The Most Important Thing to Remember When Writing a Series

Rowling excelled at building bridges for her readers.

Recently I read a series title that I will not name.  Yes, normally I tell you what book I’m talking about but not this time.  Why?  Because I’m giong to complain and I really like this author’s books.  Their other books.

Recently I read a series title.  This was not the first book and it was also not the final book in the series.  When I got to the end, I was really glad it was a library book because that meant I got to drop it into the library back to return. I would not have to look at it on my shelf.

What was the problem with this book?  It didn’t have a complete plot.  It was going along quite nicely but when I got to the end I felt like turning it over and smacking it on the base like you do with the ketchup bottle.  Certainly there has to be more story in there!   Where is the ending?

This book was nothing more than a very long prequel for the next book.

Do I have to clarify that as a reader this really ticked me off?  When you write a book in a series, that single book has to work on its own.  There has to be a plot that works.  The characters have to function in this book and not just be there waiting for their opportunity to step into the limelight in the next book.

I thought maybe it was just me until I read this post by agent Scott Eagan, A Word of Caution When Writing a Series.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I love it when an author does a great job plannig out all the book in a series.  Rowling did this with Harry Potter.  Something that is mentioned in book 1, like the core in a wand, becomes important in a later book.  A parent’s job, a secondary character, a spell.  So many things that were vital in later books were planned and planted early on.  But each book, unlike each movie, had a complete plot and a climax.

Each.  Book.  Needs.  To Be.  Complete.


I mean it.  I am a very disgruntled reader.