02 January 2012
For both the reader and writer there are risks and rewards to series. I've read several. The ones I read with my kids we seemed to REREAD earlier ones when a new one was coming at least part of the time. And those books became friends—part of who we are as readers. Harry Potter in particular—any regular reader here knows that. But there were some other ones. I've also read series that I first met when the whole thing was written. This increased familiarity really made these books feel like a part of us.
But I think the publishing world causes some difficulties. For one, the commitment for an author to write a series is huge. And a series is far better if it is at least broadly planned from the start—one long coherent story. Harry Potter is a beautiful example, but even there, she had some things I think she would have changed had the later books been written before she published.
Publishers though, don't want to commit to all of it until they see if the early one works, yet if the early one works, they push for the rest at a PACE that is hard to keep up. And for a good reason... readers don't want to read a book and then wait for years for the next one. In fact that is largely what has inspired this—the waiting...
And if the author only writes them one at a time, they can so easily get written into a corner. The story can peter out.
Some books we DON'T read again for whatever reason. Were I not now in a place with a way too deep TBR pile, I probably would have reread the Eragon books... And I think I'd be more compelled in the one I'm reading.
I hear this happened with George RR Martin recently, though I have not gotten to his books on my list yet. But there was apparently a long wait, and then when it came out, not quite full continuity... as if he changed his mind along the way about what he wanted to write about.
I have written a trilogy, but I think that may be as long as I am capable for one cohesive story. Serial stand-alones are another matter, but a true series... I'm not sure I have a really long one in me.
I know that is a great meandery set of thoughts, but in terms of reading at the moment, it is sort of what I am thinking about...
Do you have series you love? Series that have disappointed you? Do you have goals of writing one at any point? How long?