(Crossposted from Silk And Shadows)
Having just returned from the Romance Writers of American national conference in Washington DC, I have nothing to say. I won’t have anything to say for several days while I refill the well of words emptied from me in a week of talking, talking, talking writing with friends and colleagues.
And yet I find myself able to write a few words 🙂 The topic here at Silk And Shadows this week is reading and writing series. Despite the fact I am writing what I hope will be a series, I’m torn about whether I truly like series. No, that’s not true, I LOVE a good series. I just finished Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson books and am fidgeting for the next one. But it’s hard to do a series well. As a reader, here’s why I shy away from some series:
1. The author dies.
Or sells the series to a lesser writer. Obviously, the first one isn’t the author’s fault (probably) and the storyworld shouldn’t have to die just because its creator did. But so often something of my enjoyment is lost along with the voice of the original writer.
2. I’m already too far behind.
I loved Star Trek fiction as a kid, but I didn’t have time for it in high school and college. By the time I came back to it, entire universes had changed. The canon had grown so large and diverse, I was hopelessly intimidated.
3. I have a mind less like a steel trap and more like a rusty sieve.
Even when I love a series, if somebody does pull my head out from under a rock and then smack me lightly on both cheeks a few times to bring me around, I often forget that I’m supposed to be waiting for book next. Honestly, this is one of my favorite things about social networking like Facebook and Twitter; I can finally stay current with my favorite authors!
Oh, but a well-done series with enough books to immerse me for days… That is a thing of wonder. My next trick is trying to write one… Here’s what I will be attempting:
1. Tie every book to the overarching storyline.
Because that’s so simple.
2. Make every book strong enough to stand alone.
Oh, is that all?
3. Deliver a knock-out punch at the end of every book and keep ‘em coming back for more.
But of course.
I’ll check back in five years and let you know how I did.
Do you seek out new series, or do you shy away? If you shied away — without bashing anyone — what scared you off? If you download countdown clock widgets from your favorite author to remind yourself when her next book is out, what draws you to a series?