Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Wednesday's Writer's Tips - Series and Book Endings #MFRWauthor
Since a series contains a number of books that have a connection in characters, settings and even themes. Looking at how to end each book in the series calls for some thought. According to Karen Wiesner in Writing the Fiction Series, the endings are either cliff-hangers or stand alone books.
A cliff hanger leaves the reader with a problem. When is the next book due so I can find out how the story ends. Done well and the reader will wait months or even years for the next book in the series. As a reader, I have read and enjoyed cliff-hanger series but I'm a re-reader so when the new book arrives, I always go back and read the other stories before I read the current new one. Unless I discover the series all in a lump of stories.
A stand alone book in a series means the story comes to a satisfying ending. That doesn't mean there aren't little clues planted for the story that will come next. Sometimes there are no hints. These stories are often based on characters or settings. Detective stories where the character solves crimes are usually stand alone because the writer may or may not know what story will be up next in the series. Or stories based on a location where the writer may not know which story will be next in the series.
Choosing how to end each story is the writer's choice but there's one bit of advice that I've learned. If you've written a cliff-hanger kind of story, don't wait too long before writing the next. If you do, readers can be lost.