I'm always up for a good series. I like them because if I'm really fond of a book, I don't want it to end! Since I writing Book III of the Nightshade Chronicles, I've been thinking a lot about series, and what makes one successful against another.
Recently, I read a five book middle-grade series that started off great. The first and second books were really entertaining, and the third book was pretty good, though I did skim some with that one. By the fourth book, the writing felt completely different--and not in a good way. The author seemed genuinely bored with the plot, and the writing was rambling and clunky, not to mention the book was over 500 pages long (and no, it was not a Harry Potter book, I just like silly cat pictures). The storyline actually felt like it was copied from the earlier books, just with different characters and settings, even the action sequences reeked of past scenes I already read. It was a real disappointment, at least to me, though I'm sure others loved it.
When I wrote the sequel to my debut, my editor flat out told me the book had to be super special, perhaps whatever made the first book work had to happen on an even bigger scale. Now that doesn't mean lots of explosions or anything, it just means book II really had to bowl the readers over. That was kind of a light bulb moment for me. Readers want what they read in the first book, but they don't just want a continuation; the book needs to be extraordinary on its own. I think if you're going to write a series, each book needs to be standalone great! Characters need to evolve, as does the story...not just continue.
What is your take on writing an amazing sequel or series? What are some series you've read that were in your opinion successful from the first book to the last? Without naming names, what were some mistakes you think some authors have made in series of theirs that you've read?
Thanks for reading!
Thanks for reading!