Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Writing a Continuity by Margaret Daley

I've worked on eight continuities for Love Inspired Suspense and Love Inspired. The suspense ones are one book a month from January to June. This year the LIS continuity series is Texas K-9 Unit and the books revolve around a K-9 unit and the officers who work with the dogs. In this series I have the second book--Detection Mission--out this month (at the end is the blurb).

There are readers who love to follow the story from one book to the next. What's nice is it's like a series, but a reader doesn't have to wait for months for the next story in the series. But also the continuity has a few threads that flow through all the books as well as characters. Each book has a story line that is concluded in that book, but there are continuity threads that go through all the novels to help solve the main suspense story that takes place over six books. In the LIS suspense continuity series that usually is finding a boss of a crime network, a killer who has murdered several times or in one solving a cold case that leads to current crimes. I'm currently working on the one next year in 2014 that is about bringing down a child smuggling ring.

So what does it mean to write continuity for the author? It is different from writing your own books or series. You have to work with other authors to make sure the stories flow smoothly from one to the next. You need to work out anything that doesn’t quite fit or any problematic issue that come up. You need to be constantly in contact with the other authors. When you change something about your story or character, you need to let them know. When you create a store or café, you need to let them know. Sometimes it helps because they will use the same store or café. Actually it helps to draw a map of the town with where everything is.

We get a framework of the story and the continuity elements we need to include in our story. We get a short bio of our hero and heroine but most of the characters' makeup has to be flushed out by us. We get some secondary characters who may appear in one story or several, but we can also come up with extra secondary characters to use in the series and at least our own story. We will get some descriptions of the town and places used in the story, but we can add to those. So although we are given some of the elements of our story, we have a lot of lead way to make it our own. What is unique to me about writing a continuity series is the privilege of working with some great authors and getting to know them better. We are in it together. That's a neat feeling.

Blurb for Detection Mission by Margaret Daley:
Who is she?
While looking for a missing child in Sagebrush, Texas, K-9 detective Lee Calloway and his border-collie partner find someone else. A mystery woman running for her life, scared and injured. But she has no idea who she is—or why someone is after her. Lee's unit suspects "Heidi" is a criminal who knows more than she's saying, yet his gut instinct says she's innocent. Lee vows to protect her until her memory returns, but now someone is desperate to ensure that never happens.

Have you ever read a continuity series? Which one? What did you think?


  1. I was involved in a continuity series with three ladies, Robin Miller, Dineen Miller, and Ronie Kendig. It was a great lesson for me. Our series didn't get published, but their critiquing made me a better writer. I would not try that again as an unpublished writer. Not one agent or publisher was willing to take a risk on four unknowns. I haven't read a series like that, though. I'll have to give one a try.

  2. I've been involved in continuities for Love Inspired, Love Inspired Suspense and Superromance, and I've always found it a wonderful opportunity to meet and interact with other writers. It's always a challenge, though, because there so much one needs to incorporate from the preceding story--which has barely been finished. But it's fun as well.

    Congratulations on your latest release, Margaret. Your books are wonderful!

  3. Thanks for sharing on this topic. I've wondered how this works. I'd love to do this with LIS but I don't think I've been around long enough. I've written the Barbour anthologies where we had threads that connected in the stories and had to work together. Definitely not easy!


  4. Thanks, Ron, Roxanne and Beth, for your input. Ron, you should try reading one and see how it all fits together.


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  6. Very interesting to me, Margaret, as I've never been part of a continuity series. I can see the challenge, especially since you don't have total control as you would with your own series. I salute all you folks who do continuity.

  7. Very interesting Margaret, thanks got sharing the process.

  8. I'm almost finished with Detection Mission - can't wait to read the rest of the K-9 series. And the 2014 series sounds very interesting.