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Thursday, April 15, 2010
7:59 PM | Posted by Maureen | | Edit Post
* “Sin! Come off the edge of the yardarm! It ain’t worth it!” 2nd Chance shouts to the top of the billowing sail. At the very end of the crossbeam, preparing to fling herself into the foam below stands Quartermaster Sin, pale with despair.
* “2nd, what did you say to Sin?” Cap’n Hellion gazes up at black robed ninja. “Get down here!”
* “Wasn’t me that did it, Cap’n. That series she worships ended and she’s unhappy ‘bout it.” 2nd sighs. “Granted, I did sorta rub it in, but I ‘spected she’d pull out her stars, not dash fer the yardarm… I mix up a Hooha, extra glitter, fer ‘er.”
* 2nd hurries away to the bar and pulls out her biggest tankard.
* Moments later, Sin stands before the Cap’n. “I knew it was comin’, Hel. I almost wanted it! But…” She threw herself at the approaching bartender, who held out the drink. It was seized, upended to her lips and emptied. 2nd took the empty glass and hurried to refill it…
It was going to be a long day on the Revenge.
It’s hard on the reader when an author ends a beloved series. It’s hard on the author, if they truly love the series themselves. But sometimes, sigh, a series needs to die. Sometimes they die too young. Whether it be a mercy killing or a bitter murder is the question.
I be writing a long series, I hit the twelfth book and reached an ending. And I cried, and cried, and cried! Three days of being miserable. Until I opened my laptop and found a new beginning, jumping ahead a number of years. At this point, the series is nearing the end of its thirtieth volume. If I find myself still wanting to keep going, I’ll write until I’m done. Yes, I know. They call me mad…
I don’t expect to see all of these books published. If they were, I’m sure the reading public would get tired of the characters. I don’t. I’m the writer. The public might call for a mercy killing. And they would probably be right. (I can still write them for me!)
The same goes when the author doesn’t seem to care about the series any longer, and it just ‘phoning’ them in. And the writer decides on killing the series. (If the reading public doesn’t beat them to it.) Again, a mercy killing.
There also be the case where the series has attracted a type of fan that demands it go the way they want it to go. And the writer sees it differently. Who will win in this struggle? Anyone’s guess! Either new fans come aboard that are content with the course the writer sets, or the fans end up killing the writer’s muse with constant barrage of demands. Battle ensues, but it doesn’t involve the publisher or even the public. It’s the fan-atics verses the author.
Do what the public wants? They let Maddy and Dave consummate their relations in Moonlighting and the fire went out of the series. It’s risky…who holds the wheel? If the author follows the muse, ignores the public…things can get nasty. But…
The case of Arthur Conan Doyle comes to mind. He tired of his great detective, Sherlock Holmes. And tried to kill him off honorably. Doyle was in mind to write of more paranormal subjects, found Holmes too logical for him… The public screamed. His editor screamed. He was castigated, named a villain. He gave in, resurrected Holmes. And went on for many merry years.
A case of an author who longed to do the deed. Did it. And repented.
Now, sometimes the publisher delivers the killing blow, with no satisfying ending in series. And the author cries. The reader cries. This was murder! Alas, unless it is picked up by another publisher, the books don’t reach an end. Like a poorly ended television series, the public is left with a deep pit of emptiness where that storyline once merrily bubbled.
Is there an ideal length for a series? Is it three? Or five? Maybe there is no set number. Maybe it all comes down to letting the reading public deliver the blow with their wallets.
We all know there are authors waiting in the wings, with books to sell. Who bears the brunt of the responsibility? The author? The publisher? The readers?
I know we ain’t goin’ ta get inta particulars, crew, but what do ya think in general? Be there a set limit? Can a series go on too long? Ya know, Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote 24 Tarzan novels. (I be shooting ta be the next ERB, meself…) All of the younger adult series of yesteryear went on and one and on. Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, The Hardy Boys… Can a modern day author carry it off? Nora is doing it as J.D. Robb with her In Death series. Anybody else? Maybe it’s just not possible with romance, as ya can only put off the HEA so long…
As fer the fan-atic verses the author…I find this fascinating.
Labels: Loader's Logic (2nd Chance)