Don’t leave me hanging!

I just finished reading a very good book–except for one thing–it wasn’t finished. There was no resolution in the book, lots of threads left dangling, the prime conflict in the story was not settled, but there was a sequel.

I guess I can’t complain too much. The book was free. And I guess it was supposed to lure me into buying the next book and the next. But I was not going to buy the next book when I felt so cheated with this one.

Yes, the writing was very good. A lot of stuff happened, I was drawn right along. I liked the characters. But, I wondered, would anything be resolved in the next book? If I was left hanging in the first one, how many in this series would I have to read to “find out what happens?” I was not going to take the chance. What if things never ended? What if the author just keeps “stringing me along?”

Now don’t get me wrong. I love series books. I couldn’t wait for the next Harry Potter. But each of those books came to an end. Even though you knew that the overall arc in the series still continued, things got resolved in each book. Ends got tied up. There was satisfaction when you finished that last page.

Jo Beverley writes two series that I love, her Georgian books and her Regency books. They interconnect, they share characters, but each book is a stand-alone book. Which makes me want to reach for the next one. They really don’t have to be read in any particular order, either. My Fortune series is like that. Each book is about someone in the same family, but each book is a stand-alone book.

So please, if you are writing a series, either let us know at the beginning how many books there will be altogether, or let each book stand by itself. Then maybe I’ll want to pick up the next, and the next…

How do you feel about series books?

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2 Responses to Don’t leave me hanging!

  1. I’m like you. I don’t care how many books are in the series, stop with the cliff hangers! I can see having a general over-arching story (war between the good guys and bad guys), but each book should have a separate story/conflict and end in that book.

    I read plenty of series, too, and my favorite ones don’t trick me into reading the next. They make me WANT to read the next satisfying me with the latest.

    • Michele says:

      I like what you say about making you WANT to read the next one instead of trying to TRICK you into it. That’s the right way to write a series!