The Sunday Session – What Are Your Thoughts On…

….. series novels. As in, writing the same character in a series of books –  for example Kathy Reichs’ ‘Temperance Brennan’; Michael Connellys’ ‘Heironymus Bosch’; Chris Carters’ ‘Robert Hunter’ and so on. There are many more but right now these are the 3 that come to mind.

I have a love-hate relationship with these types of books. While I love the character development I find that once I know who this person is (and approaches situations the same way – like most people) the stories become monotonous; there is no climax apart from the story line. I’m currently reading the Robert Hunter books by Chris Carter and I’m onto the second book. So far, I’m loving this character – but this is only because we’ve only just met and we’re getting to know each other.

Do you think you’d ever write a character series? Is it too much committment? Too restricting? Or is it a concept you cant wait to try out?

Discuss 🙂

About Virginia

Writer, reader, crossword puzzler and conspiracy theorist.

13 Responses to “The Sunday Session – What Are Your Thoughts On…”

  1. Even when a character is fully formed, understood, and defined, they can still be challenged, beaten, caused to question their own beliefs, given impossible decisions… it just depends how mean the author is feeling.


  2. Nice piece of writing today. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. i dont mind it as long as the characters continue to grow and develop but in many case they do stall, I think the secondary character that are introduced really do influence this they have to develop every bit as much as the main character and the relationship between them has to be believable


    • I agree. I found that with the few series I’ve read the characters havent been given challenging enough situations and I knew from the start of the story how they would tackle a certain situation. That’s not fun for me as a reader.


  4. As a reader, I like series novels because they give me the illusion of actually sharing a character’s life, not just a story. That’s very appealing to me!


    • I feel this way about the Kathy Reichs’ Temperance Brennan series’. Even though I’m taking a break from her books, I do ‘miss’ Temperance – after 8 odd books I feel like she’s a friend of mine 🙂


  5. I’m actually not a huge fan of series that feature only one main character throughout, and that’s probably why I haven’t read all that many. I like to explore character, but usually feel that one novel is enough to capture the essence of what the person is about. Any more than that seems to drag out the suspense unnecessarily.

    I do find myself writing novels where each one features a different character in the same story world, so the appeal for me seems to be more about the story world itself and not the character.


    • Oh, ok, I see what you mean. I can’t see myself repeating story line or character so it’s very interesting you saying that. Would you place different characters in similar scenarios or entire plot lines all together?


  6. Umm, since I am in the middle of writing a series of stories around the same character I feel that it is an acceptable practice. I mean look at the success of Sherlock Holmes, Inspector Morse, Winnie the Pooh! (ok, that last one might be a little teensy stretch.) One thing I am doing is slowly releasing information about the main character through the various stories, not all at once, and not repetitively. Another thing is that I am putting him in different situations, so he is not faced with the same problem over and over again. Lastly, I have a main connecting plot that arcs throughout. So I hope that I have addressed the major issues that detract from serials.


    • You’ve hit the nail on the head though – putting your character in different scenarios. Thats the key to a strong recurring character; the change of scenery for him/her. Maybe it’s the genre I’m reading (crime) but then again, yes, Sherlock Holmes never gets boring. I don’t want to mention the series I have silently dedicated this post to because I really do love her books but I felt that the character simply was not challenged enough. Having a character go through the same motions book after book not only tires the reader but makes the character go extremely stale. In this case, the story line needs to be strong regardless of how established the character is. Let me say character one more time because I simply have not said the word character enough!!


  7. I actually prefer series novels to stand-alones. I’m writing a series myself, working on book 1, but in each book different things happen that will challenge her. My series will only be 3-4 books, so not a long series.


    • I think thats where the magic number comes in – more than 5 in a series just exhausts the character. Just like a tv series that jumps the shark, characters are very susceptible to that too.


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