Friday, May 09, 2008

When do you give up on a series?

Two series I was completely addicted to – the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, and the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton. By series, I mean books with the same lead protagonists.

One is a sort of humorous contemporary with strong romantic elements and the other is a dark, violent, paranormal with strong romantic elements.
The elements these two series had in common were they were fast paced, and had amazing sexual chemistry, and funny enough, two strong male protagonists that the heroine had to choose between.

And, to me, they both went off the rails. For me, with the Stephanie Plum series, it was book eight, and for the Anita Blake series, book eleven. And both authors have released more in the series since, which have become bestsellers, so the general public disagrees with me. Hell, I have a good friend, who is still addicted.

But I felt with the Plum series the books just got repetitive and the Blake series, went in a direction I just didn’t buy. But to give Laurell K. Hamilton her due, at least she tried to move the characterization forward.

And hey, if a publisher was throwing buckets of money at me, I’m not sure I wouldn’t continue to write a series, even if I had run out of ideas.

For me, I’ll always compare each book to the best in the series, which means all the books that come after are disappointing to me.

Sucky for the author, but there you have it.

Otherwise I’m looking for inspiration. Wasn’t thrilled with the last episode of Battlestar and nothing else on TV right now has really hooked me in. And yes, Molly, I know I should be watching Lost again.


M. said...

The series that sort of became dimmer with time for me is the Amelia Peabody series of historical suspense set in Egypt. I still read them, but they don't seem to give nearly as much satisfaction as the early books.

And the series that still floats my boat like at the beginning is the Falco series of historical suspense set in Rome.

Molly O'Keefe said...

Oh, I loved that Amelia Peabody series at the beginning, but it lost me pretty fast and I have heard amazing things about Falco.

I think it is incredibly hard to sustain a series based on character - J.D. Robb manages to get it done - though I've never read them. It's got to be a hard decision when fans love them so much and there is a huge wad of cash being thrown your way---man, I'd hate to have those problems....

Anonymous said...

I'm so out of the loop, what is this Falco series... I love historical suspense.

K J Gillenwater said...

Personally, I would stop writing the minute the ideas became hard. No amount of money would convince me to write a book in which I no longer had any enthusiasm. It would be torture.

Also, whatever happened to going out on top? Ending when interest and demand is high? I suppose if there are still great sales, maybe these authors aren't even aware that the quality of their work has gone down? Living in a bubble of yes men who make money off of you, so you just don't realize?

I haven't read either series...I've also heard the same complaints about Diana Gabaldon. Another one I haven't read.

The sad thing is that these writers have such huge fans that I would bet they'd still sell just as many books with a new series or new book. Just because the fan base is there to support it.

Maureen McGowan said...

The only continuing characters series I've ever read a bunch of I think.. Were the Anne Rice vampire books. I gobbled up the first 3 or 4 and those, too, got dull for me.

But while one hopes to never bore or disappoint readers... Another part of me thinks this is my dream. To write a strong enough series that captures readers so strongly they start to take ownership and have opinions about where I've gone right and wrong. The pitfall of the series, i think.

And Lost is awesome this season, Sinead, awesome. They're f8cking with time again and this time going forward (and back) and it' so captivating. Haven't seen this week's BSG yet.

Anonymous said...

I lose interest in my characters as soon as I finish the book, and am eager to move on to new ones, so I can't imagine trying to write them over and over again.

But when done well, it can be fascinating.

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