Friday, December 24, 2010

Can you change your world once you've built it?

The answer has to be yes, but carefully, so very carefully. It's definitely a problem that rears its head during a lengthy series. I'm thinking the black brotherhood series, by Ward, or the Anita Blake series.

We should all have to deal with the problems of a ridiculously bestselling series, but I sort of understand the complications that would come with writing many books that all still read as unique.

To that end, Suzanne Collins ending the Hunger Games trilogy after three books was a really wise decision and one that probably had her publisher crying.

Because a world has to evolve to keep each book in a series different and interesting. But how do you evolve it in a way that keeps it consistent but changing and in a way that satisfies your readers.

I felt betrayed by the Anita Blake series when she made that strong, independant heroine, to my mind, a sex crazed weeping woman. I might be exagerrating, but the books became about the heroine's change into one of the creatures she used to hunt, and how she tried to keep her humanity, a really interesting preminse, but I didn't like the way she did it. It was an evolution I couldn't follow, but I understand why she had to do it.

I see the same potential problem with the Brotherhood series. What new is there to learn about the world? how does she evolve it in a satisfying way? I'm interested to learn about how she does it.

And at the same time, Ward is smart enough to start another, really interesting series.

Because sometimes the only way to deal with the problem is to end the series in a really satisfying way.

Have a very merry Christmas everyone.


Stephanie Doyle said...

Great post Sinead. I agree that keeping the world fresh and new is probably hard... but really I think it's about the stories in that world.

I'm not done with Ward's Brotherhood world. But I haven't been crazy about the last two "central" romance stories. It's because they fell apart that the books fell apart (for me any way). I had a huge problem with Xhex and John. There was so much there... but I never felt like it gelled. I never believed why they couldn't be together.

That said - I need to see what happens to Blay and Quinn so I know I'm going back.

That's the crazy thing about these worlds. There is always "something" to go back for.

Maureen McGowan said...

Sinead posted on Christmas Eve! Sorry I missed it. Great post.

I think it is really hard. It's kind of like TV shows where they're so fabulous for the first few seasons and then they either get redundant and repetitive, or change in strange ways that make them not so great anymore. It's a realy art to walk that line.

I still haven't got through the John and Xhex book, which is odd for me since I gobbled up all the previous books, including Rhevenge. I think there's a lot to be said for closed end series. But also a lot of pressure from publishers to keep them open if the books do well.

Will be interesting to see what Suzanne Collins does next. Does anyone know what she's doing?

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