Monday, June 16, 2014

It's All In A Series: What Makes A Book A Great Series

         Have you ever wondered what makes a book end up a series? Is it the characters or plot? That's kind

of like asking, "What came first, the chicken or the egg?"

         I can only say that for myself, to have a great series launch from a single book-it has to be a great marriage of character(s) and plot. When I wrote my first two books I knew from the start of the first one that it was a book I wanted to expand on, not only because of the characters I had given birth to but because of the stories that came from them. Cursed Awakening  was not initually going to be a series until I was actually writing the last chapter. I really was hit with the idea or ideas rather that these characters couldn't have everything told in a single novel. However every author is different though. Some absolutely refuse to entertain sequels and maybe Hollywood is to blame for that, who knows. Authors, what is the deciding factor for you when it comes to whether or not  your story has a sequel? Readers-what do you look for in a great book series?

            Still though what makes for a great series? That is the question, isn't it? How does an author write book and decide to continue on with the characters, the continuation of the story, or decides to create a whole world? I think about J K Rowling, who has written the famous Harry Potter Books and how she began with a love of  magic and this story that began to form inside her head and it took on a life of its own. Sherrilyn Kenyon has done the same with her Dark Hunters, The League, and Chronicles of Nick as has authors like Christine Feehan, Lyndsay Sands, J R Ward, Gena Showalter, Kerrilyn Sparks, and countless others in the Paranormal Romance genre alone. Each of their series either revolves around a character or world. So does that answer the question? Not really because every series has their own niche I think.

           For some writers, they write a book and decide for one solitary character or even trio of characters that the story isn't done such as Charlaine Harris did with her Sookie Stackhouse books and much like Karen Marie Moning's Fever and Dani O'Malley books. They kept the stories of their main characters going. When I wrote my first novel, which is currently in the works for republication, I knew after the first five chapters that I would not be done with just my main characters. I wanted to write all of them in stories. Cursed Awakening I didn't think I would make into a series until I re-read it after it was published by XoXo Publishing and then republished through Evolutionary Publishing, that I wanted to continue on with the Wahpeton clan. Have you ever read a series that failed?

          Some books, and they are very few that I have come across and I won't name any names but I just didn't feel like they were series or should have been made into a series just because the books themselves couldn't relate to the other books. It's like a movie-the first one is great and then it gets mucked up with sequels and prequels. Rarely is a sequel as good or better than the original movie. For me, a series doesn't have to be like Moning's Fever series or even Kenyon's Dark Hunters but the books should at least have some sort of relationship to each other. Larissa Ione, Kresley Cole, and Laura Adrian all have series that fit together and when you read each book you know exactly where you left off. However some books can all have a vampire main character but that's about it-they fall flat because they are so different that after you read one you're reading the next thinking, "Who are these people and what is the story here and what happened after I finished the last chapter of the last book I read?" I don't like to feel that way, do you?

            So what do you look for in a series? Do you mind if each book is just different or do you like books that follow at least some pattern? I consider myself an open mind when it comes to books, especially my genre, but I like to stay on the adventure instead of stopping in one place and having to start in another and not know how I got there. I don't like being confused. One of my favorite things about reading series is the characters that we all end up falling in love with and get curious about getting their story told and it flows with the rest of the books. I mean it's cool if Batman doesn't always hang out in Gotham but if you start out reading Batman's story you don't want to go from him to some Mr. Grey who lives in Seattle that has nothing to do with Batman's world even though it has Batman's title to it. Have I confused you yet? I think I might have confused myself. Just hang in there, I am sure once you re read this blog post you'll see where I am going here.

           So what makes a series? You tell me since I have already given you my idea and writers, what makes you want to write a series? What combination of characters, storyline, or combination of the two does it for you? C'mon, let me hear what's rattling around in your head.

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