1. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Is it a good idea to write a completely different book in the middle of a series?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Link the Writer, Mar 20, 2011.

    Okay, let's pretend for a moment that you're writing a sci-fi series. Four books in, you decide to put that series to a halt and work on a historical fiction about a war.

    Would the readers find it jarring or irritating that you'd do that? Is it a good idea to finish the sci-fi series first before working on that historical fiction?
     
  2. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    If it can logically fit why the hell not at least try it?
     
  3. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    You mean IN the book?

    If it's a separate project you're working on, and this is to do with being a published writer, no one's going to care - they'll read it if they want to read it, and the ones who don't will probably be mildly irritated they have to wait a little longer between publication of one book and the next in the series. Almost no one will buy all your books at once, and read them in publication order with no breaks or any other media to interrupt.

    Now, if you mean there's a random chunk of historical fiction in the middle of your sci fi novel, we might have more to talk about. :p
     
  4. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Historical fiction in the sci-fi novel?

    How will that work? You mean like an extended flashback of something that happened ages ago? (Like if the book were set in 2121, yet for a few chapters, we're sent back to the year 2002?) A book like that would just irritate the crap out of me. "Yeah, yeah, I get it. Some guys long dead did something. Who cares?" and I'll be flipping to a chapter when I'm finally at the guys I care about.
     
  5. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    If you get that far you can do whatever you want, but, yes, it will annoy the reader. Case in point: George R.R. Martin. But don't let that bother you while you're writing your new novel bathing in the sun on the back of your private yacht.
     
  6. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I'd doubt I'd go that far and have enough $$$ for a yacht, but I appreciate the sentiments. XD

    Still, I'm curios as to how historical fiction would work in a sci-fi novel...
     
  7. Silver_Dragon
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    Silver_Dragon Senior Member

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    If you had a few books done by the time you got the first one published, it would definitely not be a problem as there would only be one published per year or so. I agree with Guamyankee that delaying the release of the next book in your series would annoy your readers. Also, I kind of doubt that newer writers would be able to get away with the kind of delays between books that GRR Martin has. I think publishers would be stricter about your deadlines than they are with really high-profile authors.
     
  8. Annûniel
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    Annûniel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've seen authors frequently do this. As a fan, I can't help but dramatically shout, "Noooooo~!" with my fists raised. :p

    But in all seriousness, feel free to drop a project of a series in order to write a book about something completely different. Your work would probably suffer some by forcing yourself to continue to write a series when you're heart wants to work on a different project.

    Just be sure to go back to the series and finish it. You don't want sad fans.
     
  9. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    As Lemex said, try to fit them together. If I was torn between the two, I'd try to fit them or merge them. You know, maybe throw in some history to back up your science fiction. Weave the two together.

    At the moment, I'm writing a three book series. The first is going to be fantasy. But the second I figured out early on would be science fiction. Why? I know it's not the most practical idea ever, but I equally love fantasy and science fiction. So to compromise I'm doing both genres in a single series.

    EDIT: Heh, that wasn't much of a good answer. Let me try again: Hmm, in my opinion, it could be good, it could be bad. If you've built upon a science fiction foundation in your first four books in a series, your readers might get turned off by the historical fiction. They began to read your books because of its science fiction basis. But then again, if you can blend the two in a good way, your readers might enjoy the merge immensely.
    It's all in how your write the books.

    By what I can tell from previous threads you've written, Link, you like variety: Mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction, and whatever else. So try to merge them. New things can be done. Just write something you'd enjoy reading.
     
  10. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    If you can multitask it along with your other novel in the series so your next installment comes out around when readers expect it, cool. Go with it. But if it means pushing back the due date of your installment, it will piss of fans of the series and is probably something to avoid.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    first, you would have to be successful enough to have fans...then you'd have to have fans who're rabid enough to even notice if you didn't turn out the next book in a series in a certain period of time... and finally, you'd have to have a publisher that would let you off their contract hook long enough to turn out a different book, before you finished the contracted-for series...

    given all of that, i seriously doubt any readers would give a flying fleep if you did it, since how could they know another series book was planned, or not, anyway?...

    however, if any did, publicizing your hiatus to write a historical novel would spur advance sales of both the 'break' work and your next offering in the series, thus making the time-out a win-win situation for you and your publisher...
     
