Again with the Series…Some Just Can’t Get Enough

When has a series run its course?  How do we know that it’s over or that there needs to be more?  What is it about a series that attracts readers?

First let’s talk about what makes up a series.  To me, a series is an ongoing story that involves either a single character, multiple characters or a single storyline all through several volumes of books.

Trilogies, for example, would not be categorized as a series.  They are a set.

Spin-offs, like Doctor Who and Torchwood, so secondary characters then get their own series. But, some spin-offs might be reimagined tales such as Pride and Prejudice vs. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which are normally just a reimagining of a single tale, or set of stories.  Some people will count a spin-off as a branch of the original series, but many truly are their own series or just a one-off.


People love to be emotionally stimulated.  They want to invest in a character or storyline and watch it develop.  If authors are clever enough, they can keep that character interesting and keep that storyline fresh throughout many novels.  Sherlock Holmes, for example, is a series that depends a great deal on characters to keep people interested.  Between 1887 and 1927 Arthur Conan Doyle wrote 60 stories of our beloved Sherlock.  We see a continued love of Sherlock and interest in his adventures through reimaginings or adaptations in movies and television series.  Sherlock, staring Benedict Cumberbatch and Elementary starring Jonny Lee Miller prove that some series can thrive far beyond the books, and beyond the life of the author.Elementary






Ian Fleming died in August of 1964.  He wrote 12 novels and two short stories for his infamous James Bond 007 character.  James Bond 007 novels- In Order.  But, as you know, even after Fleming’s death, readers couldn’t get enough of the UK secret agent and several other authors have continued the series and we will see James yet again on the big screen this coming weekend in Spectre.  There are now over 50 books in the series, many of which were turned into movies.







There are many more long-running series:.

The Boxcar Children 125 books

Choose Your Own Adventure 185 books

In Death has 50 books in the seriesIMG_2204

Perry Mason has 82 books

La Compagnie Des Glace by French novelist George-Jean Arnaud -98 books

Hardy Boys 190

Nancy Drew 175


While researching for this blog post I found an incredible list of prolific writers.  There are writers all over the world who write series.  The idea of series writing has been around for decades.

Prolific writers

Christine Feehan with over 70 books total

Nora Roberts with over 200 books total

Philip M. Parker 200,000 books

Dame Barbara Cartland 722

German novelist Prentiss Ingraham 1000 novels


I think people love to see growth in a character.  We want to believe that our story, our personal story, continues and we grow and our lives remain an on-going adventure.  We choose our companion, be that James Bond or Eve Dallas and they travel our journey with us, perhaps with a bit more excitement and adventure than what we want for ourselves.  We invest in them.  We love them.  We are fascinated with them.  And we feel satisfied knowing that “the end” just means “until we meet again”.

What series do you love?  Have you invested in a series and hope it never ends? What authors do you feel write wonderful series books?  Are there some series that you think SHOULD come to an end, and if so, why?



About Sheila Clover English

International speaker, business woman, author, mother, wife and owner of seven dogs. I love people, am an advocate for animals and stay up too late at night reading books.
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6 Responses to Again with the Series…Some Just Can’t Get Enough

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    Great questions! I loved Jennifer Estep’s Mythos Academy series, and at first I was sorry it was ending. Then I read it, and she ended it in such a great way, tying so many different threads together, that I was in awe. So now that her new YA paranormal is up, you can bet I’m reading it.

    If I love an author’s books, I will follow their other books, too, but there are always characters I love more than others. I don’t like the books in a series to be too cookie cutter, because then I get the ‘I’ve read this and don’t need to read it again’ feeling. I’m not going to name names because I loved the first few Sookie Stackhouse books, and then they got too weird for me. So obviously, I’m not a great judge. :mrgreen:

  2. Mary Hughes says:

    Hi, Sheila,

    I love series! Nero Wolfe, Eddings’ Belgariad, and the In Death you mentioned are all favorites. A good, satisfying ending can actually make the series better, I think. Though if I love the characters, I’m sad to see that no more stories are coming. But I’ve also seen good series ruined by the author not staying true to what I love about character–a trilogy with a love that spanned the ages was destroyed for me by a sequel where the widowed hero remarried. Then I go back and read Harry Potter 🙂

  3. I’m an In Death fan, too. And I love a number of other urban fantasy series. But I do think sometimes the author needs to wrap things up. The Stephanie Plum series was so funny at the start, but I think it went on too long, with the author trying to keep the love triangle going longer than it should have. The series that work well over a long time are ones with a mystery element, in my opinion. Like In Death and Sherlock Holmes, there is a specific puzzle to solve, yet we also have a larger ARC of character development from book to book. Series that simply throw characters from one disaster to another are less successful, because there is no sense of direction. IMHO. 🙂
    Michelle Diener`s last blog was …Mistress of the Wind on Sale

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