Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Apples or Oranges?

Posted by: Sandy James

My Alliance of the Amazons series will continue in May when The Brazen Amazon releases. The fourth—and final book—will debut in September. It’s called The Volatile Amazon. And that’s that. No new Amazons. No new books following the Amazons. Not now. Not ever. My girls’ stories will have been told.
When I tell people that, it tends to surprise them. There are so many romance series out there that go on and on and on…like the movie Titanic. <g> Actually, I can see the appeal of a never-ending series. You’ve already got an established readership. The publisher is obviously behind you. A successful series could easily be a cash cow that is impossible to resist milking.

On the other hand, I really like the idea that my series will have a true ending. All loose threads knotted. All plot lines resolved. Everyone is accounted for. There are some secondary characters I might give their own sets of wings one day in the future, but Rebecca, Megan, Gina, and Sarita have each had their turn, and I won’t be using those characters again.

A fantastic example of a successful closed series is J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, albeit it had A LOT of books, there was an end to Harry’s journey. As far as an extended series, I don’t have to look farther than my friend and critique partner, Cheryl Brooks. Her Cat Star Chronicles are on book eight—Wildcat. Yet each story seems to make the series stronger, and it has yet to become stale because she has a universe of planets and species to choose from to add newness to each story.

So as readers and/or authors, which do you prefer? Do you like the fact that a series can keep going, using new characters to continue a storyline or keep the world you’ve learned/built alive? Or do you enjoy the idea of a closed series, one like my Alliance of the Amazons where you know exactly how many books are in the series and that it has a distinct ending?


  1. The advantage of a closed series is that you can lead up to an epic conclusion. Keeping an open series going strong book after book is harder--but certainly doable. (Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series comes to mind.)

  2. I like a clear and definite ending to a series, myself. It reassures me that there's a clear overall story arc in mind, and I'd much, MUCH prefer a series to end strong than to linger on for several more books and run the risk of losing what drew me in the first place.

    Though that said, branch-off series involving previously secondary characters, or other tantalizing locations in the same world, are awesome. :)

  3. I prefer closed series. Frankly, I'd rather be left wanting more than to watch a series I love grow stale. My tolerance level is at about 5-6 books.

  4. I think the never-ending series that frustrate me are the ones that start to feel as though here are heroine A, B, C, hero A, B, C, and plot A, B, C. Mix and match. I'm with you, Eleri. My limit is usually two. Cheryl is an exception as is Hannah Howell's Murray series. It's quite a challenge to an author to keep things from getting stale.

  5. Given that I'm writing a 3 book closed series, not surprisingly I fall on the closed series fence. I think for me, I like to know there is finality in a series. Then I can go off and search for a new one!


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