Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Discovery of Series

Having just returned to some serious fiction reading in the past few months, I must confess that I am liking the series of novels that are now available in a variety of genres and which make it possible to explore characters and contexts to a far greater degree than was done before. I have been wracking my mind and for the life of me I cannot remember that such a writing phenomenon was true in former years -- I am talking about lots of years ago. Decades ago when I first began reading Harlequins and similar fiction, it just wasn't possible to find your favorite characters living on in multiple situations and settings. Now the current crop of writers are focused very heavily on doing so. I have to say that I like that.

There are some books that, when I come to the end, I am really disappointed that they do not go on. Even some fiction with it's boundaries in the historical aspects of the stories are often disappointing in this way. I know that there is one book that I have re-read for over 50 years and every time I come to the end I am wanting to know more about the main characters and what happened to them and to their families. Reading a series can be very fulfilling in that way.

However, writing a series can also be a real challenge for an author. Such a writing task requires great application to detail, a very good memory, good editing, and a consistency in the story-telling. All of us have read the first or second books in a series and have been disappointed by subsequent novels. It seems that some authors just find this difficult to do well. Perhaps that is why some of us have our favorites: these authors have met the challenge and some of them have done so multiple times. I am currently posting reviews for the Malloy Family series from Beth Williamson. I think she has done very well in this series of stories and am hoping to read more of her work. Perhaps you can comment on series which have, in your opinion, have or have not met the challenges. Until next time . . .

1 comment:

Tracy said...

I completely agree. Sometimes there's a stand alone book and I'm wondering about secondary characters, etc. but they are just never meant to get their own book. They will forever live in secondary character land.

Then of course there are the series that go on and on and you'd just wish they'd stop so you can stop reading cuz you just can't pull youfself away! lol