March 17, 2020

Starting a New Series (Part 1)

Stephanie Payne Hurt @StephanieHurt4

Romance Author


The fun of starting a new series never gets old and when you start one like ‘The Journal’, the adventure is only just starting. With ‘The Journal’ series I get to explore all three of my fictional heroes, knights, cowboys, and pirates, oh my! And you guessed it, that means a lot of different time periods.

I will warn you beforehand, writing a series has its ups and downs. Although I love writing series, it can be hard keeping all the details straight. One of the greats joys of writing a series is watching your characters bloom and their stories unfolding. Every character has a story, and in a series, you can explore them. Not like a standalone that only gives the reader insight into one set of characters. The biggest downfall to writing a series is the details. If you don’t get all of them right, believe me, the reader will know, and they’ll tell you. But in this article, I’ll give you some advice that I hope will help you sort it all out. So, let’s get started!

Now, you’re probably wondering how I can explore that many time periods in one series and keep it all straight. Well, let’s talk about what it takes to get a multi time period series going.

There’s more to writing a series than just putting words on paper. With a series, you need to know if the books will connect, have the same characters, or just stand alone completely, as I mentioned above. With ‘The Journal’, they connect but can be stand alone books. What I mean is, each one is about the same family, but the main character in each is the sister that gets the journal, (I’ll explain that later). So, I must keep up with original characters as well as those that I will add later.

To do this I have a couple of methods. With four books, I don’t want to lose sight of where it started and who is pivotal in each book. My outline can be done on paper or in the program I use to write my books, Scrivener. In Scrivener I can have a character bio for each person as well as places. It runs down the side of the screen, so I never forget a name. I also keep a notebook with key characteristics and the outline that I scribbled out when the idea first came to mind. Yes, it may seem like double work, but to me, it’s my sanity. As with every new book I start, I handwrite an outline that gives me the beginning, middle and end of the story as I see it in my mind. Of course, as the book develops this can change slightly, but the main emphasis is the same. Each series has i’s own notebook with tabs on the side to indicate where the newest book starts. I keep that beside me as well as in Scrivener, it’s down the right side of my work as I type.

And of course, I need to know more about the time period that my characters are traveling back to. That’s the exciting part, especially since I love history. But most importantly, let’s remember that in the early 1200’s there are no light switches. Yes, I did that! My character flipped a light switch. After this little flub, I searched lights and switches in my document to correct any further flips of the switch.

Stephanie picked up her first romance novel in her early teens and fell in love. She began to pen stories in notebooks in her teens and throughout her twenties. It was in 2012 when she decided to publish her work and let the world in on her version of romance. Now she has 50+ books published and many more in the works.

A busy woman, she's a accountant, children's minister, wife and mother. Her life may be busy, but when she sits down at her laptop the world slips away and she goes into another place. Sometimes it's a ranch full of horses, or back to the Civil War saving a heroine find her love, but as always, she'll find romance even in the most remote places.

All of her books are clean, wholesome romances, some even dubbed as Christian romances. Her books range from western, historical, time travel, Christian, and she might even dabble in a little paranormal from time to time.


  1. very sweet ! Have you considered a launch strategy for your book ? helps gather reviews for your book, gain visibility and traction. Would you like a book trailer ? I can do one for free.

  2. Thank you Stephanie. I am amazed how creative you are in writing series.

    I love the fact that you write about knights, pirates and cowboys. Such a diversity in one respect yet when you step back and look at those occupations they are similar just years apart.

    To think how many books you have published all while being a wife, mother, accountant and children's minister is mind boggling plus the ones you are currently working on.

    Thank you so much for sharing this information.

  3. And that light switch is why I don't write historicals. lol. I love the research you do. And I don't know how you find time to write!