I tend to be one of those people who will read an entire series of books, from first to last. Right now there are lots of serials about, usually crime, running into 20 or 30 books.
The problem with a long running series is that it can get very stale, and I have given up on one or two series. I open the book and know what is going to be said and what is going to happen and what everyone thinks and believes and I just can’t face it any more.
So how to avoid it? The series I’m reading at thr moment is very long running, but I’m not bored yet. The main character reveals a little about himself in each book, he’s always in a different place, with different people and some very different problems. There are some long running characters, but they don’t appear in every book. And the books jump back and forth in the character’s time line, so there always some foreshadowing, or a gap in the history filled in.
In another of my favourite series, the characters have been allowed to change, and grow (and, rather cleverly I though, interact with characters from another series) and develop. And, as with real people, they change as they grow older.
Often the reason I keep reading a series – and will be sure to read it in order – is the relationship between characters. I want to see how that develops and grows. More than once I’ve found myself desperate to read the next series not because the plots are so good, but because I want to see what happens next to the characters, after she said that to him, for example.
I think the trick with a series is to never be the same. Keep the essential characters, but allow them to change as time goes by. Vary the plots and motives. Vary the places. Always find new information to impart.
There’s one other one. Instead of treating it like a series, treat it like one massive book with an ongoing storyline. It heads towards a final book and a final ending (this is what I’ve done – my series will only be five books long and no more)
Either way, the joy with a series is that I want to keep going reading it. If I don’t like one book, I’ll probably like the next. And anyway, I want to see what happens next. And there’s a great sense of achievement in finishing a series!
Sent from my iPad