How much is too much?

Book series come in many sizes. Nobody’s Princess is a series of two books. Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon has three. Harry Potter consists of seven novels. And a variety of mystery series extend over ten. But, when is a series complete?

There are signs that a series is becoming too long. The issue I notice as I read is that the characters become over extended and predictable. Villains begin to have similar backgrounds, motives, and plots. The main characters repeat actions and mistakes instead of growing from the experiences of before. And from these aspects, I can pretty much predict where the novel will end and what path it will take to get there.

These signs can appear at any time. It could begin to show in the third novel or in the fifth. The number of books in a series truly depends on what is being written. However, as a writer, I feel a three book series is a good average goal to begin with. It’s not an over whelming number and it can grow in size as needed.

But, what do you think? How many books do you feel should be in a series? What are some of the signs you begin to notice when a series is becoming too long?

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4 thoughts on “How much is too much?

  1. Jennifer Lane says:

    Interesting question, Kelsey. I’m just starting to write the third book in a series and I think it will be the last one, since a trilogy often feels “write” to me. But I’m a fan of the Outlander series by Diana Gabladon and besides wishing she had a more aggressive editor, I’m glad she’s working on the eighth book. There seems to be a lot of story to tell.

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  2. Magan says:

    Interesting ponderable! I was just thinking about this with the Sookie Stackhouse series. This last book really didn’t pique my interest as much as some of the others and she just introduced eve more players and situations into the plot…it’s making me think that this series is NEVER going to end. Which I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing…

    Tell me does Death’s Island have a sequel in the works?

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  3. Robin DeJarnett says:

    Three or four is about my limit, I’m finding. I got stuck on book 7 of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, and bailed on Sookie when it switched from True Blood to Faeries R Us. I have made it all the way through JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series, though the last book resembled Z’s book a bit too much.

    I don’t think I could write more than 4, but I guess that remains to be seen, since I’m still fighting with number 2!

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