I follow a few different fantasy and urban fantasy series and in the last year I’ve noticed an unfortunate trend, authors going too big with they’re characters and story lines. You see the beautiful thing to me about fantasy is that it can be anywhere and be about anything. So how does an author go too big? These are the things that have been series killers for me:
- Over complicated story lines. There is nothing quite like finding out that a great book you read is going to become a series. But when you get into books 3 and 4 and suddenly they completely change the story line or make the plot so complicated it’s ridiculous that’s frustrating to me as a reader. Listen if you, as an author, don’t want to write it anymore or just creativity can’t, then don’t. I know, I know, your saying but if it’s in the series you get guaranteed 5 stars from fans or maybe even you’re under contract. Think about this though what if I have someone read book four first then try to go back and read book one? Would they be confused with the stories even connecting? Sometimes you don’t even have the same characters. If you find that to be true then I’m probably going to stop reading your series.
- Unbelievable characters. Again this is fantasy, keep in mind readers do accept unbelievable things in fantasy. Want wings to suddenly pop out of your characters back? A-okay! But when the same character also breathes fires, is invincible and can be chopped in half by a sword and come back to life, come on. The worst is when they are horrible people treating everyone around them terribly why they themselves cry about being forgiven for every minor infraction. The result? Everyone loves them or wants to be them. I just threw up a little in my mouth. Honestly I’ve never wished for so many characters to die at the end of they’re books! But how, they’re invincible!
- Long, drawn out books. They’re are books I read that I never want to end, and in fantasy world building takes time so I get that some books will be a bit longer than others. But if the first book was 300 pages, with all the character intros and world building, and the new book is 800 pages some editing maybe required. There is an art in being able to tell a story in 300-400 pages and I appreciate those who do.
- Character addition. Stories will grow and with that characters are going to be added, I get that and support it. But when each book adds 5-10 characters and very few are being taken away, I’m starting to lose track. The main character is constantly talking to all these people I can’t remember and honestly it makes me start to lose focus on the story. When that happens I start to lose interest in the series.
I’m not an author so I can’t imagine how hard it is to keep a story line alive but I am a reader and I just can’t take it! Something different make you crazy? Comment. Don’t like my list, make your own…