Have you ever reached the last page of a book and felt a bit bereft because you wanted to read more about a favorite character or storyline? We’re happy to welcome author Misty Evans to the RU campus today for a presentation on three types of series.
Series Business: Three Types of Series by Misty Evans
I love reading books in a series, don’t you? No matter what your favorite genre, you can find a series that grabs you by the imagination and refuses to let go, story after story. The best series are like Calgon…they take you away from your world and give you a free pass to live vicariously through the characters.
As an author, I enjoy writing series as well. When my muse produces a fun character who takes me on an exciting rollercoaster ride, I hate to write ‘The End’ when their story is finished. I want to spend more time exploring their world, watching them get themselves in and out of trouble, and help them on their quests to find true love, save the world, or fight the devil. They become good friends who make me laugh and cry, and sometimes, they even show up in my dreams.
There are three basic types of series: serials, sequels and spinoffs.
Serials: The same main character is featured in each book, but each book can stand alone. Most mystery/suspense and action/adventure series fall into this category. While you learn more about the character as the series progresses, the stories themselves are mostly episodic. A few examples:
Stephanie Plum (Janet Evanovich)
Tempe Brennan (Kathy Reichs)
Kay Scarpetta (Patricia Cornwall)
Spencer (Robert B. Parker)
Eve Dallas (Nora Roberts)
Sookie Stackhouse (Charlaine Harris)
Sequels: Sequels have a finite number of books where the plot is introduced in the first book and concludes with the last. Many fantasy and science fiction series fall into this category. While the individual books can be read as standalones, readers get more out of the story if they begin with the first book and follow the series in order. A few examples:
Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling)
Lord of the Rings (Tolkein)
Mortal Instruments (Cassandra Claire)
Twilight (Stephanie Meyer)
Witches Anonymous (Me, Misty Evans)
Spinoffs: Spinoffs take a minor character, setting or plotline from the original standalone and develop it. In many cases, the series characters are a specific team engaged in a heroic profession. Spinoffs, or ensemble series, work well for romance writers who need a fresh couple for each book’s romance. A few examples:
Troubleshooters (Suzanne Brockman)
Black Ops (Cindy Gerard)
Black Dagger Brotherhood (J.R. Ward)
Dream Hunter Novels (Sherrilyn Kenyon)
Rosatto and Associates (Lisa Scottoline)
Super Agent Series (Me, Misty Evans)
One of my favorite resources to find series and sequels is the Los Angeles Public Library’s Index for Series and Sequels: http://www.lapl.org/resources/indexes/sequels.html . Type in an author and get a list of books in their series, including the main characters and special notes about location or other important facts. Also, try the interactive search through this library: http://ww2.kdl.org/libcat/WhatsNextNEW.asp
For Historical Fiction series, check out: http://1mpages.com/HistoricalFiction.html
A great list of Inspirational Series: http://www.sos.mo.gov/wolfner/bibliographies/inspirationalfictioninseries.asp
Small, but concise Western Series:
Sequels and Prequels to Classic Literature: http://sachem.suffolk.lib.ny.us/advisor/sequels.htm
SciFi Series classics are listed here (though the site is hard to read): http://home.austarnet.com.au/petersykes/topscifi/features_series.html
Even Fictionwise has a series list, although it’s not inclusive to all the series on their site: http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/serieslist.htm
Series allow readers (and writers) to get to know fabulous characters and explore their world in detail. Often when a series ends, we feel disappointed and a little lost. The great thing is, there are more great series out there, in every genre, and written by many of our favorite authors under pseudonyms. All we have to do is find them. Check out these lists, then head to your local library, independent bookstore, or online bookstore to find a new series. Happy reading!
Would a likeable character or storyline entice you to read the sequel or spinoff? Please share some of your favorite series and sequels with us!
Literary agent Sara Megibow joins us on Wednesday with her debut column. Sara’s column will appear every third Wednesday of the month.
Bio: Misty Evans writes the best-selling Super Agent Series and light paranormal Witches Anonymous series. She likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. To learn more about Misty and her books, visit www.readMistyEvans.com or follow her on www.twitter.com/readmistyevans . And don’t miss her two-week online workshop in September on writing a series: Series Business – Is Writing A Series Right For You http://www.carolinaromancewriters.com/september11.htm.
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