Writing a Spinoff Novel by Marie Wathen

It's Writer Wednesday!!! And I'm super excited to introduce you to the fabulous Marie Wathen!!!!

I met Marie last year at UtopYA, but we go way back beyond that! Marie was one of my first Star-Crossed supporters!! And I will forever love her for that!! Also, she's easy to love because she's definitely one of the sweetest people in the entire world.
That is truth.
She has some great advice for writing a spin-off!! I wish I would have had all this before I wrote The Reluctant King.. but it's still good to get it now! :) Now I have it for all those future spin-offs!

Thank you Marie for dropping by my blog! And for all you aspiring writers out there, grab a pen and get ready to take some great notes!!!

Writing a spinoff novel. First, I must say thank you, Rachel, for allowing me this amazing opportunity. To say that I am honored is a huge understatement, I’m blown away! When I began writing, I confessed to Rachel that her Star Crossed series inspired my first book. So, when your all time favorite author reaches out to you…um you freak a little.
Understand this before you checkout my series, it isn’t YA, there are no paranormal elements, and if you do order it, don’t expect the story to be anything like Eden’s, because it isn’t. And, I am nowhere near a master of words like Rachel. I was simply influenced by her amazing story, so I decided to put my writing out there.
Anyway, the reason why I’m here today is to talk to you about writing spinoff books. This can be quite a challenge, and I am currently still working through my own process. To date, I have one published spinoff from my continual series and a work in progress. You may be thinking, what makes you an expert? Oh, I’m not, and I will never ever claim to be either. But, I do know that there are certain things that will make a spinoff great. That’s what I hope you take away from this post.
Secondary characters are our friends. Do not skimp on them! Sometimes, we bring them in for filler or to show more depth to our main characters, which is how we should do it. But make them count…even the bad ones. We need to know a little bit about what makes them tick, how they look, how they make the MC feel, and then figure out how to let all of that influence the reader’s perception. If you introduce a ditsy character simply to show how wise or cool your MC is, people will get bored quickly. Give them a real life, something that your readers might connect with. It can be something as simple as a quirky trait or a passion for something. Or, it can be something profound, like a family issue, social issues or even the obligatory boyfriend issue. Can’t we all relate to those?
Now, once we’ve breathed life into these secondary characters, be prepared for readers to love to love them, or love to hate them. It will happen. When I published the second book in my series, I started a support group where we discuss the books and characters. My very first post in that group was a poll, asking who they wanted to have a spinoff book. 
What they didn’t know was that I was already well underway with my first attempt at writing a spinoff from a character that had no words in the first book, but came to life and piqued my interest in the second book. I wasn’t sure if anyone else even gave her a second glance, and that was okay. I wasn’t really writing that book for the loyal fans of the series. I wrote that story for her, the character. She forced it out of me. Seriously! Don’t scratch your head and look at this post like I’m crazy. How do you think all stories begin? Like that!
Anyway…Sam had a story to tell. Even if I wanted to, I wasn’t about to stop her, because before I knew what was happening, her story gave more life to my series than I was ever prepared for. She blew me away. And when I wrote her story, guess what. I gave her secondary characters life and it was instalove. Meaning, my readers fell for them too and needed more…another spinoff. Yes, it’s a catch 22, but I am a writer and this is job security. We build worlds that people fall into and make it so believable and great that they don’t ever want to leave. My mind automatically jumps to the Star Crossed series! God, who doesn’t want more from all of those unforgettable boys – Kiran -yum!
Some other important things to keep in mind when working through your spinoff are:
Where do you begin? Is this going to start where your previous book left off? Could it be a prequel or written parallel to your original book? Mine was a prequel and it flowed into book one, offering more details and background on the main conflict of the original story.
What is this characters new conflict? Sure this character was living in your other MC’s world, and that is an awesome story. But readers want fresh stories to read that involve their favorite characters. Interestingly enough, my spinoff prequel birthed the conflict of book one. My MC, Sam, in the spinoff was driven by her job and while she became slightly distracted by the hottie bad guy who was way, way, way off limits, she stayed focused on her main goal. She did her job to eliminate her conflict, but in the process a new, deadlier, more terrifying problem came skulking into her world. It gave her a new purpose and explained why she was doing all that she was in book one.
Still with me?
The point that I’m trying to make is that my spinoff MC didn’t veer off on a totally new topic, but she had her own different challenges to face and overcome, and it all worked out to set her up in the main story. Yours doesn’t have to relate back and that’s okay. Just keep it fresh!
Setting is important too! My original story revolves around a fictional island that my spinoff character is from, but her story is set in a different city - although, she visits and then in the end she returns to the beloved island. So, my readers got glimpses of the original scene and still felt attached to that storyline.
And, that’s it. Of course, this is my opinion and not in any way expert. I really wish you well with your spinoffs. They really are a lot of fun. I have many planned for my original series and a new series that I recently started. I may be more excited than my readers about spinoffs. Well, some of them anyway. Others are lusting after the hotties in my series and need for them all to get a HEA too.
Again, thank you Rachel. I adore you, sweet lady!
Marie Wathen
New Adult Author of the All Series, Marie Wathen is a wife, mother of two and a Lola of four (her version of grandmother). When she isn’t writing, her other career is on the nightshift. Marie is a fourteen year veteran dispatcher at her local Sheriff’s Office. The SO is where she met her husband Barry, patrolman – not inmate. Born and currently living in Central Alabama, she enjoys a serene life in the country, but lives for the excitement of traveling to large cities.

Besides writing, some of Marie’s other passions include reading, traveling, and family time that includes southern home-cooking and Italian feasts. Although Marie has been a storyteller her entire life, Be All was her first publication. Marie’s genre includes, but is not limited to, Romantic Suspense. She is currently collaborating on a Romantic Paranormal Thriller that will release in 2014. Also, look for No Details, a short story in the Novel Grounds Anthology, All Our Love, which will release as a novel late 2014.
Marie loves connecting with readers who enjoy her books.
Facebook: Marie Wathen Author www.facebook.com/MarieWathenAuthor
Website: http://mariedwathen.wix.com/mariedwathen
Twitter: @mariewathen
Email: mariedwathen@gmail.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7075309.Marie_Wathen
Available Books: Be All (Book #1, All series/Breesan) http://tinyurl.com/prkd995 All Is Lost (Book #2, All series/Breesan) http://tinyurl.com/qjpwhd8 All This Time (All series/Sam) http://tinyurl.com/odsatlf Worth It All (Book #3, All series/Breesan) http://tinyurl.com/m6qhyoz No Details (novella) http://tinyurl.com/kny335b Coming soon: Risking All (Book #4, All series/Breesan) Late Fall 2014 All Blues (All series/Blues) Summer 2014 No Details (The Only Exception Novels) Winter 2014


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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for having me, Rachel. Love you hard, and I hate that I'm missing UtopYa & you this year. Have a great time!