Sunday, August 26, 2012

Random Thought: Authors Who Give Up on Their Series

I was staring at my bookcase, not really paying attention to what I was looking at, when one of my books caught my eye. It was by an author I used to read. I started thinking about him. He had a popular series of books of few years ago. They weren't super popular but did well. I loved them. The characters were interesting and funny, and the stories were always twisted and complex but great, quick reads. Perfect to read on a train or at the beach or curled up at home.

Anyhoo, as the series progressed, I got the feeling that the author was growing tired of the characters. He moved his main protagonist to a new location and the plots made a little less sense. Finally, he announced the ending of the series. I was sad, but every story has its time. However, when I read the final book, instead of sad I became angry.

What made this series so good was not only was the main protagonist an extremely likable character, but the group around him was equally incredible. Think Buffy and the Scoobies. That's exactly what this was like, and in the final book, the few who made it into the story were underutilized and some of them completely disappeared, and the explanations given for their disappearance made no sense. Not only that, but the story itself was convoluted, rushed, and lacked all the wonderful elements that had made the series so good. There are books my favorite authors have written that I have not cared for, but rarely have I read something that's made me question the quality of their writing.

I found out later the reason the author ended the series was because he had written a book unrelated to the series that he was extremely proud of, and the fan reception he had gotten was "this is nice, but when does the next ---- book come out?" This understandably upset him. He had put a tremendous amount of work into his book, and it wasn't fair that it was being treated as a placeholder. I read that book; it was great, but I feel like his response was unfair to the fans.

He should have anticipated that kind of response. He created a wonderful series, and that was what he was known for. Yes, he wrote other stuff, but he was best known for his series. It's what made him popular. Of course, that's what the fans were going to want.

I respect his decision to end the series so he could pursue other projects. You can't hold creativity back, but what I don't respect is not giving the characters a proper send off. Sure, we're lucky he was even willing to tie everything up, but in some ways, the final book was so subpar that it might have been better if he didn't write it, did other projects, and may some years down the road revisited the characters and given them a better ending. 

Have you had this experience? Are there writers out there who you felt really dropped the ball on their series'? And for any writers reading this, am I being overly harsh or have you ever felt this way? I'd love to know your side of the story. 

Like what you just read? Let us know in the comments below and keep up to date by following us on TwitterFacebook and Tumblr!