Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Finishing A Series

Posted by: Shona Husk
For the past few of weeks I’ve been working on the revisions for two books. Both are the last in their series. On one hand it’s really nice to finish something that I’ve been working on for a couple of years, but on the other I’m a bit sad to be leaving the characters and their worlds.

Because I’m also working on the start of a new series (that will begin in 2013) it’s also made me pause and think about how I write. When I plot a series I need to know where it’s going, each book has to move the overall arc forward without making it necessary to read the books in order. Because I write romance each book also needs a different couple to find their way to a HEA.

The Sex with Strings series (Ellora’s Cave) was obviously a 4 book series as there are 4 Vampires in the rock band; Phoenix, Thanatos, Sirius and Absinthe. The Shadowlands series (Sourcebooks) was different. I decided early on that while 6 men were cursed there wasn’t going to be 6 novel length stories. How much can be written about Celtic warriors breaking a curse and adapting to modern life? So the three main guys get a book each and the others make cameos :)

Of course as a reader I appreciate a series with an end. So while my favourite fantasy series, Deverry by Katharine Kerr is 14 books, it was broken up into smaller series. The Dark Age Dawning trilogy by Ellen Conner is paranormal romance but each book moved forward in time and showed a different aspect of what was happening in the world.

As a reader what do you prefer, an ongoing world or a definite end?


  1. As a writer, I prefer the definite ending. As much as I may love the characters and world I've created there comes a point when I want to work on something new and different.

    As a reader, it depends more on the genre. Epic fantasy needs a definite ending, whereas paranormal romance where each book starts off a new romance or mystery (or fantasy mystery hybrids like Jim Butcher's Dresden Files) work for as long as the author still has new portions of their world to explore. Once the author goes stale, the series goes south.

  2. I like an ongoing world. Series by authors such as Kathy Reichs and Linda Fairstein just keep on keeping on. I hope Carrie Bebris' Mr & Mrs Darcy series will last for many books.

  3. I like the ongoing series but Nicole raises a good point, that if the author has "gone stale", the series might as well be over! I enjoyed in Anne McCaffrey's Dragonrider series, there was a definite end to the saga...but then she wrote books in the backstory timeline. So that was the best of both worlds for me (altho I did stop reading after she stopped doing the writing).

  4. Some ongoing worlds work. There might be a shift in setting or occupations (or obsessions, in some paranormal cases), but they continue to work. Other times, the shifts feel manufactured, or some of the passion appears to have been replaced by formula.

    I, for one, prefer to see series run to an end that feels organic. I don't need all loose ends tied up; a significant change in the characters or some version of acceptance or happiness is usually enough for me. That doesn't mean that, years later, I won't smack the last book on the table and whine about wanting more. :)


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