The Problem With Series

As a reader, I love books that are part of a series. Really good stand-alone books are heartbreakers, because it lets you fall in love with the characters just to make you leave them 400 pages later. With a series, you can follow a character on a far longer journey, and when the series ends, you’re at a loss but at least the happy ending feels a bit more deserved.

As a writer, though… Writing a series is a huge commitment. One book takes quite some time to write. If you want an extreme example, all you have to do is look at the famed Game of Thrones/ A Song of Ice and Fire series, where author George Martin has taken so long to write Winds of Winter that the TV show has caught up to the books.

I have read articles where authors have admitted how long it took them to write just one book. Five years. Seven years. Ten. When I first started writing Dire Fate, I thought it would take me far less time to get it written and revised and edited. I was intent on finishing this book as fast as possible while still making sure it was good quality. Five drafts in three years is a feat, perhaps, but it’s also worth noting that I am not finished yet. The more you think about it, the more you realize it’s not that surprising that some books take a long time to write.

Then multiply that length of writing time with however many books were in the series. J. K. Rowling managed to spit out her Harry Potter books fast enough that the time span between the first book’s publication and the last book’s publication was a mere 10 years. George Martin, whose series currently numbers 6 if you count his work in progress, Winds of Winter, has invested 20 years into his A Song of Ice and Fire series.

Dire Fate, my own novel, will probably be part of a six-chronicle series, so I can expect to sink anywhere from 10 to 20 years on this project. During that time period, of course, my creative mind will continue to come up with new ideas that will, of course, have to be put aside until my current series is finished. I can use that time to develop those story ideas, but until the final book of my chronicles is complete, the others will have to stay simmering on the back burner.

So for those aspiring authors out there thinking about writing a series, I’m not saying don’t do it. I’m just offering a kind warning of how much of a commitment it will be.

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Camp NaNoWriMo word count update: 5,317 words

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