01.06.11

The thing about series…

Posted in Writing tagged at 11:53 am by kyrias

I read a post by Ilona a day or so ago about series and their whyfores and therefores of ending or not ending them:

Personally, it strikes me a little odd when people come out guns blazing to tell us that they’re huge fans of the series, but no, don’t write any more books in it. It’s like walking up to a concert pianist and telling him, “Your rendition of Bach was lovely, now please get off the piano, we’re done listening.” You might think it, but you would not necessarily tell that to the pianist’s face.

The thing is, as a reader, I remember predicting that Robert Jordan was going to die before he ever finished the series — when I was 12. He died when I was in college. I swear I laughed myself silly. C told me at that point that Jordan had said something to the effect of him writing the series until he was stuffed in his coffin — but hey, I’d called it, many years before he came out and admitted it.

Then there’s the Laurell K. Hamilton series where really, I don’t give a flying fuck. I was interested in the first two books and then it just went weird from there and then went crappy after wierd.

Then there’s the Twilight series…not even gonna go into that. Y’all know my stance on that particular series.

Then…and then….and then…

One series that is handled pretty brilliantly is Mima’s Truxet books. As I said to her when she commented on wondering if her series was getting away from her:

I just wanted to say that your series is definitely not dragging on. The problem with long series is when it seems interminable, when it seems like the author is milking the series for all he/she can get out of it and the story line isn’t really so much progressing as standing in place. Your series is pretty much stand-alone so far as I can see; there’s an overall story arc, but it doesn’t get in the way of reading each book as it comes. Each book builds upon the one before and reveals another facet of Truxet life — definitely not boring at all.

Lynn Kurland’s fantasy series is pretty damn amazing too. There’s world-building, there’s character development and there’s closure and she doesn’t take a million zillion years to get around to it. I do want to read more about Morghain and her newly kinged husband — but really, to a certain extent, I’m ok with exploring new characters.

The real problem, is as I see it, is that people get invested in characters and then the new characters just aren’t as shiny for some reason. Perhaps they have the wrong personality type. I like Mercy more than I like whoever the heroine is of the alpha and omega series. See how I can’t even remember her name. Perhaps we don’t like the way the storyline is going. Maybe the conflict just isn’t our cup of tea.

It’s not that I always don’t want a series to end, it’s just that sometimes the known is so much better than the known.

Sometimes, like with Morghain and Miach, it’s not that the story is left undone, it’s just that I’d actually like to see how they deal with being proper royalty and the hilarity that has to ensue from seeing Morghain being a queen.

But why would a reader come right out and tell the author that they’d like it to end quickly?

Well, sometimes I just want it to end because really, we’re done with this arc and we’re done with waiting and can you please just tell us what the ending is already? I don’t want you to get sidetracked by any more side-arcs. Or sex. Please don’t try to distract me with sex.

I want to know if Meredith Gentry or whatever her name is finally does get crowned queen or whatever. Which I do want to know, but I assure you that the question is almost purely academic. That Fae Fever series by Karen Moning is also on my list of “you dragged it out too long and seemed to be going in circles and fuck me if I’ll buy another one of your hardcovers only to see that the plot went forward in inches” series that I’ll just buy the last book or borrow the last book to see how it all goes down. See,  I bought the first book in hardcover. Then I bought the second in hardcover and put my foot down in frustration.

PSA: The plot needs to move forward sufficiently so I don’t feel cheated as a reader. ‘k?

And by move forward sufficiently, I mean that it’s great to have a really long series, but Briggs and Ilona Andrews did the correct thing in resolving at least one main plotline before continuing. Mercy finally got together with Adam, rejoice! Samuel got a lady-love! Kate and Curran kind of sort of have figured out their relationship, yay!

And now for our regularly scheduled ass-kicking….

Honestly, if they had dragged it out for longer, I might have said “fuck it” as well. I just can’t keep up the level of anticipation if I’m not thrown a bone once in a while.

Then there’s the “we’re going to write about every. single. possibly. interesting. side character before getting to THE ONE that everyone is looking forward to”.

Nalini Singh, I’m looking at you.

I loved her series to start off with, but towards the later bits, I felt like it was getting a wee bit formulaic. Alpha-ish female having to work out issues with power and so forth with another alpha male. Yeah, we got that. Or, cold Psy needs to defrost with hot-blooded changeling male. Check.

Can we get to Hawk and Sienna’s story already? I’m not at the point where I don’t like them anymore, but it’s getting a little too fluffy for me and it feels a bit like doing time.

The worst of it is when there’s this huge buildup to THE ONE that everyone is interested in, and then the last book just doesn’t live up to the hype. Acheron, yeah, that one. By Sherrilyn Kenyon? The one that’s been building up for what, years and years now? Bought it in hardcover, couldn’t even make it through.

Series building is srs bzness, peeps.



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