charles’ visit as he loves fantasy books and I have ordered the first two books in this fantastic series for him – lucky boy!
Charles has just released the last book in the series and, I must say, we are really impressed by the cover and blurb.
Whether in darkness or light, every path inevitably comes to an end.
As Gabriel, the Destiny God, determined centuries ago, his chosen will face Baron Kernaghan for the fate of Windemere. Through many victories and losses, the champions have stood together and prepared for this great battle. Now that the Baron’s influence stirs those with evil hearts, they have run out of time and must travel to Shayd. Yet, there are more secrets for them to uncover before entering a battle where the only way to survive is surpassing limits and putting everything they have on the line. Through it all, Gabriel’s statement that he made them destined to fight, but winning was not set in stone rings in their minds.
Will the champions usher in an Age of Heroes or become the sacrifices for an Age of Darkness?
Thank you to Robbie for letting me write a guest post to help promote my newest fantasy adventure, Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age. It’s not only my latest release, but the end of a 15-volume series. I’ve been toiling away with drafts, outlines, character bios, rewrites, edits, and pizza rewards since late 1998. Now, here am I at the end of a road that I’ve spent over half of my life walking. Maybe I can take a nap now. Eh, I’d only get woken up by a telemarketer.
A lot of work went into the series and I planned a lot of what happened. I also had outlines get destroyed by a character proving that they had a better idea. One of the most common questions I get is if I have any tips about writing such a lengthy series. So, I’m going to share 7 of them here. Why 7? I don’t know. For some reason, I just like doing lists that have 7 items, which makes food shopping rather difficult.
- Take notes about characters, locations, plot points, animals, and whatever else might be carried over to a future volume. There are few things more frustrating than writing along and thinking you might have used the eye color for a supporting character. If you don’t have notes then you have to go back to when you believe the information was mentioned, which involves searching through an entire book that you might not have looked at in months or even years. At the very least, mark the book and chapter to make things easier.
- Try to have a general idea of where you’re going with the story. Working off instinct works in the short-term, but you never know what will happen down the road. A new TV show or movie you’ve seen can redirect your story, which means all of the foreshadowing you did in previous volumes no longer applies. You might even forget about the hints, which means you create dreaded plot holes and inconsistencies.
- Character development over a long series is tricky. They can plateau fairly quickly and then going higher gets a little ridiculous. Kind of like having a hero become the greatest swordsman by volume 3 and then you run out of ideas, so you make him the greatest swordsman who can fly at the speed of sound by volume 6. The best way to avoid the staleness and plateauing is to knock your heroes down from time to time. It doesn’t have to be an utter failure of their quest, but maybe they lost something special for this victory or went through a trauma. Life is full of rises and falls, which is true for reality and fiction.
- Never be afraid to introduce new characters with new subplots into a volume even if it’s only for that one story. As important as the main characters are, you need fresh interactions to avoid repeated scenes. By having them come across somebody that gets to make a debut with their own problems and storyline, you get to add a facet to their development. This can range from the hero being dragged into a local feud to helping a stranger travel through dangerous terrain. As long as this new character and subplot leaves an impact on the hero or overall story, you’ve done your part to keep the series fresh.
- Pay attention to continuity. You would be surprised how much of a book readers will memorize if they love your work. Some will end up knowing more than the author. So, these blips will come back to haunt you. Aside from the notes earlier, I do an editing run specifically for continuity. This involves reading and stopping at any point that has a connection to another book or chapter where I feel like something is off. Do I catch them all? Probably not, but I try my best and make it a big focal point.
- To avoid burning out on the series, take a break between volumes. This can range from a week to a month depending on the author and time. You can walk away from writing for a while and enjoy those outdoor activities people are always talking about like walking and bungee jumping. Catch up on the all the TV shows that have bloated your DVR to the size of a Winnebago. Another option is to work on a side project like a smaller series, short stories, poetry, or experiment with a new genre that you always wanted to try. You can even combine the options and work outside where the sun makes it difficult to see your computer screen and the wind has it out for your notebooks.
- The biggest tip for writing and planning a long series is to make sure that you’re always having fun. A project like this is a big investment of time and energy, so you need to enjoy yourself. That positive energy will shine through your words and make your book that much better.
Another thank you to Robbie for letting me be a guest here. Hope it was both informative and entertaining. Please check out Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age and hope you enjoy the adventure.
About Charles E. Yallowitz
Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn’t working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. ‘Legends of Windemere’ is his first series, but it certainly won’t be his last.
Purchase Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age
Thank you, Charles for your visit, we have loved having you over.
Robbie and Michael Cheadle are the co-authors of the Sir Chocolate Book series and Robbie Cheadle is the author of Silly Willy goes to Cape Town