How long should a book series last?


By Alberto Pupo

What is the sweet spot for the length of a series? Should one keep writing and churning adventures with no end? Or should one try to keep the tale concise and direct? The series is a very popular vehicle in fiction. It is a way to tell a long story (and yes, sell more books ahem). But I love it because it allows creating a world and helps me develop characters to the point that they become family. When is it time to stop the tale? When should your character go off into the sunset?

A series is a fun thing based on perspective. I love them, but at the same time, I feel there must be a limit as well. One example of a series I loved but I felt went on way too long was The Wheel of Time. In this case, Robert Jordan, unfortunately, passed away before the conclusion of the series and Brandon Sanderson stepped in to complete it. While he did do a great job finishing a very long story we as readers are left wondering how Robert Jordan may have finished it. Should he have completed the series in less time?


The other problem that we as authors face with a long-extended series is running out of creative juice. Truthfully this lull can even happen in something as small as a trilogy. A series is a very complicated endeavor that takes us to the very brink of creative madness! (But it is worth it).

So, what is the sweet spot? What would you say is enough books to finish a story truly? Is it all relative? Readers, how long can you usually tolerate in a series before your attention drifts off to find the next tale?


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