1. Jade
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    Jade Active Member

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    Ending of one book in a series?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Jade, Oct 15, 2008.

    Well, I'm not quite sure how to explain this, but I will try.

    I am writing a series of fantasy books at the moment. I think it will be a trilogy. My question is whether it is suitable to end book one in the middle of an event? For example, MC escapes the bad guys, and then I end the story with him setting out to rescue another character from the same people? The time period between the final scene in book one and the first scene of book two would be about an hour.

    So is it acceptable to leave one book without being concluded? Would this be frustrating for the reader? Or should I aim to wrap it up properly and have each book like a separate event, with start, middle and ending?

    Hm, not sure if this goes in plot creation or not, so sorry if this is the wrong forum.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Unless you are an established writer with a contract for a series, you should write the first book (at LEAST!) of a series as a standalone novel. You may personally have plans to continue the arc through a trilogy, but don't even hint that to a prospective publisher!

    You'll have a tough enough sales job selling a single novel as an unknown writer. To ask a publisher to take a chance on a series under thoise conditions is almost laughable.

    So give your first book a clean closure. You may not be able to prevent the war, but let the first book end in a solid victory, like the first Star Wars movie (first issued, not first in storyline). If it's a good plan for George Lucas, it's an even better plan for you!
     
  3. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    NEVER NEVER NEVER end a book in the middle of something!! Even if you ARE an established series writer!

    Take a look at some published trilogies/series out there and see how many end right in the middle of something. I'm betting it's the minority. There are books that end with some issues left unresolved and these may be taken up in future volumes, but readers often consider it very lousy to end right in the middle of things just so you force them to read the next book. Even if they're already dedicated to reading the whole set, it's not a nice thing to do.

    Even in a series each book should be able to stand well enough on its own. Keep in mind some readers might literally stumble upon your books in the middle of things and might not have had the chance to read the earlier stories yet. (It's happened to me.) It's good to keep plots confined to one book for such readers. You might not solve the big overarching plot issue in Book 1, but you solve the issue raised by that particular book. Take a look how some TV shows do this. The cops usually resolve the crime by the end of the episode, though their personal lives and troubles go on beyond that and spill over into future episodes.

    Some people get away with ending in the middle of things, but as a series writer myself (not published, I admit), I find it a very lousy practice, and very offputting. If the writer can't wrap up the plot nicely in one book then why should we think they can do it in the next?
     
  4. Jade
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    Jade Active Member

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    Thanks for the replies :)

    I'll try and condense it into one novel, and then hope to get that one published first. Again, thanks for clearing that up.:cool:


    EDIT: Cogito, when you say about an unknown writer, how do I go about becoming a 'known' writer? Do you mean writing and publishing short stories first?
     
  5. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Jade,

    always end each book with a established ending, something that gives closure-even if it is a series. What you don't want is to leave something hanging..prime example was a sci-fi book that was written by Newt Gingrinch...it ended with what someone could assume was a nuke bomb going off over london, and there were no more books coming so you don't know what happened next...

    never do something like that unless you can help it. "The betrayal" ends with a clear-cut ending even though I'm working on a prequel and a sequel while editing it...for the exact reasons that Cognito said.
     
  6. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    I think he means a published writer whose books have become reasonably popular.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Yes. Someone whom the publisher knows he can sell because there is already a market for that person's books.

    In that case, the publisher would be delighted to have a contract for more than one book!
     
  8. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    To answer original question: Never end a book in the middle of the action. Even known writers complete an entire idea with one novel.

    The second can open like the story never stopped but it must have a definite ending.

    As far as becoming a known writer. All books I have read lead me to believe that if you want to write you will not be stopping your day job anytime soon.

    Personally I am entering short story and novel contest to try to get my name out there. Any short that does not make it I am trying to get e-published for pretty cheap.

    Word of mouth is good way to get started and get your name out there
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    'known' in that sense, as cog explains, only refers to being successfully published and your name being known to the general book-buying public, not just 'out there' by 'word of mouth'...
     
  10. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    I know that Mia, I was just saying that word of mouth is a good way to get to be eventually known by the general book buying public.

    A lot of bands out there started off in there garage with word of mouth to get big
     
  11. ReplicatorJade
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    ReplicatorJade New Member

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    I personally think its more thrilling when you end a book/story like that. It actually does 2 things(in my opinion):

    1)Annoys the reader, because they want to know what happens.
    &
    2)Makes them buy/read the next book to find out what happened.

    Its like in Empire Strikes Back, when Han Solo was captured. It ends without knowing what happens to him.
    Or even in like the lord of the rings trilogy, a major event happens at the end of each that gets the audiance wanting to find out what happens in the next story/book.
    Its very dramatic!
     
  12. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    How lucky were these storytellers? Very, I'd say, because what did they have before that? Tolkien had, like, the Silmarillion, which was a prequel. And Lucas had like one other movie before the Star Wars thing. They got lucky.

    They also became very, very successful.

    But they were lucky.

    It's better not to risk it if you're a new, especially unpublished writer.
     

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