Wednesday, October 31, 2007

About Series.

Series have been on my mind, lately. Nathan Bransford calls series a tricky beast in the debut querier. As you guys know, I know nothing about the NY publishing world. But I have noticed certain things about readers, though, and I wonder if they’ll transfer (should I get the opportunity).

Lots of readers love series.

I never thought to ask myself why--perhaps the most important question to ask--until a reader asked if a novella I’d written (to start a new series) had been inspired by another series. I’d heard of this other series, but his world had taken on such a cult classic sort of life that I didn’t even know there were books, LOL. Just thought it was a Dungeons & Dragons sort of thing or something (evidently there are books for that, too).

So I investigated it and was amazed at the lengths readers had taken to live in this fictional world, the lengths they had gone to immerse themselves in this world, the fact that this series--crafted, er, a tad, er, um, not-so-greatly--has been inspiring new readers, fan fiction, and countless websites for forty years!

Wow.

Why?

We hear a lot about creating great characters, but I think it’s more than a great character and a funny sidekick. It’s the world. The trick is to create a world that makes you just wish, with all your heart, that you could live there, visit there, escape there.

One of my readers wrote that she wished she could visit this little place I’d created, and I wrote back that it had been my fervent dream for many, many years.

So as I’m thinking of building a world for November (don’t remind me that it’s only ONE DAY AWAY!), I don’t want interesting, clever rules.

I want to find a world my heart aches for.

What do you think? Ever read a series that made you wish you could pack up and move there? What hooks you most in a series? Character or World? Or a combination?

6 bonus scribbles:

Kate S 10/31/2007 12:43:00 PM  

I think you're on to something. It is in large part the world. Isn't that a lot of Harry Potter's appeal? Who wouldn't want to go to Hogwarts, hang out at the Leaky Cauldron or visit the Weasley's joke shop? :)

The first novel attempt I made a few years back still sticks with me even though the writing really sucks. :) The reason is that I still love that world, and I still want to revisit it - I keep looking for ways to revive it.

I'd started two others for some writing challenges, and they keep tugging at me, too, for the same reason: the fantasy worlds those characters live in. I want to go there.

Maybe I can find a way to bring them all back.

Sigh.

spyscribbler 10/31/2007 01:22:00 PM  

Oh, Kate, YES! My very first story took place in a world I loved. I would just DIE to be able to write in that world again ... but my inexperience completely messed it up.

I can't tell you how much I wish I could trash that novella and write in that world again.

Yeah. I agree. Sigh.

Susan Helene Gottfried 10/31/2007 03:34:00 PM  

It's both, of course. A really good world has lots of aspects to explore and lots to write about -- and readers who want to read it all, too.

It's a cool combination when you find it.

Bernita 10/31/2007 03:47:00 PM  

I think it's the characters. Some of these worlds would be pretty scary places without the stalward characters as friends.

spyscribbler 10/31/2007 08:27:00 PM  

Susan, good point. And the characters are part of the world, too, so it's not such an easy line to draw in the sand.

That world I discovered was really cool ... badly written, but fascinating! I don't know if I could ever get so detailed.

Bernita, on the other hand, could. :-) And you're right, the world needs the characters as much as we do.

Edie 11/01/2007 02:24:00 PM  

OMG! Pern by Anne McCaffrey. I'd love to ride a dragon.