Knowing When to Say No More!

Happy Friday everyone. Please be sure to visit me over at the Scribes today where I explain why – I’m an Incubator.

I don’t have much to say today. My mind is otherwise occupied with Mystic Storm (check out my post yesterday – Lucky Seven for quick glimpse). But working on a sequel has me thinking about when an author decides to end a series. Or at least move onto something else with the promise of another book in that universe down the road.

I’ll admit it, writing another book in the same world as Mystic Ink is not easy for me. It’s not because I don’t love the setting or the characters, but a tiny voice in my head knows that after Zephyr’s and Devlin’s book, I don’t see any more in the future.  That doesn’t mean there never will be anymore, it just means I have other stories to tell.

I might be better suited to writing standalone books (like Kristan Higgins), but in the paranormal romance universe that usually doesn’t happen. I can tick off a list of authors whose books are in the teens now or close to it. Some of them, I have long since stopped reading. They all started to sound the same after a while or the characters never seem to move on (or if they do it’s in a negative direction.)

One author I totally admire (and she was the impetus for this post) is Gail Carriger. Her latest release – Timeless –  is book 5 in her Parasol Protectorate series. It is also the last book.

As a fan, I should be crying.

But I’m not.

The books have all been fabulous adventures. Yet, I’m relieved that she stopped the series at a high point. (I’m not going to review her book. Instead, I invite you to visit Penelope’s Romance Reviews for her take.)

In my opinion, too many series have run into the ground with characters or plots that should have given it a rest a long time ago. I’m not going to pick on specific authors or series, but I’m sure everyone has at least one or two they can think of that fit this description.

Gail has another series coming out (The Finishing School Series) and I’m looking forward to it. I admire that she is working on something else and is not being “typecast” into one kind of book. I don’t know the reasons behind the decision (that it was hers or the publisher’s), but I applaud it.

Thank you, Gail! (and if its not too much to ask – I hope someday we get to see more of Lord Akeldama!)

What say you? Do you like never-ending series by your favorite author? Or would you rather they wrapped it up?

16 thoughts on “Knowing When to Say No More!

  1. I’d be curious now many of those authors who run their series into the ground still feel as passionate about the last book as they did the first. It is probably difficult for an author with a publisher who wants to pay for more to say “no.” But I personally think if an author no longer feels the love, if you will, he or she should try to find a new story line. Then convince the publisher to take it 🙂 Easy for me to say, huh?

    1. I’d like to know too if they still feel the passion, or just the pressure to produce. I think, as a reader, you can tell when a writer is just going through the motions. It kinds of makes me sad! And I’m sure if there is a big payday involved it’s hard to walk away.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly. I think four or five books in a series is plenty. It’s unfortunate that publishers are in a position to “push” authors to write more when the series should clearly be concluded. Having said that, I’m still looking forward to reading Diana Gabaldon’s eighth brick…I mean book, in the OUTLANDER series. She’s one of the few that has created complex enough characters and plots to keep me interested.

    1. So true! I think it depends on the series and the complexity. I enjoyed Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth books right to the end. Where I see stories being run into the ground most often is in romance and mystery/suspense, where the characters are going through the motions (or the formula – wash, rinse, repeat).

  3. I’ve seen series that definitely “jumped the shark” after four or five books, but there are others that I will never tire of, like THE DRESDEN FILES or James Lee Burke’s Dave Robichaux series. Burke is getting up there in age, and I hope he’s taking his vitamins because he’s going to have to keep writing until he’s 135 or so to satisfy me.

    Oh the other hand, I am turning in the fourth book in my Mercy series in a few days, and have to produce a proposal for the fifth and final book by then end of April. While I love these characters, I am looking forward to new characters, places, and situations.

    1. I’m happy that Harry still remains fresh! Though I was a little worried when they kept moving back the release date of his book last year. I know it really stinks when an author dies with unfinished work (Robert Jordan comes to mind).

      Best of luck with the new Mercy book! And you know there are bunch of us waiting to get our hands on The Cougar Club!

  4. I think sometimes an author gets so tied up in a series they don’t see that maybe it is time to say stop. I think 4 and 5 books is a lot for a series…..

    1. Hi Savannah! I think the amount depends on the series. If they don’t remain fresh and interesting, I bail. Life is too short to slog through books that aren’t good reads!

  5. I’ve read too many series where, the farther into the series, the more trite they are. The books aren’t new and fresh. Even set in the same universe, written by the same author, there should be that feel that this book is not the same, that there’s something new to be found inside those pages.

    For instance, I read one book–part of a multiple-book series–and I remember saying to the hub, “I think this is a transition book. Maybe it’s winding down.” It was supposed to be a stand alone, but it didn’t feel like one. It felt tired. The characters felt like more of the same, and I got the sense the author wasn’t that into the story. And if the author’s not, why should I be?

    Though the premise of the next book sounds interesting, I just can’t bring myself to buy it. 😦

    1. I have a bunch of series I dropped for exactly the reason you just listed. I don’t even bother putting them hold at the library anymore. There have been a few series (Harry Dresden comes to mind!) where I picked up a book in the middle (my first Harry was book 8!) and was still able to follow along. To me, those are the best books because then I can go back and catch up and I’ve discovered some new world to enjoy!

    1. No, indeed it does not. There should be some kind of pact among us writers – “writers don’t let other writers run their series into the ground.”

  6. Wow Casey, I am sooooo with you. I’ve begun reading some series and loved them, but by the 4th, 5th, or 6th book, you know the author has run out of steam and ideas and you lose all interest in the series – it’s gone on way too long! I think 3-4 books is perfect.
    I know what you mean about Mystic Ink. I get the same requests to write a sequel to Captured. I have to be honest, I don’t think I can write anything that will stand up the the original story and I don’t want to take away from Mari and Ekkatt. Sounds crazy, huh, but I totally understand how you feel.

    1. No, it sounds completely sane! There is nothing wrong with one great story or movie Remember that horrid Gone with the Wind sequel- Scarlett? Or the second Godfather book? And I was so grateful there was never another ET! (thank you Mr. Spielberg).

  7. I think series work better with Romances because most of them can stand alone and the focus is on two totally different characters. I have read all of Mary Balogh’s Slightly series and all 8 of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton books. The only non romance series I really got behind was Harry Potter.

    1. I think it depends on the romance genre. I read a lot of paranormal and there are quite a few should have stopped a long time ago (in my opinion anyway!).

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