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The Never Ending Story or Series…how long is too long? #serieswriting #writing

So according to my “official” poll about what may entertain you, my astoundingly intelligent readers, you indicated you were okay with writer rants. Strangely enough, I have one for you.

Perhaps it’s not a rant, per se, more a wondering question.

At what point does a series go too long? Is it book 94? 5? 23? Or when the main character has done it all/seen it all/fought it all/been there and back?

I prefer fictional series…yep, in case you couldn’t figure that out from the fact that I tend to write in the same way (Kyn Kronicles, PSY-IV Teams, you get the idea).  

I’m going to hit this topic up from two viewpoints, first being as a reader. 
Can a series be too long?

Answer 1: Reader Jami

YES! I have read a large number (okay so almost every damn book on my shelf is part of some series) of series, and without a doubt there are a handful that should’ve stopped by now. However, some are still stumbling on, while others tease me with a possible sighting of an end. 

So when considering these series I adore, I started counting titles. Here’s my not so brainiac conclusion:  If a series goes beyond book 10 on the same story arc (meaning the main problem is still there), then I get emotionally tired of dealing with and walk away. Not to say a series can’t go that long. There are some that do a great job doing so (specifically thinking Nalini Singh’s PSY/CHANGELING series). Yet, there is a difference–the main story problem, changes. It keeps things exciting and new. If your main problem remains the same, man, seriously, therapy might be an option.

Answer 2: Writer Jami

Honestly, I could expand within my world to the nth degree if I wanted.  I’ve got some awesome secondary characters whose stories could be well worth pursuing. I have plot twists and story arcs that might end up rivaling As The World Turns, but I don’t think it’s wise or fair to my readers to drag them all through it, so for me, personally (not all writers, I would never dare speak for them), yes, a series can go too long. However, your job as a writer is to make sure that doesn’t happen.

As I’m finishing up the fourth book in the Kyn Kronicles (Shadow’s Curse), I’ve started to realize where a natural end to this particular story arc will fall–book 6. Unless of course there is this huge uprising in the reading world and demands (difficult, heart pounding, and awesome demands) are made, I will probably stop with the Kyn at that point. 

Not forever, but for awhile. 

I hear the question trembling on your quivering lips now…but, Why?

Because, as much as I love Raine and company, there are other worlds/characters/stories I need to get out before my brain explodes. Unfortunately, that means at my current rate of managing two full length books a year, I need to pace myself accordingly.

Because peeps, I have PLANS, I tell you, PLANS!

(coughing and brushing self off)

So, my question to you all, be you writer or reader or both, at what point do you feel a series goes that one step too far? Come on, I don’t bite (much) and I really am curious as to everyone’s opinion.

(Oh hey, stop by next week because the astoundingly wondering Cynthia Eden is stopping by! *clapping hands* Can Not Wait!)

Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. There is certainly a lot to learn about this subject.
    I really like all the points you have made.


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