Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ending a Series?

I have this photo, framed, on my writing desk!
OK, right off the bat we all know I have yet to write a standard series, let alone had to deal with the cancellation of anything! So I decided to answer this from the standpoint of a Reader, since I'm also one of those.

I LOVE discovering a new-to-me series. I had great pleasure when I started to read Nalini Singh, for example, with her various series, but especially the Psy Changelings which already had quite a few volumes when I found them. The fact that she then started the Guild Hunter series was icing on the already rich cake. Lora Leigh's Breeds were another series I arrived at when there were many books, which I hunted down so I could read every one.

It never even occurred to me that if I fell in love with a series, there might not be a resolution or a permanent HEA at the last volume.

The Dragonriders of Pern was another series that came to a wonderful conclusion and frankly as a reader, I was ready not to have any more, especially not more that were written by relatives. Biting my tongue about that.

These days I'm very cautious about starting a new series not so much that I've been "burned" myself by investing in something great and then never reading any more. But now I know how lucky I was with my early series-love. I've talked to enough authors who started a series, only to have the publisher pull the plug in the middle, around volume three, because the sales were lagging, never mind that core group of rabid fans. I've seen contracts where an author may not be entitled to the use of his or her own name, much less the characters and world they built, even if they desperately want to write more books in the series and self publish or go to another publisher. I've read enough reviews on Amazon how wonderful Book XYZ was but it ended in a cliffhanger (not even a Happy For Now but a genuine cliffhanger) and as yet there's no sequel on the horizon. Um no thanks. I'll wait over here.

When I was a little kid, the local TV station ran the old 1930's Flash Gordon movie serial episodes five days a week and I was too young to realize how broadly acted (nearly said hokey but definitely from another time in Hollywood LOL) they were, or that they were decades older than me...I just knew it was forever from Friday afternoon till Monday afternoon to find out how Flash and Dale and Dr. Zarkov were going to escape certain death at the hands of Ming. I don't wait well. Not full of patience. But at least I knew there would be that happy ending. I wasn't waiting in vain.

Until the station pulled the stupid kids' show that the Flash Gordon serial was shown as a feature with and I never got to see how they all survived on Planet Mongo. I.....was.....traumatized. For years. I've seen it now and I'm ok, thanks! Flash lives and he kisses Dale.

So where was I going with this?Oh yes, I don't invest my emotions in a new series unless I'm really sure there will be more books coming, or if each volume is standalone HEA. I don't mind the bigger plot arc being left open as long as the characters I care about get their HEA or pretty darn good HFN.

When I do tackle writing a series, hopefully in 2015, each book will have at least an HFN and the entire series will come to a satisfying ending. Not a spoiler, just the truth! you can quote me.

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