Sunday, March 04, 2007

Writing in Series

I am so tired of this green blog, its driving me nuts. But I really don't have time to change it. If I have time to change it, then I have time to do a million other things, so I keep that in mind when I'm tempted to open up the ol' html and start playing around.

Writing time is precious right now. Baseball season has started and we have two games a week plus a practice. My remodel is supposed to start in a week. I have not begun to pack up my stuff yet. I really wanted a concrete date before I went to work. We are in the peak of the cookie season right now and much of my time is being taken up by cookie business.

Of course, now my urge to write has emerged and is demanding my attention.

So I'm working on a new WIP and I'm pleased so far. But with the genre I write in, I have to keep in mind the idea that it will become a series. Series dominate the urban fantasy market so I have to make sure I have a protagonist which can grow through multiple books. Some authors are very good at this and we watch as their heroine/hero develops over the course of a series. Others aren't quite so good.
I think there is a temptation for an author to try and one-up themselves in a series. Rather than letting the changes in their protagonist be progressive, they jump ahead and add something fantastical. It might be flashy, but it short-changes the character and therefore the reader. What keeps a series alive is a reader's interest in the characters. Sometimes a writer drags it out too long. How many series have the heroine torn between lovers? How long can that conflict last before the reader finally gets bored? For me, a few books and that's it. When you get into double digits, I'm done.

It isn't easy and I'm not sure how some of these writers can do it after 9 or 10 books. I really don't think I could, but I'd certainly love the opportunity to try :)

I look at it like a ladder. My heroine starts out on the bottom and in order to move up, she has to make a change in her character or something has to affect her to a degree she feels it deeply and changes because of it. By the end of the book, she's made her change and moves up, but there is another ladder rung up ahead and the process starts over. For me, when there is a logical end to the ladder is the time to end the series.

Hopefully I will be a wise enough writer to see the end before it becomes rote and I'm the topic of hate blog posts.

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