Friday, September 5, 2008

As Easy As 1, 2, 3,

I love a good series. When I find memorable or even likeable characters, I think it’s great to be able to have grand adventures with them again, as long as the author can keep the stories fresh. I experience déjà vu enough without having a book trigger the feeling with a rehashed plot.

Another thing that will kill the thrill for me is to read the first couple books in a series and pick up the anxiously awaited next installment only to have it suck… big time. You know what I’m talking about. You recognize the characters names and even the environment, but the plot and pacing are so piss poor, you can almost feel the pressure the writer must’ve been under to put out something… anything. I wonder if they experienced a feeling of dread as they sifted through their final edits, knowing that the work they held in their hands fell far short of the tales they’d released before. I pray I never have to experience the sensation.

As a writer, I’m now giving serious consideration to trying my hand at a series of my own. I have characters from a certain novel who have endeared themselves to me so much, I just can’t bear the thought of letting them fade into a distant memory. They still have secrets to share with me, tales to be told and havoc to be wreaked. My only dilemma is whether or not there is enough original material there to actually justify a series.

How many ways are there to kill a man? How many different sorts of monsters can come out of the shadows before the reader begins to wonder what kind of a world the hero and heroine live in? How many trials and tribulations can I subject them to before they decide they don’t want to play with me anymore?

I guess we’ll see…


  1. i had just that experience a week or so ago...massive suckage.

    but do whisper in my ear...which characters of yours might reappear?

  2. lol, I remember your suckage experience, Lime. I saw her book on an end aisle the other day and I thought of what you said about it.

    A certain once broken-hero of a detective and the hottie of a detective who saved his butt as his partner. Now they are going to be partners of a different sort, but I'm sure he will still need her to bail him out, cause let's face it... she's way smarter than he could ever hope to be. :D

  3. Great blog. I've done the same head count. Gee in MM I killed two women, burned a house. In MP there's blackmail in MTW murder on a daily basis.... who else can I kill.... hmm.

  4. Another thing that series authors seem to forget is that their hero/heroine has been 27 years old for three books, had six near death experiences and have lost half their family. In less than a year. That year SUCKED HARD for that person.

    Great post James.

    Dakota Rebel

  5. Heh. Or just write your books in the same world...

    Only one that I've seen do it successfully was Nora Roberts' JD Robb series. I suspect that hers take a LOT of planning.

    I take that back--John Sandford's Prey series and Jonathon Kellerman's phychologist series.

  6. Oh good on the maybe series! I read the first two comments and I am glad I know which book you are talking about. I will say that the way you ended that book it sounded like there would be another one coming, Good luck if you decide to do it!

    As far as picking up the last book and it sucking...I read the same book Lime is referring to and oh my my I was so disappointed. The climax had built up and then it had nowhere to go so it fizzled out.

    Hope you have a great weekend!

  7. Series do suck at times.

    Yet , sometimes they don't!

    Either it has to be autobiographical, where there is a lot of space ( & material of) character growth ( like The Laura Ingall Wilder 's Series )

    Series like those written by Sidney Sheldon have always sucked! They were never as good as the first books. & so did the series written by Jackie Collins ( Chances, Lucky, Lady Boss) ( you must be wondering what trash I read :D ( actually read them in my school days, stolen from my aunt's shelves :D))

    I know which one you are going to take further ;) !

    Good luck!

  8. ..But I read, Dostoevsky, & Gorky, & Chekhov & Dickens & James Joyce & Virginia Wolfe & Conrad & Hemingway & Henry James & H G Wells & Orwell & Thomas Hardy & George Eliot etc. etc. too!

    & not to forget a host of Indian & continental authors!

    & do you know, I loved reading Erica Jong! ;) ( although I am no Feminist, My definition of Women's liberation means something else..)


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