End the Series

(Yeah yeah yeah, I know what I said, but you can blame the smart people at Dear Author for it)

Why not? Why even start one in the first place?

Okay, I’m in the minority here. Every writer I know likes series–can I just add here that I don’t know why some of my fellow unpubs bother to write the second book in the series before selling the first one?

Back to the topic. Jane at Dear Author talks about the NeverEnding Story:

I get frustrated at the end of book one when nothing is finalized. We await closure or become so disinterested that we provide our own closure. I found after reading Magic Study by Maria Snyder that I have no desire to buy the final entry in the “study” series in hardcover. I’ll probably wait for the paperback or get it from the library. Too many questions are left unanswered which actually makes me more disinterested than anticipatory.

A book, whether a part of a series or not, has to have a beginning, a middle and an ending. And no, saying The End on the last page is not an ending.

I believe it is the author’s prerogative to do so if they so wish, but if I know it’s going to be a series, I automatically invest less in the book. That’s definitely not something any author wants.

Leaving a book open-ended doesn’t make me frustrated or eager for the next book if I didn’t like the first book. If I wanted to know that badly, yet didn’t really want to read the book, I know a lot of readers who read the same kind of books I do. I figure one of them will read it.

And it does make me wonder: Why? Are you so insecure that you leave it open-ended to make readers want the book?

I don’t write series, I don’t intend to and I don’t know to end a book that will make other people want to read the next one.

But there are authors who succeed. Nora Roberts, to name just one. Which means that other authors can to.

Sasha (thanks Jane for the link) brings up the issue of authors saying “You must buy Book 1 With No Ending of the Very Boring Series in the next 4 weeks or you won’t be getting Book 2 Still With No Ending.”

I don’t know what it says about my opinion of my fellow human beings, except that I expect it and don’t care.

3 Responses to “End the Series”

  1. December 4, 2006 at 7:25 pm

    What if there is a great ending the covers everything except one little subplot?


  2. December 4, 2006 at 7:49 pm

    That’s fine.

    I can live with minor subplots.

    But in some fantasy novels, that isn’t the case. If I love it enough, I’ll continue reading, but if I don’t, that it really annoys me.

    Take a romance. If the couple have a HEA, that’s the ending. In a mystery series, if the protag solves the mystery, that’s the ending.

    In a fantasy series, it’s rather more complex than that. An ending could be the protag finding the Magic Ring she/he is looking for, but if it leads to more questions, it is still ending. See what I’m trying to say?

  3. December 5, 2006 at 6:07 am

    What about when the current problem of the current book is solved but, um, several other niggling things may or may not be resolved, or started, or left hanging? Like I do?

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