Monday, March 13

The Never Ending Series...

I love when someone else does the thinking and saves me from having to come up with my own ideas...Bev's thoughts were so well written I didn't need to redo them (lifted from McVane):

Logically, there are basically three ways to connect books:

1) story arcs - these can but not always involve the same characters, HAVE to be sequential and are mainstays of science fiction & fantasy

2) episodic series - these almost always use the same primary character or character, don't have to be sequential and are the mainstay of mystery and suspense

3) universe spin-offs - these involve creating or using an existing "world" wherein multiple stories can happen that aren't necessarily sequential but can be in certain circumstances

Didn't she just nail this?? I do think that you can have hybrids, mixes of story arcs and episodic series, story arcs and universe spin-offs.

Story arcs, I think these are series that are hard to sustain, because the arc ends up being weak--Bev mentions this in her comments on McVane. The ultimate goal of the series gets watered down by the ultimate goal of each book, which is a HEA ending. Feehan, Kenyon and Brockmann come to mind when I think of these.

I read somewhere that JR Ward is planning 10 books in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I'm never going to make it. I've enjoyed the first 2 books, but I'm not sure she's going to be able to keep my attention over such a long story arc, I decided this one is a story arc, since the main story line that will continue through each is the protection of vampires and putting an end to the Lessening Society and the lessers, all those letter characters--Mr. X, Mr. O... I'm hoping my attention span is good enough to keep up.

Episodic series will eventually wear thin for me. I've given up on:

1. Jamie and Claire
2. Eve and Rourke
3. Stephanie and Joe/Ranger/Joe/Ranger...
4. Poor Elizabeth and Hawkeye languished so long on my TBR pile I gave them to my sister now they're languishing on her TBR pile

I've come to realize the only one of these that work long term for me is the universe spin-offs. These can go on forever, just keep introducing new cousins, friends, long lost brothers and sisters, but if done right, they are individual and can stand alone, but after a while even these wear thin--Bridgertons and Cynsters.

CW commented: It's also annoying to read a book with sequel-bait at the expense of current-book development. :D This is normally the kiss of death for me. Can anyone say Brockmann?? And, yet Eloisa James sequel-baits (love that word) and it works for me, I think because she doesn't do it at the expense of the main storyline.

I hate when a series starts with a bang and then the second stinks, what do I do then? I'm left scratching my head wondering whether or not to continue with the series or just give up.

Say what you want about Nora Roberts, her full size books either stand alone or are part of a trilogy, with a beginning, a middle and an end, you know exactly where you're going.

My deep thought for this week, well, actually it was Bev's but you know what I mean. *grin*

Have a good one and happy reading.



Nikki said...


Your analysis is right on in my opinion. Eventually, I give up on every series. It just seems to me that all authors have a certain amount of stories to tell. And when they are done they should be done. When an author changes genres that is a red flag to me that they are done.

You know this happens in TV and the movies, too. Have you ever heard of "Jumping the Shark"? The saying comes from Happy Days when the Fonz was in a contest waterskiing and he jumped over a shark. From then on, Happy Days was stale, boring and so over. Friends and Seinfeld jumped the shark two years before they finally ended it. And did we really need three more Star Wars??? More Rockys??? More Batmans??? I want to say please people let's move on!!


Caro said...

I think it's especially problematic with series if there is a long interval between books. Yes, I can remember well what went on in Outlander and I enjoyed the early books in the series, but now it seems like too much work to try to remember the details in preparation for reading the later novels. I bought The Fiery Cross in hardcover and I'm convinced that I'm never going to read it.

Kristie (J) said...

great post - but who are Elizabeth and Hawkeye?

Bookwormom said...

I'm not sure I agree that Feehan fits in cat. #1. For me the Dark series fits #2. I've read them all & they don't have to read in order. They can be picked up & put down at random. I am very tired of Feehan because her heroines are too tortured for me. I can't relate. I need one of the pair (H/H) to be whole- and often Feehan's heroes are damaged as well.

As to episodic series (#2), someone has written another sleuth pair, set in Regency (I think). It has several novels. Sorry I'm drawing a total blank. Is it A. Quick maybe? I don't know.

What about the Deadly series by Brenda Joyce? Do they fit #1 or #2? I've only read one, but have been told they must be read in order & they still haven't resolved the HEA w/Francesca. That's the one reason that series won't work, for me at least. It's taken too long.

Now if this series had been marketed primarily as a mystery series I probably would read it. Since it's supposedly a romance I want my HEA with one hero & one heroine. And sooner please.

I've not read any other of the choices you listed for #2. The whole Jamie & Claire thing tanked at #3 for me, so...

I most enjoy choice #3 since they can be picked up & put down at will & sequential order is irrelevant. Balogh's Simply comes to mind as do the Cynsters & the Bridgertons. Balogh has lost me, but the reason is unrelated to the series issue.

Cynsters are uneven IMO- some are good & some aren't, but the whole premise needs to be laid to rest. The Cynsters need a break. Bridgertons are ok, but then I didn't read the anthologies thus creating quite a break for me.

Imo, true #1's are a rare animal in romance. I've not come across one where I feel compelled hoard them all. A true fantasy style, 'you must read them all & in exact order' hasn't happened (for me) in romance yet.

Perhaps that makes me odd?

Tara Marie said...

Nikki--I'm so with you, let's move on!!--LOL.

Caro--The Fiery Cross sat on my TBR pile for 2 years before I gave it back to my sister unopened.

Kristie--Sara Donati's books.

Amanda--You're probably right about Feehan, she lost me after the first 4, so I can't really say if it's an arc or not.

I think the Joyce series is a "hybrid" not quite one or another category.

The Cynsters are terribly uneven and I gave them up years ago, but they do fall into category 3 and can be read in any order without feeling like you've somehow missed something.

Imo, true #1's are a rare animal in romance. I agree completely. I think #1 only works if the romance becomes secondary and then it doesn't work as a romance.

Thanks ladies, it's an interesting subject.


Bev (BB) said...

Say what you want about Nora Roberts, her full size books either stand alone or are part of a trilogy, with a beginning, a middle and an end, you know exactly where you're going.

Ain't it the truth? (G) I've only read a couple of her trilogies because I'm not that big on her but I actually enjoyed them because she got the story arc part right.

Anonymous said...

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