The Quirky Ladies is a group of eclectic (and dare I say quirky?) ladies who are passionate about writing romantic fiction. All types of romantic fiction...paranormal, fantasy, historical, erotic and contemporary. Bring it on!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Contracting a Series

Good news on the home front, ladies and gentlemen. Crescent Moon Press has offered me a contract for the sequel to RULING EDEN entitled SURVIVING EDEN. This second book is part of a planned four book sequence I'm affectionately calling the Eden's Court series. Details on cover and release date will follow.

The news is fantastic because I love Rachel and Gabriel and want everyone to hear more of their story. Not to mention that of Tarn and Sebastian and Morven and a few others. Although Surviving Eden is a bit darker book, I finished writing this installment feeling that Rachel's character growth was well entrenched. I have a solid story conflict in mind for the third book and of course I do know how the plot arc over the entire series will end, if not specifically then in general.

Here's the tentative story blurb:

Rachel Rieh wields enough magic to make a goddess jealous, or so she learned three weeks ago when she thought she was an ordinary, reclusive and short-tempered gal from Boston. In this second story of Eden's Court, Rachel, now the new ruler of the Kesayim, (angels, demons, dragons, faeries, vampires, shapeshifters and witches--the goddess-created protectors of mortalkind) finds herself faced with the task of stopping vampire hunters from annihilating the vampire race. Her lover, Gabriel, half-angel, half-demon, stands by her side to help if she can escape her obsession with protecting him at all cost.

Earth is already on the verge of destruction within six months because magic is out of balance. The new threat to the vampires destabilizes the situation more. But is the cold-hearted goddess intent on changing Rachel into her image the greater threat to Rachel and everyone she loves?

Like what you read? I hope so.

This contract news got me thinking about series endings. I recently plowed my way through the netflix instant episodes of a BBC television series called Torchwood, about a team of alien hunters who work above the law saving the planet Earth from certain destruction. Although there is talk of a fourth season, the show had ostensibly been concluded with season three. And in a very dark and morose manner, leaving me depressed. Now I love series. I'm an urban fantasy chic by nature and that stuff is all about series. Particularly series which feature the same main protagonists. But it takes supreme talent to carry through quality for an entire series and end it on the perfect note. I'm not sure Torchwood did that, even if the writer/producer felt he'd took the artistic risk on his vision. It had all the important pieces almost perfect up until the end. But if I walked away aching for the main characters and not feeling any hope, as I did, the end didn't work.

In book series there's an art to matching the nature and severity of the conflict and the development of characters to the perfect number of volumes. Draw it out too long and the reader feels she's getting the same old, same old. Boring. Have your characters finish growing too early in the series, already reaching their final development and the magic leaves the story. On top of it, if you can't end delivering on hope, I'd say the series has not done its job. Hence my complaint about Torchwood.

I feel comfortable with my vision of four books. I believe the number does justice to the overall story conflict, and gives me enough room to answer all of the questions and resolve the relationship issues between my main characters. If I end this series as I intend, there's nothing to say I cannot revisit its world in another form. I've even played with the idea of doing a separate third person story set in this universe once I'm finished with the first person story of Rachel and her adventures.

What do you think about series and what makes for satisfying conclusions? Who has done it well? Who has jumped the shark? There's a wide difference between authors who write a series from the same protagonists' perspectives and those who write stand-alone but related volumes. Share your opinions. It can only help this poor author struggling to deliver the goods for her readers.


EmilyBryan said...

I'm always impressed when an author stretched the character and/or relationship arcs over several titles. I'm afraid that's beyond me. Kudos to you!

Michelle Picard said...

Thanks Emily. But I don't believe for one minute that this is beyond you. You just have to stumble onto the right motivation and idea for yourself. Although the most important thing is satisfaction as a writer. If a series is not what brings you the satisfaction, then there's no reason to write one. Especially if you're already writing the kick-ass books you do.

Dalton Diaz said...

I love series books because even if you don't continue with the same characters, there's usually a glimpse into their lives. It feels like visiting old friends.

Victoria Morgan said...

I follow a lot of series and some work and some don't or wear thin. I do believe the pivotal point is that characters have to grow in them. I have no problem with how many books, the more the merrier, but if the characters remain stagnant, so does the series. I'm having a little bit of a problem with the Stephanie Plum series, It's feeling like same, old same old. But I'll probably stick with it. Good luck with your series, Michelle! I can't wait to read the rest!