Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ending a series, and newsletter reminder

I'm the Affiliate of the Month over at my favorite bookstore, Mysterious Galaxy, which means I wrote a guest blog post connected to my new release, The Reawakened. "When 'The End' means THE END" discusses what it feels like to end a series on purpose (hint: there are smiles involved) and when an author knows it's time to say goodbye.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on when a series should end. If you don't have a MySpace account, feel free to discuss it here. I've copied the questions from that blog post here:

Is the "stand-alone trilogy" a thing of the past? Are you more likely to start reading a series if you know when it will end? Do you have different expectations for open-ended series versus those with a defined story arc? Does it depend on the genre or subgenre?


Monday I'll be sending out the Fall issue of my quarterly newsletter. As always, I'll draw two names to win a prize just before it goes out and announce it in the issue. This issue's prize will be an autographed copy of The Reawakened.

And that's not all! Newsletter subscribers will get a link to my new short story, "When the Music's Over," which depicts the weird and wild way Jim from Wicked Game became a vampire. I swear, I was not on drugs when I wrote it, except Aleve and Tylenol. The rest of the world will have to wait an extra week to read the story.

If you haven't read the previous tie-in short stories, here they are: "Crossroads" (Monroe) and "Rave On" (Spencer).

To subscribe, just put your e-mail address in the SIGN UP FOR JERI'S NEWSLETTER box on the sidebar over there. I'm getting really close to 1,000 subscribers, and I think there might be a special prize for #1,000. Good luck!

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I read your interview post. My mom read the Aspect of Crow trilogy over the last several days and she used Jean M. Auel as a comparison! I've not read the Clan of the Cave Bear series, but I think I might have to now :).

I would much rather read trilogies, knowing they end. As you said with the story arc having a beginning middle and end, it's nice to know that it will end. And you ended yours perfectly. I agree that the characters from Aspect of Crow should be left to their HEA. They did go through alot and deserve some peace. As much as I would love to read more in the world, but to do it just to do it because the reader wants more reminds me of the old scary movies...why couldn't they just stop with the first one, you know?? Not that I think I would find that thinking with another Aspect of Crow book, but I love the way it ended. Left me extremely satisfied with all three books!!

Posted by: Blogger Amy C at 11/14/2008 6:55 AM

I wouldn't have minded open ended series so much when I was younger and not in the middle of so many of them. Now that I'm mid-series for about 50 or so authors, I think to myself BLESS YOU, when I realize a series is only 3 books. It's really getting to be too much to follow so many open ended series, and I've already dropped some because I can't keep my interest up for so many books. Three is fantastic. If the author wants to keep a world going, switching to another point of view within the world and having them have their own trilogy or standalone is I think a nice alternative to a long series.

Posted by: Blogger Janicu at 11/14/2008 9:57 AM

Amy: I LOVED the first book in the Auel series, but I had trouble getting into the second one. I was a lot younger, though, and I remember the sex scenes turned me off. They were a lot less subtle in Book 2 than Book 1, and when you're 13, that can be kinda yuck. ;-)

I'm glad you found the end of AoC satisfying! I'm really happy with it. The only way I would consider continuing the series would be:

A) continue the story but focus completely on Ilios and their impending civil war


B) do a series of prequels, basically taking place mid-21st century when the Collapse and first Reawakening began. It would start with "The Wild's Call" short story and go from there, showing how people first formed the civilization.

Alternately, I could take the concept and set some novels in present day, with people first getting the animal spirit powers.

Janicu: I think that's a good strategy, too, changing POVs. Maria Snyder is doing that with hers--she had three "Study" books with Yelena, and now will have three (I think) "Glass" books with a new character in that same world. I'm really looking forward to Storm Glass in '09!

Thanks for your comments!

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 11/14/2008 10:20 AM

I *hate* open-ended series. Because I can't keep up. I have only finite reading time. I can't invest in characters knowing I will probably never be able to read all their books. Also, I've yet to hear of a long-run series that doesn't do those things you mention in the article.

I'm sure there are exceptions but not having read many open-ended series for reasons already stated, I can't say.

Lynn Viehl decided to end her open-ended series at book seven for the reasons you mentioned. I like that.

But I love trilogies because you know up front what you're getting, but you don't have to leave beloved characters after just one story.

That's one reason why I love Luna books - they seem to delight in publishing trilogies. (Frex, Catie Murphy has the Walker Papers series, which has three books. She now is writing a second trilogy - but it's defined as that, not open-ended. I appreciate that.)

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 11/14/2008 10:54 AM

Jess: I'm the same way--I mostly read stand-alones or closed-arc series (and glom them all in one mad dash--love getting totally immersed in a series beginning to end in a short period of time!).

The exceptions are series where I enjoy the characters so much that I just want to spend more time with them and see what they're up to next--these tend to be the more humorous ones, like MaryJanice Davidson's Betsy Taylor books.

That's sort of what I'm driving at with my vampire series--making fun characters that people want to hang out with again and again. But I'm knocking around the idea of ending it after five books, because that's what feels right for the story (at least, the story as it's in my head right now ;-).

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 11/14/2008 11:39 AM

I have been meaning to read The Wilds Call! I did start it and I really need to finish it. From what I did read of it, I think if you were to start another trilogy set in that time, that would be wonderful. But I think having it set in Ilios and the impending Civil War would be even better. Because it would feel closer to the first trilogy even if it doesn't have the same characters, does that make sense? But then again a trilogy that comes before would great too.

You know what...just do them both!! That's a grand idea!! I'm game. Heck yeah!! You write it, I'll read it.

Posted by: Blogger Amy C at 11/14/2008 3:34 PM

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