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To Sequel or Not To Sequel…

By On Jun 21 2010, 2:21 am

Sequels come in many varieties. There are the ones that carry the central characters forward, ones that carry the secondary characters forward, ones that carry the setting forward and ones that carry the plot forward for example. My favorite is the one that carries the central characters forward. I like to see the characters evolve through life and move through new adventures. Series like that which come to mind are JD Robb’s In Death series, Simon R. Green’s Nightside and Secret Histories series and Laura Ann Gilman’s Retriever series.

Reading a book again is like visiting old friends but re-reading a series of books where the same characters keep moving forward in life can be even better. As an editor, it’s interesting to have an author bring a series to you. Which type of series will it be? What will happen to characters you meet along the way and what happens to the original characters? One thing that can cause a lot of comment is when characters change dramatically within the books.

One series that I read had a book released lately and I debated heavily before purchasing it. I had skipped the last two books. Why? The main heroine has changed drastically from the initial books. While this could be good, I have never felt there was any life-changing event that justified it in this particular series. She just suddenly became this new person. I haven’t quite enjoyed the series the same way since book 5.

So series are an interesting thing. Some people love them. Others hate them. When do you as an author or a reader know when to quit? It’s a hard struggle for an author when readers are clamoring for more, but the author is ready to move on.

What are your feelings towards series? Are there ones you love? Ones you hate? Why?

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