Tuesday, August 16, 2011

When Should a Series End

Most of us do love a good series, but when does it get tiring, begin to drag? I guess that varies with each reader. Most of us read the Clan and the Cavebear. How many of those books did you read? I only got through the 3rd and my interest waned; however, I read all of the Left Behind Series and I think all of John Jakes historicals that were popular back in the 70s. I've read all but the last of Diana Gabeldon's and will probably get to it one day.

What makes us hang on? Is it love for the characters? I'd have to say that's true for me with Jamie and Claire but in some series books the characters change. Perhaps it's just the flavor of the stories, be they western, sci-fi, historicals or any other genre.

I've written a time travel series set in the 1890s in a small Texas town. The first was well-received, and promo for the second is garnering attention. I've just finished the third and am waiting to hear from my editor. I'd never intended to make this a series, but two years after the first story came out I decided people in the present would want to know what happened to the character who disappeared. So, I sent an investigative reporter to the spot and she disappeared too. The ending led me right into the 3rd story. No way could I stop now.

Though the ending for the 3rd story leaves it open for a possible 4th, do I want to travel down that road? I'm not sure. I guess I'll wait and see what readers think.

How about you? What makes you keep reading a series? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for Reading and Writing!



Julie Eberhart Painter said...

J.K. Rawlings had it right. She had it planned before she started. I could never do that. Diana G. fell in love with Jamie and couldn't leave him behind. I felt her fourth book deviated too much from the original and stopped reading there. Jakes wrote a continuing history. All were good and stood alone. I finished the Left Behind series in the car. Had to know if I was going to hell!
You'll know whether to "carry on." Your audience will tell you.

AllisonMarshall said...

There are some people who never want a favorite series to end, but I'm not one of those people. Around book 5 of a series, I start to get bored. It's not that I don't love the characters, or the writing... I just like it when a series comes to a finale. A series that goes on forever means characters that don't grow up or grow old, a world that doesn't stay saved, and no true peaceful happy ending.

Left Behind being a prime example. I pushed through the first 12 books, but the whole time I was thinking that it was taking way too long for the world to end.

Big Mike said...

Two is as far as I can go. More than that and I start yawning.


Linda LaRoque said...

LOL, Julie! I would ask what you decided but that's personal. I agree on Diana G's 4th book.

Good points, Allison. I hate waiting for the next in a series to come out.

BM, surely there is one series you enjoyed.

KMTolan said...

I think three or four is time to call it quits or become a one trick pony. Several big SF writers have done on on-going series that never seems to end...but too often they do. Abruptly.