From Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris:
Why am I writing a series? It’s dead simple. Because my agent wants me to.
Why does she want me to? Here goes:
WHY WRITE SERIES BOOKS?
First and foremost: Money. Publishers love to market a good series because (hopefully) there is an audience built in from the first book. The branding is established. People who bought the first book will buy the second (assuming they liked the first.) And in years to come, people who buy the new release at a festival or launch will hopefully go back and pick up the backlist. (I made a lot of my income from readers picking up my backlist.)
Readers get attached to the characters and want to be with them again for another adventure. And writers? Well, I adore revisiting the characters I came to love in the first book. Sometimes, it’s like they’ve become my friends, welcoming me back to their worlds with open arms. At times, I can’t believe they aren’t real.
. . . .
You’ve heard writers declare that characters will sometimes take over a book and tell their own story. True, some characters are the bane of my existence, ungrateful whiny creatures who permeate my brain and insist that I tell their stories rather than move on to new projects. So before you decide to write series, make sure you like your characters enough to live another twelve round with them.
BUT SOMETIMES YOU CAN’T
Let me put it this way. Some genres lend themselves to series better than others. Literary does not tend to be a genre for series books, for instance. (Note my point on character arc below.) Where we do tend to find series books is in Mystery, Romance and Fantasy/Sci-fi.
Let’s look at those genres specifically.
SERIES BOOKS IN MYSTERY AND ROMANCE
Series in Mystery and Romance are different from series in Fantasy Sci-fi, because of the rules of the genres.
In Romance, there must be a HEA (happy ever after.) The book must end with the story of the couple getting together romantically. However, you can write a story about their friends…secondary characters who come forward to have their own stories. (This is common in Paranormal Romance. A vampire series may feature a clan of vampires, each of whom finds their own love in successive books.)
In Mystery, the crime must be wrapped up at the end of the book. BUT, you can have the amateur detective or PI or same group of cops go on to solve more crimes in future books.
Example: Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple. Sherlock Holmes.
Big plus in Mystery: Series books lend themselves to television series! (Especially in Britain, the lucky ducks.) And you don’t need me to tell you that’s where the money is.
That takes care of Mystery. But what about Thrillers?
For that, we need to go back to the differences between Mysteries and Thrillers. Here’s a definition commonly used:
Mystery fiction is a puzzle story
It starts with a murder (or crime) and emphasizes the solving of the crime. The protagonist’s job is to discover who committed the crime and why. The reader and the detective both receive the same information at the same time (anything else is not playing fair.)
Link to the rest at Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris