Sorry and Questions about Book Series

Jillian here-  Sorry I’ve been AWOL but I am back now. I had my surgery (finally!) at the end of April and I was surprised to find that even though I felt much better after about a week, I continued to be really tired and had no energy. I also had no desire to write or do much of anything. I did go back to work part time after three weeks, but took care to leave early as I didn’t want to overdo it.

I finally started a new story last week and was very relieved that my creativity was back. Not being compelled to write was an odd feeling for me.

I read a lot while I was unmotivated to work on my own stuff and read a series called The Shades of Magic  by V. E. Schwab. The first one was very good and I inhaled it. The second one was all right, but not as great as the first. The thing ended on a cliffhanger (pet peeve for me) but I already had the third one (I got these for Mother’s Day). The third one went on way too long and pretty much could’ve been merged into book two very easily- they were each over 400 pages, but two and three could’ve been merged into one at around 550 and been a better story, I think. But perhaps the author had a three-book deal. 🙂

So, my questions are, “Do you think some series are too long? Do you think there is a tendency to pad the word count to get to three books? Do they usually get better or worse as the books go on? How do you feel about cliffhangers where the book stops in the middle of the action- not an overarching plot for the series but when the book just ends abruptly? I feel manipulated when that happens.  I like a beginning, middle and end.

Share your thoughts on book series! Happy July!


11 responses to “Sorry and Questions about Book Series

  1. Glad you are now recovered after your operation, Jillian, and I hope you continue to improve and get your energy levels back. Glad to hear you have your enthusiasm for writing back and have started a new book. Take it easy though.

    Series, while I really love them I absolutely hate cliffhangers. Alas, there seems to be a trend for them at the moment. If the author makes it clear up front, all well and good, but many don’t. I bought the first book in a new series about Mermen by an author I like. It ended on a cliffhanger and I wouldn’t buy the next book. It felt like a cheat to me.

  2. thanks Tricia. I appreciate the good wishes. I am not pushing myself- just casually writing a little each day.

    And yes, I hate cliffhangers. I read a book a few years ago that left off with a girl getting captured by the people chasing her and putting a needle in her arm to knock her out. I was so mad that I was cheated out of a whole story, I said the same as you. I never bought the next book. As far as I’m concerned, that girl can stay sedated the rest of my life 🙂

    It’s very much a cheat- manipulates the reader into spending more money- if the book is good, I will spend the money without having to be cheated into doing so. It’s a real pet peeve for me.

  3. I do think series can be too long, although it took seven books before I decided I’d had enough of the Wheel of Time (Robert Jordan.) I like three book series, then I’m ready for something different. Wait a minute, I can’t quite say that, but I read Robyn Carr voraciously. But her romances are all stand-alones and I can pick up any one of them and be right back in that world. I absolutely do not like padding for word count. Which is a problem for me right now, because the final book in the series I’m writing at the moment is 20,000 less that I wanted it to be. Uh oh. So I’m sending it to critique asking for ideas for expansion and extra scenes. If I can eat up half that 20,000 with scenes that make a difference in the story, I’ll call it good. (And welcome back! I’m glad surgery went well!)
    Oh. one more thing. No cliff-hangers for me. That’s why I only read book one of Fifty Shades. When I write a series, there’s an over-arcing plot, but each book has an arc that comes to a conclusion.

    • I am with you on the over-arcing plot but no cliffhangers – eep on your third book being short, but if the tale is done, that’s how it happens- 🙂 hope you get some aid on ideas to make it longer but more plot.

  4. Missed you Jillian. So glad you’re getting back to feeling good with increased energy levels. I love series but only ones where each story is a stand alone. Like Laurie I read Robyn Carr and all of her series can be read out of sequence. That’s the reason I have never been into soap opera’s. Back when, we couldn’t tape them and I just never wanted to be left hanging.

  5. So pleased you are recovering, sorry to be late commenting. Do continue to pace yourself. I sometimes do “a binge read” of series which gives a continuity to books but some authors just rejig the plot loads of times. It has been good to read all your comments as writers as well as readers thank you.

  6. Glad you are better and back writing. We’ve missed you.
    I hate cliffhangers at the end of books as I think whether a series or not, each book should be complete and stand on its own. I almost feel it’s a cop out to right a cliffhanger to entice the reader to buy your next book. It has the opposite effect on me. And some series do go on – one author I know has written a series of 5 books about the same characters and frankly, after the second for me there was really nothing left to tell.

    • Thanks. Kit AND I am in total agreement with you. It’s a cop out and manipulative. If the story is good, I am going to want to buy the next one but I am with you, if they cliff-hang me, I’m out. 🙂 AND it’s true that some series need to stop way before they do.

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