Friday, May 8, 2015

Writing A Small Town Series

Hi!  Winnie Griggs here.  This month the sixth book in my Texas Grooms series hit the shelves.  When I wrote the first book in this series, Handpicked Husband, I hadn't really intended to go past four.  But as I wrote these first four books, some of the secondary characters that popped up really captured my imagination and made me itch to tell their stories.  At the moment I plan to have ten total books before I wrap it up.

These books are tied together by community - they are all set in the fictional town of Turnabout, Texas with, of course, a common set of secondary characters. They are standalone stories and can actually be read in any order.  But trying to set so many stories in the same town can become a nightmare from the perspective of keeping up with characters, landmarks and town layout.

And, since I'm a visual person, I came up with a couple of documents to help me do this.  The first is a town map I drew up, and that I update with each book as I reference new areas of town or different businesses.  Here is what it looks like.

The second document I created contains the main characters, by book, including important dates.  It looks like this:

Having both of these documents handy when I'm writing new books in the series has really saved me lots of time, and prevented potential mistakes, as I write.

So what do you think?  Would these documents be of interest to readers who follow this series?  Is there other information that you as a reader would like to see all in one place like this?


And in honor of the release of Second Chance Hero this week, I'd like to give away a copy to someone who leaves a comment on this post today.


Winning the Widow's Heart 

To help his dying sister, Nate Cooper once broke the law and paid a heavy price for his actions. Now the ex-con turned saddler hopes for a quiet life and new beginning in Turnabout, Texas. Being declared a hero for saving a child’s life, however,  leaves Nate feeling like a fraud. 

Since the violent death of her husband, single mom Verity Leggett has attempted to lead a safe life, avoiding danger and excitement at all costs. And her daughter's handsome rescuer Mr. Cooper seems like a perfectly responsible man, one she can finally rely on. 

When his secrets come to light, however, will Verity be able to get over his past and see Nate for the caring man he's become? 


13 comments:

Allie Pleiter said...

What program do you use to draw the map? I want it!

Winnie Griggs said...

Allie, I just use Paint Shop. It's not fancy, and definitely not to scale, but it does a great job of reminding me where all the homes and businesses are in relation to each other.

Mary Lawson said...

I think visuals are fantastic as I am a visual learner. It would definitely be of interest to me to be able to see these. Looking forward to your new book.

Leann Harris said...

Love your map. My last 3 books are tied together by family but are set in different cities, but your system would work for me. You don't remember what the heroine's horse's name was in book 1

Winnie Griggs said...

Lean, Funny should mention the character's horse's name. One of the things I'm thinking of adding to my character sheet is the names of pets, horses, etc. that were part of each story

Lenora said...

This is great, Winnie. I tried to draw a map for one of our K-9 continuities but when I downloaded it to the other writers, everything had moved. I'll try Paint Shop next time! I'm so glad those other characters demanded their own books! You've created a great community :)

jacqui19 said...

Great! Would love to win/read. Thanks.

Rose Milligan said...

I enjoy seeing how authors prepare to write their stories. I'm not the great plotter, so I admire those who do. Thanks for having the giveaway.

harnessrose(at)yahoo(dot)com

Winnie Griggs said...

Thanks to everyone who stopped by today. I'd like to give all 3 readers who left comments - Mary Lawson, jacqui19 and Rose - each a copy of my book. Simply email me with your mailing address and I'll get it right on out to you.

emma franklin said...

I do believe the documents will be of interest to readers due to that we can research and trace the hierarchy of each fictional characters as we go along with the story.

emma franklin said...

Thanks for having the giveaway.
uarbor2007(at)yahoo(dot)com

Jennifer said...

I'd like to have the map and the one that keeps track of all the characters with the book. These papers would be great to look over as one reads. Jenny

Lee Tobin McClain said...

Winnie, just saw this and I'm impressed! I just learned that Love Inspired is going to flash my books as a series, and I need to get mapping!