I read a really interesting review of a series of books, The Wheel of Time:
As I am enjoying ‘The Game of Thrones’ by George R.R.Martin, I wondered if I might enjoy this saga too. However, I was more interested in the review which made some pertinent points about reading and readers. Reading a series of books about characters, or a series which continues story and plot lines is a great commitment, it can be quite an emotional commitment… and the writer has to be aware of this! You don’t want your readers to end up hating you if you kill of a beloved person, or take the story-line in a new and different direction!
The Wheel of Time was written over a twenty-three year period by Robert Jordan, and later Brandon Sanderson, is composed of fifteen books, over four million words, a huge body of work, and many hundreds of hours of reading. The reviewer, fantasy writer Ash Silverlock, had mixed emotions, no doubt satisfaction that the saga was finished, sadness that there would be no more to come, and mixed emotions about the finale. “… I did still feel a definite sense of loss – as if I knew that there was an old friend whom I was never going to see again, at least not in the same way (gulp).”
A definite sense of loss… I’ve felt that when finishing a book, especially a good book, or at the end of a series I’ve enjoyed such as the Joe Faraday novels by Graham Hurley, or when a favourite author dies, such as Reginald Hill, creator of the Pascoe and Dalziel novels.
I have also experienced that sense of loss when I finish writing a novel… it is so tempting to carry on past the conclusion with the characters’ lives! I mentioned before that my characters do continue their stories in my head, but I am reluctant to write sequels or to follow their lives. Maybe I’m not brave enough, maybe I think their futures are not interesting or dramatic enough, maybe I have other stories to write. Most of my characters are very ordinary people, who lead very ordinary lives until some dramatic event impacts on them, and it is how they meet the challenge of the disaster or face the adversity which makes the novel.