This is Getting Series-er and Series-er…

I spent a good chunk of my lunch hour organizing today. Trying to figure out exactly how much stuff has to go into my novel in order for it to be a complete story.

I’ve never been a huge fan of the kind of book where you get to the end and find yourself wondering where the rest of the story went. I always feel a little cheated.

And I feel more cheated if I happen to get in on the middle of a series, and the “rest” of it isn’t even available. Sometimes, I’ll “wait” for the next installment–or more precisely, I’ll remember it exists long enough to get it–but most of the time, I won’t. Half the time, if I do go back, it’s more a coincidence than anything else. Bumping into an acquaintance on the bookstore shelves. Fancy meeting you here!

I don’t want to write one of those books. In fact, for a long time, I didn’t want to write anything but stand-alone, non-series, non-related books.

I’ve backed off the no series thing. (Well, I’m having fun in one of my worlds.)

But I still want the books to stand alone.

I am just barely squeaking by on that goal. And I need to pinch every single word really, really tight to get there.

When I’m focused, I think I can do it. When I let myself look beyond my outline, and see the entire behemoth of a rough draft I have fermenting in my hard drive… I’m not so sure.

So, my question for tonight is… Tell me about the times you’ve picked up a series, and felt like the first book just… wasn’t all there. Tell me about the ones you’ve waited for, and kept reading, and the ones you put down all together. What makes the difference?