When and how to end a series?

JenniferLynne_IceQueen_200pxI have a dilemma. I’m in the process of writing Ice Queen, a novella that is planned as a September release and the final in my Gods of Love series about sexy Greek gods looking for love in a modern-day world. But I’m having so much fun exploring different themes and topics within this series that I will be really sad for it to end.

From ménage fantasy within a long-term marriage, to a transsexual heroine looking for acceptance, to a tortured demon lover, this series has explored many different facets of love.

Readers, too, have been asking for more after the latest release, Demon of Envy:

“Ms. Lynne can weave a story around the Gods better than anyone…Keep writing them Ms. Lynne.  I will gobble them up every single time.” ~ Harlie’s Books

“This is a series I simply can’t get enough of.” ~ D.F.Krieger’s Must Read Monday

Jennifer Lynne’s Gods of Love series is one of my favorite series out right now…sexy, emotional and passionate…” Wicked Readings by Tawania

So, do I finish the series with Ice Queen, as originally intended, or do I keep going? Hence my dilemma.

When is the right time to finish a series – particularly one like mine in which each of the stories is stand-alone? There is a common theme, of course, but without an underlying story arc there isn’t a natural “ending point”, as such. Lisa Shearin’s Raine Benares novels are among my favorite series reads, and after six books had the perfect ending moment. Sad to reach that point, but it felt right as a reader.

Is there a point in a series in which you think it’s time for the writer to put an idea to bed? Times when a series just goes on too long? Conversely, are there any series that ended and you wished like crazy they had gone on longer? I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

JenniferLynne_DemonOfEnvy800If you’d like to find out more about Demon of Envy, the (possibly) pen-ultimate release in Jennifer Lynne’s Gods of Love series, read more or buy a copy here:

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10 Responses to When and how to end a series?

  1. Brandi Gillilan

    It’s hard to say when a series should be ended. It really depends on three things.
    1. Has everything been explained with the storyline?
    2. Are there any loose ends?
    3. What do the fans think?

    You want to make sure everything you want the fans to know about the storyline and the main characters has been explained throughly. Blanks and loose ends when the series ends can make fans drop your series.
    If there are any loose ends then tie them up neatly. You don’t want to just drop a bomb of information on a reader, if their is any loose ends then find a way to tie them up neatly within that final story. Personally I don’t want to read about Frank and Rose working through some issues to make their relationship work only to be interrupted with Erik dropping in to let them know he is gay and dating his son’s best friend. It throws the readers off and can confuse them.
    You want to hear what your fans think. Yes you are the author and you decide when to end a series, but if the fans are confused about too many loose ends then another book may be required.

    • I agree, Brandi, that is is important to tie up loose ends. In a series with an ongoing story line that can be particularly important, but for a series in which each of the stories can stand-alone, it is less of an issue. Equally, it is important to listen to your instinct as a writer, and if you’re not feeling the passion, maybe it is time to end the series. In relation to Gods of Love, I’m still loving writing these – in fact, more so now that at the beginning! Thanks for your response 🙂

  2. I think an author should write a series as long as they continue to be passionate about it and have new ideas. When an author writes about a character when they are not ready as a readers I know because there is a broken connection between the author and the character. I say trust your instinct readers will always be sad when a series they love ends but they will be there when you release something new because they love your writing.

    • That’s an interesting point, Tracie. That connection between the author and their character is vital if a story is to work. If you don’t have that connection, then the story doesn’t work. I’m thinking of what happened with the Sookie Stackhouse series. I haven’t actually read the last book yet, but despite what I’ve heard I did love the series early on and I need some closure so it is on my TBR list!

  3. As long as the characters grab you, a series can continue indefinitely. J R Ward has shown that and I’m sure there are many others.

    Cheers,
    Margaret

  4. I suppose a lot depends on how the author is feeling about the series. When each story follows on from the one before, it is imperative that the author remains true to the characters she has developed and remembers their nuances. As a reader, I personally feel that it becomes abundantly clear when an author is losing their love of the series or characters therein, and I will the choose not to continue reading the series. When each book follows a theme, but can be read as a standalone, I will still choose to read Gemini order and will continue the series as long as the passion and continuity is there.

    • Hi Karen,
      I also believe you can tell as a reader when an author is getting stale with a series. It might perhaps be more relevant with an ongoing story arc following the same characters, rather than a series of stand-alones that you can dip in and out of. But either way, a series that I thought was finishing is still calling to me. So I need to decide whether to answer that call, or try something new. If I have to have a dilemma in life, it’s a nice one 🙂

  5. I love a good series. I don’t have a problem with it at all. That said…I stopped reading JR Wards Brotherhood series at book #5. I couldn’t keep up. LOL!

    Marika/Harlie

    • Hi Marika,
      Thanks for stopping by the Birdies! I haven’t read J R Ward as yet, though I do have plans to start the Brotherhood series soon. Not sure how far I’ll get, given limited reading time at present 🙂