Friday, May 23, 2008

Should it end?

I read a lot of series in several genres, and many have hit double digits in number of books. I love series--particularly ones with the same main character in each book--because every time I pick one up it's like seeing old friends again. That said, I'm starting to wonder if series should end at a point.

Several of the series I read today, I first picked up when I was a teenager. Over the years, some have changed drastically, some not so much. Both these extremes have their own issues. The series that change drastically tend to push character growth and as the character reaches a peek, something new has to level them back out (lets not talk about paranormal sides where the MC ends up godlike because s/he keeps gaining new powers each book.) The series that don't change much, have much less character growth, and you can usually pick up the later ones in any order and and only miss some minor references. The middle ground is a little fuzzy and harder to find as each new book in a series comes out, in my personal opinion.

Of course, there is always a demand for the next book in a series. People like seeing the next adventure of their favorite characters. (And publishers love the reader loyalty) Harry Potter had a clear end, but people are still begging for a new book (to use one of the more famous examples.) So what do you think? When a writer starts a series, should she hope it gets picked up as a never ending series, or would you prefer her to have at least a vague idea of a series ending? Something she lays tiny stings down for throughout so it all ties up in the last book.


purpleprose 78 said...

I like knowing that it is going to end at some point. I want to see the characters win against "the ultimate evil." That being said....I have no objection to revisiting the characters in the same world. They just need to be minor characters in a future story.

Darlene C. Goodman said...

As a writer, I think it would be insane to have a never-ending series. I'd want to write an end and start something new. As a reader, I'd probably say the same thing. A good ending to a series gives me a bitter-sweet feeling, and I think I'd eventually get tired of something that doesn't end.