Friday, June 5, 2020

Saying Goodbye

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

Earlier this week, I got a note from a reader of my Booktown Mysteries. She wrote:  "I can't bring myself to read on. In every good series there are twists and turns, good & bad,,but killing off (SPOILER) has broken my heart."

A writer never wants to hear that a reader has given up on her work. (Yeah, ouch!) But despite losing this reader, there is a silver lining to this dark cloud.

I'm sorry she feels that way ... but you know, the fact that I was able to make her care so much about that character means I succeeded as a writer.  I brought life to that character. He meant something to her, something that will stay with her for a while. But that also means that she cared more for him than she does for Tricia, Angelica and the rest of the Booktown characters, and that makes me sad.

I'm also sad to know how she isn't interested in how the characters will survive this turn of events. 

I'd hate for her to miss the next book in the series. I wrote that book while my mother was in hospice dying. It kept me going when I felt like I'd lost everything. How I ever wrote such a fun book during that terrible time still amazes me.

Of course, there're more hard times ahead for Tricia and the other Booktown characters because that's what storytelling is all about: conflict. When there's no conflict, there's no story.

I thanked her for reading the first x-number of Booktown Mysteries, and I invited her to check out the other six series I write under my real names. I'm pretty sure she won't give them a chance, but that's her decision. When I write a book, the most important thing I consider is characterization, even over plot. Apparently, that's what keeps readers coming back for more. 

Have you ever given up on a series in the middle? If so, why?


Sandra said...

I don't want to say I gave up..but I just haven't been able to read any more of Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone series...ONLY because I can't bare it to be over.. I love all of her regular characters and I don't want that door to my escape to close.

SandyG265 said...

I gave up on Laurel Hamilton’s Anita Blake because the characters got so far from what they were like when the series started. Also there plots got lost and the books started to be mostly about kinky relationships which wasn’t something I wanted to read.

LuAnn said...

I can't say I've ever given up on a series. There are so many other books to choose from I just move on.

Kim said...

I have not given up on a series that I can think of, however, I have forgotten about a series before and when I rediscovered it, it somehow seemed different:

Eva North said...

Good Sunday morning, I kinda understand where she's coming from, but after griping and asking why, I liked said character, I keep reading because I can't just stop in the middle of a book or series, it's an ocd thing. I don't remember stopping reading in the middle of a series to never go back to it, stopping reading in the middle always makes my curiosity come out to write the story how I would think it could've come out. It is interesting to know about other readers and why they've stopped in the middle. Have a great rest of your Sunday.

John P. said...

Yes, I have given up on a series when the main mystery tends to become an after-thought and secondary issues become the main focus. Another thing that will make me quit reading a series is when the story is so slow that it fails to hold my interest (and number of pages is not a factor in this regard).