Monday, April 23, 2012

T: Trilogy or More

T:  If you've visited me before, you know I write epic fantasy.  Epic fantasy and many other types of fantasy, usually means a multi-book series.  Science fiction often is delivered in a series of novels set in the same world and involving the same characters.  Mystery, romance, suspense and other genres tend to come in series also.  And why not?

If a reader falls in love with the world and the mythology created, they'll come back again and again to the adventures and intrigues the author composes. But how long will the reader return? At what point does the series drag on too long?  It depends.

The author must keep the storyline from getting repetitive. TV series face the same challenge. Is there a bad guy of the week or of the novel? Many mystery series are like that.  Is the new criminal, the new threat to world peace, interesting with new quirks and higher stakes? If there is a continuing story arc, does each novel move it forward? Are more and more questions asked and are some old mysteries solved and explained? Is the tension rising from novel to novel?

I used to think all fantasy series were best if kept to a trilogy.  Perhaps Tolkien taught me that.  Then I started reading authors like Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind who spin their epic fantasy out over more than a dozen books.  Some of the books in each series were better than others, but I intend to keep reading them as long as they keep going.  So three is no longer a magic number in my opinion.

Have you ever read a book series you thought went on too long? Do you enjoy reading series or do you prefer stand alone novels?


  1. I don't generally read epic anything...but I have fallen in love with certain characters or settings and wished for a sequel.

  2. Yes, I personally think the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich has gone on too long.

    I do enjoy reading series. If I love the characters, I'll always come back to see what they're doing this time.

  3. i typically don't read series--but am STILL in the middle of the out-lander series--which i think are too long--

  4. I love JD Robb's In Death series but the dialogue that exists only to bring a new reader up to date on who's who is starting to look like the flashback scenes on a daytime soap.

  5. I was going to say that I like standalone books, but then I realized that lately I've really read more series books. Three is about all I like to read of them, though. After that I seem to need a change.

  6. I love series that have a some what stand alone aspect. Each book tells a story and that story ends but there is and over-arcing story that flows through the series.

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  7. I like a mixture. And sorry, I gave up on Robert Jordan because the series just wouldn't end.

  8. I love series! It's always fun to revisit the world and the characters :)