Michille: More About Series

Callahan Family Cover 1As I mentioned in my last post, I am taking a Margie Lawson (Lisa Wells) online class about writing a series. One of the lessons was about the series connection. Lisa had four choices of series connection: the really big book series, the linked sequential series, the linked stand-alone series, and the loosely connected stand-alone series. Lisa likened the really big book series to a family saga television miniseries. I can’t think of any series that I’ve read that have to be read in order, a component of the really big book series. The linked sequential also have to be read in order. Again, I can’t think of any like this that I’ve read. I concluded that most of the ones I’ve read are linked or loosely-connected stand-alones.

Nora Roberts does a lot of linked stand-alones. Most, if not all of her series conform to this. The Key Trilogy, Three Sisters, the Cousins O’Dwyer and so on, have a stand-alone story with its own conflict, its own arc, but then there is an over-arching plot as well. Loosely-connected stand-alones seem to be more Lisa Kleypas style, although NR also does this. LK’s Wallflowers are lined by their friendship, but there is no overarching plot. NR’s Bride Quartet also conforms to this set up, too, with a group of friends who run a business together.

Originally, my series was a loosely-connected stand-alone. In doing the homework for the course, I realized that there are connections that I might be able to turn into a linked stand-alone. But that will require more sitting and thinking and I have been doing enough of that lately and not enough writing. Decisions, decisions. I’m off to think more about my series.

Do you read series? What type do you like? Why?

8 thoughts on “Michille: More About Series

  1. I love series. If I read a book set in an interesting world with fascinating characters, one story isn’t enough. I love a good community, and I’ll follow it through spin-offs and side excursions. My only caveat is that if there is an over-arching story, it has to be a bonus. I have to enjoy each book for itself, not just to follow the series arc – or I have to wait until the entire series is done and read them all at the same time. I’m not willing to wait for years to find out what happens and I especially hate being left hanging.

    I stopped reading Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series even though I loved the writing and characters because I was super-invested in the romance arc and it felt like that was maybe ten per cent of each book. I didn’t care enough about the non-relationship storyline so I started to feel as though I was buying one book at ten (more?) times the normal price with chapters at six-monthly or yearly intervals. Maybe when the whole series is done I’ll treat myself to a box set 🙂 . Conversely, I absolutely love Anne Bishop’s series about The Others (begins with Written in Red). So far there are three books and the release schedule seems to be one per year. I wish it was quicker but the books are so rich and complex, I can imagine that writing one every year is tough enough. There’s a relationship arc at the heart of this series too, developing oh-so-slowly, but it’s an integral part of a much bigger picture and I’m fully engaged with the whole story so it works perfectly. I’m counting the days to Book Four, which is released in March.

    Good luck with the class, Michille. Look forward to hearing more about it.

    • I’ve been meaning to try a Darynda Jones. Her name comes up a lot, but I would likely tire of the Charley Davidson series for the same reason you did. One of the reasons I gave up on Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series was the romance confusion between Morelli and Ranger (plus it was the same story over and over).

      I prefer series, too, for the same reasons – the community, the characters, etc.

  2. I love series! I’m with Jilly – if it’s a terrific world, I want more of it! Also, I used to read a lot of mystery books, and a lot of those are series – so I’m well used to it. I don’t mind if they are linked stand-alone or loosely connected, but, again like Jilly, the romance component has to be high. For e.g., although I loved Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels’ series, I wasn’t half as interested once Kate and Curran were well established as a couple (though loved the latest novella – absolute yes please more to Derek and Julie.

    Now thinking about series, one of my favourites from last year was a (rare) romance big book series: CS Pacat’s Captive Prince Trilogy (m/m). That has reminded me that the (very, very, long awaited) third part is out in a few weeks – hurray!

    • I haven’t read any Iona Andrews either. Hmmm. Lisa Kleypas has a new one that she just started that doesn’t appear to have any recurring characters. The first one was Cold-Hearted Rake and it was good, but now I have to wait until May for the next one of those. Oh, and have to wait until the end of March for the next Bridgerton story.

  3. I like series, too, but I’m easily distracted by all the things, so I need each book to stand alone because I might not get back to that author for, say, years. A series in the romance genre in which the romantic arc runs over several books might not work that well for me, although you never know. I gobbled up the Sookie Stackhouse books, and they have a strong romance arc. And I like series like the Bridgertons, for example. I just read Benedict, whatever the title is, and I think he’s one of the early ones. But, like Rachel, I read a lot of mysteries, and reading about the same characters out of sequence in other plots never seems to be a problem.

    • I like the Bridgertons, too.They can definitely be read out of order. Three of them actually take place at the same time – I think it’s the stories for Eloise, Francesca and I can’t remember the other one, maybe Colin. I don’t like the ones where the relationship goes over more than one story, although there are a lot of popular ones out there now. I think Nancy is writing a series like that right now. I like to read the connected ones that have an overarching plot when they are all out so I can read them in order one right after the other.

  4. I don’t know if I like series better or worse, per se. But I do know that I’m more likely to seek more books out of a series that I like, compared to seeking out more books by the same author that I like if it’s a stand-alone or closely-linked. I suppose that in a linked series, there are unanswered questions that I want the answer to — although, if it’s an obvious cliffhanger, I often get angry these days (unless I’m reading an old series where I can get my hands on the sequel immediately).

    I finally took the plunge into the Ilona Andrews series with Kate Daniels. Loved the first three books, and bought the rest that are available. Those were all stand-alones, but I was very happy to find more in the same flavor.

    The biggest problem I have with series is that a lot of authors milk them for economic benefits, and they turn into giant messes that I just don’t care about anymore. Generally, I prefer shorter series that finish up in three to five books.

    • I agree with you on the 3-5 book limit. Although, the short series can then curve off into another series. That is what I am doing. One series of four with the fourth book veering off into another series using the hero in book 4 to start a series with the link of 3 college friends. With the blizzard bullseye on top of our heads, it might be time to try the Ilona Andrews series. We’ll be snowed in for a while if we get what they forecasters are calling for.

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