Serial killer or Serial books?
Your first novel is published. Is it set aside, forgotten like a serial killer who’s gotten the “book” thrown at him? Or, as you're starting a new book, is your first thought that fan who wanted to see more of your characters? With him in mind, do you continue the first novel as a series?
Serials and trilogies are all the rage. As a reader, I tend to be quite judgmental of them, since they are difficult to do in a manner satisfying to both the readers who requested the sequel and to new readers who have yet to bond with the characters. It’s not easy to get it right. I read a lot of series books. Jonathan Kellerman bears mentioning, his famous duo Detective Milo Sturgis and psychologist Alex Delaware are a team I never tire of following as they unfold countless murder mysteries in the streets and surrounding areas of Los Angeles. Kellerman uses very little carry over from book to book, endearing his writing to my taste.
My list of grievances with series’ is as follows:
1. One of the worst offenders is the second (or fifth) of a series that assumes the reader has not only read the first novel, but has read it yesterday. The reader feels as left out as a spouse at the other spouse's class reunion.
2. My personal worst is the sequel that spends 50% of the book in a giant laxative dump, explaining every detail of what took place in the first book.
The reader feels like he is still at that reunion and being dragged around and introduced to everyone who could care less about meeting him.
3. The one I'm getting very weary of is the dreaded, evil killer who always survives to make a comeback in the next novel, succeeding in being more annoying than recurring post-nasal drip. Patterson is fond of this repeated reincarnation in his Cross series. And I don't think Patricia Cornwell could write a book without a villain from a past novel playing a starring role, or at the very least the son, daughter, cousin, mother, father, or adopted child stepping in to repeat the pattern of the diabolical relative. What happened to creativity?
I do follow the series of my favorite authors. I’m their biggest fan and worst critic! I must give a mention here to Jeffrey Deaver who, along with Kellerman, does both stand-alones and series equally well, his Lincoln Rhyme and Kathryn Dance characters keep me spellbound from start to finish.
As critical as I am of series, I’m reluctant to attempt one myself, although two of the characters from my first novel will be making cameo appearances in my second. I’m leaving the door to a series open!
Once more I’d like to ask for your input; Do you read books in series’? Anything about reading them you find annoying? Favorites? Do you think today’s readers prefer books in a series?
Lots of questions. Pick one or two. I’d love to hear from you.