This little piggy went wee-wee-wee, all the way to the bookstore
by Jessa Slade on July 20th, 2009

Currently working on: Sleep
Mood: Exhausted

Having just returned from the Romance Writers of American national conference in Washington DC, I have nothing to say.  I won’t have anything to say for several days while I refill the well of words emptied from me in a week of talking, talking, talking writing with friends and colleagues.

And yet I find myself able to write a few words :)  The topic here at Silk And Shadows this week is reading and writing series.  Despite the fact I am writing what I hope will be a series, I’m torn about whether I truly like series.  No, that’s not true, I LOVE a good series.  I just finished Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson books and am fidgeting for the next one.  But it’s hard to do a series well.  As a reader, here’s why I shy away from some series:

1. The author dies.
Or sells the series to a lesser writer.  Obviously, the first one isn’t the author’s fault (probably) and the storyworld shouldn’t have to die just because its creator did.  But so often something of my enjoyment is lost along with the voice of the original writer.

2. I’m already too far behind.
I loved Star Trek fiction as a kid, but I didn’t have time for it in high school and college.  By the time I came back to it, entire universes had changed.  The canon had grown so large and diverse, I was hopelessly intimidated.

3. I have a mind less like a steel trap and more like a rusty sieve.
Even when I love a series, if somebody does pull my head out from under a rock and then smack me lightly on both cheeks a few times to bring me around, I often forget that I’m supposed to be waiting for book next.  Honestly, this is one of my favorite things about social networking like Facebook and Twitter; I can finally stay current with my favorite authors! 

Oh, but a well-done series with enough books to immerse me for days…  That is a thing of wonder.   My next trick is trying to write one…  Here’s what I will be attempting:

1. Tie every book to the overarching storyline.
Because that’s so simple.

2. Make every book strong enough to stand alone.
Oh, is that all?

3. Deliver a knock-out punch at the end of every book and keep ‘em coming back for more.
But of course.

I’ll check back in five years and let you know how I did.

Do you seek out new series, or do you shy away?  If you shied away — without bashing anyone — what scared you off?  If you download countdown clock widgets from your favorite author to remind yourself when her next book is out, what draws you to a series?

7 comments to “This little piggy went wee-wee-wee, all the way to the bookstore”

  1. 1

    I love a good series, too! What draws me to a series? Quite often it’s an accident. I’ll pick up book 2 or 3 without knowing it’s part of a series and then, if I get hooked, I have to go buy books 1 and 2 (and keep reading if there are more). Truthfully, I will usually only start a new series if I already know the author. That’s one reason I like anthologies so much. It gives me a chance to read a new (to me) author before diving into their series. However, once I like an author I’m really loyal and will read pretty much anything they write, whether it’s a series, stand-alone, short story, whatever. Being able to follow authors on blogs has been wonderful. You get to read stuff in between books! What a great time we’re living in :smile:

  2. 2

    I love series books. I have no idea why. :???: I don’t always read every book in the series, though, because my TBR pile is crazy-huge. Thankfully, most authors write ’standalone stories’ inside their series and I don’t get too lost.

  3. 3

    I can’t say I’ve ever done a countdown widget, but I do sometimes write the release date in my calendar!

  4. 4

    Zita, I like anthologies for the same tease factor. It’s always great to discover that somebody who hooked me with a short story has a huge backlist for me to snatch up. It feels like striking gold.

  5. 5

    I’ve just turned a friend onto reading a lot of ‘my’ books. She found the Twilight series on her own and I told her ‘if you like those, you’ll love these.’

    She does, but she’s irritated about something that never happened to me. She GLOMS books and so a few series (not set trilogies, etc.) that are still continuing, drive her crazy. She wants to know what is happening right now and she’s mad at the author for making her wait so long between books.

    As for the Sookie Stackhouse books that have no forseeable end in sight? Well, let’s just say my friend’s head almost exploded when she found out ‘what I’d done to her.’

  6. 6

    I have heard SO MANY good things about the Patricia Briggs series!

    Okay, if nothing else, this week’s topic has convinced me I need to try a good SERIES!

    Oh, darn. That means I need to go book shopping. :smile:

  7. 7

    I got bitten by Sookie Stackhouse about a year ago and have every one of the books … and can’t wait for the next.

    I’ve read all the Twilight books and most of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books as well as Sue Grafton’s alphabet series.

    That being said, I love, love, love, Anne George’s Southern Sister’s mystery series. And when she died [Anne, not the character(s)] I cried alot!

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