1. Archnenna
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    Archnenna Active Member

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    Do all books in a series have to be about the same length?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Archnenna, Aug 31, 2015.

    I don't know if I will ever publish, but still, I'm kind of an order freak and this bugs me. Do all of them have to be around the same length?

    Book 1: 251 pages
    Book 2: 249 pages

    Program: Microsoft Word 2010
    Font: Times New Roman
    Size: 12

    I'm halfway through book 3 at the moment and I don't know if it will even reach 200 pages.

    What do you guys think? Has anyone here written a series? I would like to hear experiences and opinions.
     
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  2. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Of all the series I can think of, the individual books have varied in length. The obvious one is Harry Potter, where Book 5 is about 4x as thick as Book 1 on my shelf. But of course that was an unusual one, as the editors didn't have much say by Book 5.

    According to Amazon, The Hunger Games books are 464, 480 and 464.

    His Dark Materials are 448, 368 and 544.

    The Chronicles of Narnia go 192, 252, 220, 250...

    Basically no, I don't think they have to the same lengths. You probably don't want to be switching from novel to novella within the same series, as novellas would usually be released separately as bonus material or some kind of prequel, but a 20% difference shouldn't be an issue.
     
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  3. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've read series where all books have been of almost exactly the same length (The Foundation Trilogy, all books are roughly 150 pages). I have read series where later books became longer and longer (Mortal Engines, last book is about 3-4 times the length of the first), or short and shorter (Caster Chronicles, last book is ~100 shorter than the first). In some series the length of the books seems more random (Tunnels, the second book is the longest, book 1 and 6 the shortest). So, I guess it's quite fair to say that there is no real need to keep the books of the same/increasing length. Might still be a good idea, though, to try and keep all books novel-length.
     
  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I've also read a number of series where books have varying length. Malazan Book of the Fallen, Wheel of Time, Moorcock's Elric books (early ones being closer to consistent in length), Steven Brust's Dragaeran books, and so on. I don't think it matters, unless later books are just getting longer because thy're not being edited well and just drag on (e.g. Robert Jordan).
     
  5. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Just off the top of my head, I would say if your final book is shorter than the previous two, it really shouldn't matter. Nobody is going to refuse to read it because of its length! They'll want to know the end of your story, won't they?

    Whatever you do, don't pad it out just to achieve word count. Especially near the end of a story, padding can ruin the momentum of your ending. Just keep writing and see what you end up with.
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    The Twilight and Harry Potter series weren't the same lengths. The Fifth Wave had different length books. Lillith's Brood was originally a trilogy with each book shorter than the previous.

    So the answer is, make your third book whatever length suits the story.
     
  7. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    A lot of series get longer as they go. The plot gets more complex, plus the author has established fans and established publishing relationships that make word-count less important. But if one's shorter than the others by 50 pages I don't think you have a problem off hand.
     
  8. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Frank Herbert's Dune was a very long book. Its first sequel, Dune Messiah, was much shorter - maybe a third of the length of the original. There's no rule or convention that books in a series have to be the same length.
     
  9. Jeff Countryman
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    Jeff Countryman Living the dream Supporter

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    I don't think they do unless you say upfront that it's a trilogy (or a set number of books in the series). For some reason, I just have a sense that a trilogy should have equal length books. If the 'series' is open-ended then try different lengths and even some spin-offs with novellas if certain characters and/or story lines seem to need it (fans want it?). I think the only disappointment would be a 400,000 word debut novel (really long and deep) followed by a sequel that is only 70,000 words.

    Over the past several years I've enjoyed reading Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series (historical fiction/romance) and have come to 'expect' long (super long!!) main novels with novelettes on the side. It's taken her 20 years of writing to accomplish this and she continues to write the series at the same lengths.
     
  10. Archnenna
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    Archnenna Active Member

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    Thank you very much, everyone!

    To answer some questions, no, it is not a trilogy. There are seven books planned. I have this story stuck in my head for a long while and I just have to write it. It doesn't matter to me if it does or does not get published.

    The reason I asked is because usually, as someone pointed out, the longer the series, the longer the books. And even if I don't publish, I was just curious about how it goes.

    Once again, many thanks! :)
     

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