  12. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Orson Scott Card and Iain (M) Banks comes to mind. Orson Scott Card does the Women of Genesis stories alongside his SciFi. Iain Banks writes detective fiction, Iain M Banks does sci fi (hopefully have that the right way round).

    I am not published, but have a small fan base. The people that read my stuff seem to cope with my genres being all over the shop. I have several different things going main ones being High Fantasy (one adult/one YA), Paranormal pensioner detectives and I have a new crime duo. Also have other bits and pieces. Find the people that like my writing tend to read most of it or have their reasons for not reading parts.
     
  13. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    I'm not sure what the question is,
    Including historical fiction in a sci-fi or work on as a seperate piece?

    In Sci- fi everything...well almost everyhting is possible.

    Working on two seperate pieces,

    I currently have at least seven different stories I am working on. One will inspire me to work on it above the rest, the others sit on the back burner until they are the motivating story.

    You must be able to keep the stories straight and the characters seperate, but it can be done.
     
  14. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Good points, y'all.

    I guess if I can write different stories at once (I can), it's all right. The "wait" between the books wouldn't be that long.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    and who will care if it is?
     
  16. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Well, the wait between Harry Potter Book 4 and Harry Potter Book 5 was three years! By the time the fifth book came out, I got sick of waiting for it and moved on to new interests. I pretty much skimmed the last three books to get an idea of what happened. :/
     
  17. Silver_Dragon
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    Silver_Dragon Senior Member

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    Depending on how successful you are, the publisher might not contract your whole series anyway. They might just have an option on your next book (meaning you agreed in the previous contract to submit your next work to them before going to any other publisher) in which case you wouldn't have a time limit. I think signing a contract for a whole series is more for cases where sales of the next few books are assured.
     
  18. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    If they are hooked on the series, they will wait for the book.
    Your readers will want the best book you can produce. If some other work is distracting your mind, but you force yourself to work on this piece, it might not be your best work.

    Also I think that setting a work aside to simmer can help keep the writing fresh.

    Day 233 of writing book three of a five book series, but got to keep going...

    I think my saying applies here;

    Don't let the work of writing, ruin the fun of writing.
     
  19. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Allan Drury did this in his "Advise and Consent" series. He wrote four novels of the series, with the fourth one ending in the assassination of one of two members of an American presidential ticket. Each represents an opposing side of the American political spectrum (the combined ticket is a compromise), so the assumption is that whoever survives will swing presidential policy his way. The only problem is that the book ends without the reader knowing who was killed. A few years later, he published "The Throne of Saturn", a book that is not actually part of the series story line but which uses many characters from the A&C series. Still no hint as to who was killed. Several years after THAT, he comes out with two novels in quick succession, each one the story of a presidency assuming that character lived - sort of a Lady and the Tiger ending writ large. I've always assumed that Drury couldn't decide how to end the series in a credible manner, and so he copped out with this ending. Perhaps the spinoff novel was a way to procrastinate.

    Even more interesting, his next novel, "A God Against the Gods" was set in ancient Egypt. But he never got back to the vibe he had in the original "Advise and Consent".
     
  20. Bay K.
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    Bay K. Contributing Member

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    It depends on your 'professional' commitment to your readers.

    Are you obligated (say, by legal contract) to churn out books in the sci-fi series at certain intervals? Then, it is your 'professional' duty to complete the series and not be side-tracked by your new idea of a historical fiction.

    However, if your relationship with your readers is informal, then you can simply put out a memo after book 4 of the sci-fi series that the muses have 'possessed' your mind and are compelling you to commence a new piece. But that when released from their demands, you will return to the series.

    Or, you can simply take quick notes on the brainstorms you have for the historical fiction, getting a general feel for it, then continue with the sci-fi series.
    When you have then satisfied your adoring audience with the sequence of fantastical events, you can divert to the historical piece and expand on its ideas --flushing out the details.

    After these suggestions, if you're still in a dilemma, ... there's a bar around the corner. :)




    -----------------------------------------------------------
    Be good, wise and strong --or don't be at all
     
  21. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    To be honest, I don't think I can multi-task with stories. I get too flustered with the idea that there are a lot of first drafts floating around to be worked on. I like to work on one thing at a time, get it done, then move on to the next project.

    So I think it would be a good idea, if I were ever in that situation, to finish the sci-fi series before I got into the historical fiction.

    EDIT: I like bars. =)
     

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