Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Stuff to do while waiting for one of those slow writers to finish a series

It should be illegal for writers to take more than a year to bring out a trilogy, right? Or three years for a seven-book series, say, because we wouldn’t want to rush them.

Right?

Anyway, here’s a post from Book Riot about how to kill time while waiting and waiting and waiting for the next book in your favorite series.

My favorite suggestion is when Susie Rodarme says, Create puppets for every character in the books and put on a puppet show for friends who haven’t read the series. It’s definitely okay if you lure them to you with the pretense of “going out for dinner” or “I need to go to the hospital, can you drive me?”

Yep, pretty sure this one never occurred to me. I am not really an arts-and-crafts sort of person, so, yeah, no puppets. Anyway, fun list.

My actual solution: don’t start the series until it’s finished. This never actually works, especially since publishers don’t warn you when a book is the first one in a new series. So my REAL actual solution: don’t read the second book until the series is finished. I’m a lot more successful at that strategy. Then when the series is out, start over and re-read the first book and then go on.

The plus to reading the first book, then buying the others as they come out, then starting at the front and reading the whole thing is: the author needs you to buy the books as you come out, but you need to be fairly sure you will like the books. So, read the first one and then wait to read the rest. Not a perfect solution, but it works fairly well for me.

The minus: the number of series that I haven’t got around to reading even though they’re complete and I have all the books on my shelves/on my Kindle right now: more than one. Or two. The Raven Boys series is going to be another like that, I expect, when the last book hits the shelves this fall. Hey, if it turns out to be a five-book series instead of four, someone warn me, okay?

How about you all? Do you have a preferred way to handle series? Read ’em all as they come out, avoid series completely, what?

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8 Comments Stuff to do while waiting for one of those slow writers to finish a series

  1. Mary+Beth

    I don’t mind waiting, since there’s always something else to read in the meantime. I’ve only once been badly burned (by Melanie Rawn’s unfinished MAGEBORN TRAITOR sequence; STILL holding out hope that someday we’ll get the third book).

    My only real rule regarding series is that I won’t start it if I can’t read the books in order, and that’s not a real problem anymore in these days of Amazon and interlibrary loan. I still broke that rule twice as a kid, with Meredith Ann Pierce’s Darkangel and unicorn series. I remember WEEKS of walking by that book with the amazing warrior unicorn on the title before I finally broke down and picked it up, nevermind that it was actually the third in the trilogy!

    On the other hand, I’ve lost track of the number of promising series, or even trilogies, where I’ve given up in the middle. It’s usually not related to the wait between books, however, but to the failure of the 3rd or 9th book to hold my interest. Sometimes the series doesn’t live up to the promise of the first or second book; sometimes I’m not the same person who started the series all those years ago. However I did finally pick up the complete Wheel of Time from last year’s Hugo voter packet, more than 10 years after dropping it, and I’m slowly making my way through again…

  2. Laura L

    I am a re-reader with my favorite authors – I have found, as I grow and change, I interpret the books differently – or I read and register some new detail, that I passed by without notice in a previous reading.

    So, I usually start anywhere from a week to a month before the new book is due, with book 1, and then read the rest in order, to prep for the new book. But when the series gets upwards of 9-10 books (or more), I will sometimes just read the better books, and the best scenes in the books in between – so, by the time the new book comes out, I am full of the story line. Of course then continuity errors really bother me – where I might miss them just reading the newest book without the ‘prep’.

    But the best is when I find a series I haven’t heard of before that has been fully or mostly written – so I don’t have to wait – I get to read them, one after another, without buying them one at a time over years.

    But as Mary+Beth mentioned, sometimes you just get tired of a series – the silly thing is, I keep buying them, even if I stop reading them. Because I do change in how I read stories – so that is my hopeful response, I have them ready in the event I ever go back to the series.

  3. Rachel

    Mary Beth, wow, you’re reading the Wheel of Time? There is just no chance of that for me, even though I expect the last book is probably pretty good. Definitely a case of tl;dr. I would have to believe the whole thing was brilliant before I would start a series that long.

    I don’t think I have EVER let myself read the third book before the second — and thankfully, as you say, there’s not much need to worry about it now, since *most* of the time you can find the second book pretty easily. On the other hand, I have every intention of reading Butcher’s SKIN GAME as a standalone, because you know, fourteen books? I do have other things stacked up!

    It’s true, though, that I would not buy more than three books before starting to read them unless I was pretty darn sure I would keep liking the series — The Raven Boys, I expect to really enjoy the whole thing, just based on the first book + SCORPIO RACES. I sure hope I’m right, but it’s true that now that I think of it, sometimes I have been burned as the later books weren’t as good. I’m thinking of a couple mystery series here, not fantasy. Whoops, and an urban fantasy series where I really do like the first ones but oh my GOD the later ones are just beyond dreadful. I mean the writing quality declines sharply as well as other problems.

    Laura, thinking of that problem — not that you just don’t really care for where the series is going, but a true precipitous decline in quality, would you keep buying the series, do you think?

    I also like re-reading and don’t hesitate to re-read series, but for the Foreigner series, I know just read a couple of the latest ones and then the new one. Unless I’m simply in the mood to read the whole thing from front to back, which I’ve done twice. And then, yes, I did notice continuity issues. Mostly CJC is good enough to finesse her way around any continuity problems, though.

    And I think surely we all agree that the BEST THING EVER is when you discover a great new-to-you author with a backlist, including complete series.

  4. Craig

    I can mostly tolerate reading a series as it comes out, though it becomes harder to live with when a volume ends on a cliffhanger. (Can you imagine what it was like to be reading

  5. Craig

    (oops)
    …THE LORD OF THE RINGS when it was first published, and be faced with the ending of v.2 when v.3 wasn’t available and wouldn’t be published for almost a full year?

  6. Rachel

    I sure can. Especially since I skipped right to the rescue-Frodo scene for years when reading and re-reading TLotR. Took me forever to read the other plotline at that point.

  7. Aimee

    The final Raven Boys book got pushed back to February, so you have a few more months! They are my new discovery, but I feel like they are more like volumes than separate books. They tie together so well! I’ve even got my non-reading husband obsessed with the audio versions. Will Patton does a great job reading them, if anyone is looking for more audio books! :)

    I am not a waiter. If I want to read a series, I do, and then try to find another amazing one while I mark off time until the next book comes out. It’s like getting to wait for Christmas again, the way you do as a kid!

  8. Rachel

    Aimee, thanks, good to know! In that case I’m off the hook for finding time to read the whole series this year. Glad to hear that you’re enjoying the whole series. I’ve heard they’re all good so far.

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