Sequels, Series, and Spin-Offs

© Digitalpress | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos
© Digitalpress | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

I’ve known for quite a while that I have a weakness for sequels, series, and spin-offs. Considering the abundance of series lining bookstore shelves, I’m not the only one. What makes them so popular? Several factors come into play, but there are four in particular that I believe contribute to the success of a series.

Great characters. One of the biggest reasons I keep reading after the first book is that I fall in love with the characters (or at least very strong like) and I want to spend more time with them. Usually it’s the main character, but once in a while it’s a secondary character that really interests me.

Great plot. Sometimes even if the characters aren’t that intriguing, I’ll keep reading a series because I want to see how all the plot threads come together in the end. I need to know what happens!

Great concept. There are times when the setting or premise of a novel is the most compelling aspect that draws me in and makes me pick up the next book.

Great writing. Maybe the characters are a little flat and the story borders on unoriginal, but the way an author puts the words together makes reading such a pleasure that I gladly overlook other flaws.

The best series include all of the above, but even if they only have one or two, you might be rewarded for hanging in there. One novel I read only had concept going for it, but the sequel was a pleasant surprise. Book two had a complex, fast-paced plot and the characters were much better developed.

I’ve also chosen to not read a series because the first book ended too well. I didn’t want to go through the drama of two more books just so the main character could end up right where book one finished.

What’s the biggest factor for you? What makes you keep reading a series? What makes you stop with book one?

©2012 Kim Vandel

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