Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Open Ended vs Closed Series

Posted by: Nicole Luiken

I have two different series on the go right now. Amid Wind & Stone, book two in my YA fantasy series Otherselves just released in March. Golden Eyes, book four in Violet Eyes came out in late January.

One series is fantasy, one is science fiction, but the biggest different between them to me is that one series is closed and the other is open-ended.

Otherselves has always had a specific three-book structure, with individual stories set within an over-arching story. What do I mean by that? Book one, Through Fire & Sea, tells the story of Leah and Holly who are otherselves from Fire World and Water World respectively. Book two, deals with two more otherselves of the same girls, Dorotea and Audrey, who are from Stone and Air Worlds. Leah also makes an appearance in book two, determined to set right something that went wrong in book one. Book three (forthcoming) will tell the story of their last otherself, Belinda, from the True World, and get back to Leah, who will finally get her Happily Ever After. The books share a common antagonist. I always knew the series would be a trilogy and would end once I told the story of each otherself.


On the other end my YA science fiction series is completely open-ended. To be truthful, I never actually intended to write a series at all. I wrote book one, Violet Eyes, as a stand-alone. It was my publisher, Pocket Books, who asked for a sequel—and insisted it be about Mike and Angel, not a spin-off. Thus I wrote Silver Eyes, again with no overarching plot in mind, but merely a what-happened-to-them-next plot.

Years later, at the request of fans, I resumed writing the series and self-published first Angel Eyes and now Golden Eyes. Angel Eyes, again, mostly stands on its own. The ending of Golden Eyes, however, is definitely hinting at the next adventure. I will write at least one more Mike and Angel book—but I still don’t have an over-arching plot in mind.

After that? Who knows? It will depend on my career, sales of book four, and if I get another idea.

The two series have a very different feel writing-wise.

Writing the Otherselves trilogy with a series of set deadlines has felt rather like running a marathon. I love the stories, but at the same time I am so happy that the end is in sight!

In contrast, sitting down to write about Mike and Angel, two beloved characters I created years ago, feels easy and relaxing, like catching up with friends you haven’t seen for awhile.

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