1. Rumwriter

    Rumwriter Active Member

    May 11, 2011
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    Series with or without an end?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Rumwriter, Apr 19, 2012.

    When reading/writing, do you prefer a series that expands out into an infinite world? Think Star Trek, or Star Wars, or Discworld, where the books don't necessarily follow a specific storyline, but just continue in the universe. I know a lot of them have ghostwriters, but in general, is this a poor way to think about your writing?
  2. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
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    Massachusetts, USA
    Only in make-believe do stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. In the real world, and in the better sagas, there is a murky history before the first story, and an unknown and uncertain future after the final page.

    But the best stories have a strong arc. Currently, I am re-watching the Babylon 5 series. Its five year arc, divided into five chapters by its architect, begins in the turbulent final days of the Second Age, and ends with the establishment of a new Interstellar Alliance.

    Asimov's Foundation series begins when few see the hastening collapse of the First Galactic Empire, and ends with the second Galactic Empire not yet realized, but well on track, where we finally see the two forces set in motion by Hari Seldon to insure the Plan would keep its course despite unpredictable random complications.

    The same with Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series - the twilight of the Elves and the rise of the time of Man.

    Two of the Star Trek series were structured around times of great change as well. Deep Space Nine was structured around the war against the Dominion, and Enterprise was built around the founding of the Federation of Planets.

    A third Trek series, Voyager, didn't focus on an interstellar turning point, but in the long journey of a single vessel and her crew in their quest to return home.

    I also read quite a few mystery "series". But although there may be arcs that cross more than one book, usually they are open series, only tied together by a central character or characters.

    Still, I do like to return to characters I have come to know and appreciate. I do like it when an author has more than one set of characters and locations, though. Sometimes nothing more need be told about a character, and it becomes just more of the same.

    Overall, for series, I prefer ones that form a closed arc, covering a monumental change of direction. Yes, there is an untold past, dimly glimpsed but with moments of clarity, and a suggestion of an imperfect future. But the arc has a well defined commencement, crisis, and resolution.
  3. John Cleary

    John Cleary New Member

    Apr 7, 2012
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    Does not matter

    Babylon 5 is one of the most underrated series ever. It has outstanding stories and arcs all weaved together and interlocking. It's hard to add anything new to what Cogito said, however whether your world expands out into an infinite or not, or has an end or not, for me, has little bearing on the story's quality.

    Be true to your story and invite us into your universe through the strength and interesting journey of your characters. Good luck.

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