Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Monday, August 02, 2010

What Makes You Drool?

I am on a family vacation and trying to finish the last five chapters of a novel. Not quite the great combination it seems like it would be. “Sorry kids, Sorcerer’s Apprentice is out, while I finish this romance scene.”

Actually it’s much more like, “Well, I guess I can always write tomorrow.”

Anyway, neither leaves much time for a blog post. But I am not going to flake out here. Instead I want to ask you a question I’ve been giving a lot of thought to. My hope is that Demon Spawn is the kind of novel people will really want to read the second book of. No huge cliff hanger here, but a lot of story left to be told. One of those, “Wow so now that X has happened, what will characters A, B, and C do? And what’s going to happen to E & F?”

That’s how I feel about the next Hunger Games book (which actually has no ARCs. Sorry, Sariah.) I’m both excited and nervous. Excited because there seems to be a lot of story left to tell, and nervous because I hope it will live up to my expectations. Unlike, a lot of readers, I felt like book two was less than I hoped. It felt to me like both a placeholder for book 3 and a retread of book 1. Not that I didn’t like it. I just had higher hopes.

So, boys and girls, my question for the day is: What about a book/series makes you just salivate for the next book? Examples are highly encouraged.


At 8/03/2010 10:22 AM, Anonymous Wm Morris said...

This doesn't quite have the tight narrative arc of something like Hunger Games, but I always eagerly await the next Vlad Taltos novel (by Steven Brust). That's a series that has really grown over the years and aged well.

And I haven't started it yet, but I'm really looking forward to Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings series. I couldn't wait for the follow ups to Mistborn to be published.

Then there's Patrick Rothfuss's The Name of the Wind, but we really shouldn't go there...

At 8/03/2010 2:14 PM, Anonymous Emily M. said...

For me it's not so much about plot threads left unanswered as it is whether I want to enter into that world again. Do I love the characters and the writing enough to spend more time with them? Unanswered questions are nice, but I can think at least one series I've never bothered to finish because I just didn't enjoy the characters or the writing enough, and I knew I could easily find out what happened soon after they came out.

Good examples: Shannon Hale's Bayern series, all self-contained, but all with characters I love and want to spend more time with.

Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy. The ending of Hero of Ages is one of my favorite book and series endings ever.

Diana Wynne Jones, the Chrestomanci books, especially the first two.

Although I'm more interested in spending time with the characters than unanswered plot questions, something interesting has got to happen to them, or the book falls flat. For example, the fourth book in the Anne of Green Gables series (Anne of Windy Poplars) is more about Anne's interest in others' lives than anything interesting happening to her. It's not my favorite, even though I love Anne. So the balance has to be just right.

At 8/03/2010 3:44 PM, Blogger Michael Knudsen said...

For me, there has to be a main character I somewhat identify with who wants something desperately and can't quite get it. Book Two is my promise of having that "something" delivered, or at least moving furhter along that journey. The great series fantasists (Jordan, Martin, Sanderson, J.V. Jones, etc.) pull this off book after book. Sure they irritate some people with what is perceived as their slowness at getting another book out, but as long as each volume has SOME satisfying resolutions, I'm on board for the long haul as long as tension remains high.

At 8/03/2010 7:13 PM, Blogger Dana said...

I agree with Emily that if I really enjoy the characters in a series, I find myself looking forward to the next book. I don't necessarily need the plot line to leave something hanging. In fact, some of the series I enjoy the most are ones where the books are self contained. A prime example is Traci Hunter Abramson's Saint Squad series. I love the characters enough that I'm always looking for the next book to come out.

At 8/03/2010 11:30 PM, Anonymous Anna said...

I loved Betsy Brannon Green's Hazardous Duty series. They didn't have huge cliffhangers, but I still wanted to read more.

At 8/04/2010 4:10 AM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

Seriously, Jeff, you name your characters A, B, and C? :)

At 8/04/2010 11:10 PM, Blogger Taffy said...

I had a hard time waiting for the next installations of Harry Potter and Twilight. I wanted to know what the next hurdle would be and how the characters would overcome them and, hopefully, grow and maybe teach me something along the way.
Also, the Mortal Instruments series intrigued me and I was FORCED to read all three books.
I'm getting more reluctant to read trilogies though. I read the first, want to skip #2 and read the last. But what if I miss something in #2??
I hear ya on feeling nervous. I feel that way about James next book! Do I REALLY want to read it? It makes my head tickle just thinking about it.


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