Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Is the fat lady singing??

Recently I've come to a conclusion. It's a painful one, one that required several bottles of wine & vodka to admit out loud. Sniff...sniff I think some of my favorite writers, the women I adore are writing past their shelf life. Yes, there I said it. If you're going to throw things please make sure at least every other object is shiny. I'd like to get something out of this abuse too, ya know?

So it's out there now, floating around the viral universe simply waiting for enough people to come lynch me. And still I find no remorse, no sudden desire to take back the words or change my opinion.

First off no, I'm not sharing the names of these talented & amazing writers. This is a blog. It's my opinion (and ya know what they say about opinions). Therefore the names of the innocent and guilty will remain hidden.

How did I come to this conclusion you ask? Simple and shocking all at the same time. Tuesday rolled around, I skimmed through the new releases, saw what used to be my BFF of series writing & thought "huh, didn't know she had anything out." Ummm, wow! Used to be I'd haunt the bookstores in hopes of snagging copy accidentally put on the shelf early. Having been the poster child (young adult) for crutches & ankle surgeries I even once got a clerk to get me a copy of this author's book a almost a week and a half early. I went in on my crutches, looked as pathetic as possible & simply begged. Explained how I'd been in the hospital for the next two weeks and unable to get the book. Either this woman wanted me to shut up or she did the pity thing. I got my book. I read the whole thing in one sitting. Now I don't even pay attention to when a new release of hers comes out?? Yep, I think she & these characters have spent too much time at the ball. Bow out gracefully & with a bang that will have your readers cheering & your characters living on in our minds forever!

The second author who left me drunk & shaken...She deserves bad bad things. I mean really bad things, like drinking wine out of a box, or forced to use Dollar store hair dye or (shuddering) made to lie naked in a tub full of slimy frogs!! Yes, I'm that mad. While I can't give away the story let me just say the author is a plot teaser. Yes, you heard me right. She teased me with a certain angle, kept me dangling then BAM walked away just as I reached the point of no return, the big one!! Now a new book is out & I'm supposed to buy it. Why? Seriously why would I buy the book when I know it's not going to have the ending she's been using like cotton candy vodka on a stick? I now know how Charlie Brown feels as Lucy yanks the football out from under him...every time. Yes, I understand this is my problem & my issue. There are readers out there, I'm sure, who love the direction her books are going and can't wait to get their hands on each book as it comes out. Sorry to say I'm not one of them anymore.

Another author built a great series. I mean a truly great one. So good I must have read the first four or so books several times each. Then the last book hits the stands. Picture me, hours later, mouth hanging open, eyes blinking in shocked stupidity as I finished the last page. DO WHAT??? Granted the author wrote just an amazing story as always, but she shoved at least two complete stories lines with four different characters smooshed in one short book. Talked about rushed and feeling incomplete. Build up, build up, build close, oh oh oh so close...yes! yes! yes...THEN NOTHING. Left hanging on the edge with no climax in sight. Now, I feel cheated, angry & in the mood for chocolate. Just like I do after a bad date...and it's over and I'll never get that oh so good feeling back again.

As a writer of several series this makes me quakes in my fashionable yet shiny shoes. My friends, I hope, would stop before I book teased my readers this way. Many of you know, you've read my work. My series end. Club Botticelli is ending in November with the release of Romancing Recee. My Poseidon series has an ending all planned out as well. Ten books is it, my limit. Unless, of course, Hollywood comes knocking with a twenty million dollar offer. Well see ya!!! Yes, it hurts to say goodbye, but I'd rather go out sparkling in afterglow then left panting and waiting.

The flip side of this there are some really great series out there that only continue to get better and better with each book. So I'm not trashing all series, all authors or even all connected books. I think each author needs to take a good look at the characters themselves. Are they still speaking to them? Do they have new stories to tell? New adventures or love to find? I always say let the characters guide you or else you'll send left panting, sweating and with no release in sight!

So there it is, one admittedly, warped, writer's view point. Let the arrows fly, the oil bubble & just be kind and leave the frog behind!!


Paul McDermott said...

Interesting you choose to comment on SERIES,and how to decide when "enough is enough".
I personally happen to think that JK Rowlings is overrated, and making TWO separate films out of the ONE book which ended the HP series was crass commercialism.
But where DO you draw the line? How many stories about the Bobbsey twins did Laura Lee Hope write? Should we consider THAT to be "one too many"?
On my side of "The Pond", how about Enid Blyton, who wrote no less than THREE major series (and a couple of 'minors')
For anyone who doesn't know, these were the Secret Seven and the Famous Five series (both of which became TV series) and the third one was the "Adventure" series.
Us blokes have also been known to write series,of course, and NOT just for children (as both my examples happen to be remembered best for) but that's a different matter for another chat room ...

Harlie Williams said...

Since I have no clue who you are talking about I can't tar and feather you. But I will admit that there are some authors out there that don't know when to stop on a series. Oooo, drives me nut. Enough already.

Great post Allie.

Harlie Williams said...

Can't wait for November either...can you write faster? LOL!

Elece said...

Sooo, tell us how you really feel. Go on, let it all hang out. Lol! I of course have no idea which authors you are talking about (yes, I'm curious, but know it'll be forever your secret).

I am in the same boat with you. I have found several, 5 off the top of my head, of what I used to call my favorite authors, now unreadable. I haven't even purchased their latest books because I'm not willing to pay $10-$15 for them, just to be
disappointed. It's a damn shame, especially since those said authors are NYT best selling authors. For the most part, I feel as though the bigger they become, the worse they've gotten. Whether it's deadlines or fame and fortune, who knows. What I do know I've I have loved each series and it makes me pissy to not read them, but I also don't like throwing money down the toilet.

So if you, my dearest, get scooped up by Hollywood, pleeease, I beg you, pleeease, keep writing just the way you are!!!!

Hot Ash Romance Novels said...

I know what you're saying, Allie, but I've found the cure. It has to do with a personal goal of mine which no one believes I can accomplish. I want to read 1 book by every romance author out there. Oh, I know. It's not a perfect plan, but it avoids the very problem of which you speak.

Jen B. said...

There are a few books that hit stands yesterday that I will probably read sooner rather than later (I have over 1,000 books in my TBR pile). There is one, however, that I will read if I can win a copy. Or, I will wait for paperback and coupons. This is a series that was like crack to me for a while. But the last few installments had a definite WTF feel as I read them. This particular installment is about a character that really interests me, so I will read it. Just not at the current price tag.

AJ Nuest said...

I loved this post, Allie, and stand from my seat, toasting you with my VODKA martini! My problem is that once I started writing, all those authors I previously enjoyed sort of slipped down a few notches on the adoration scale. I read one in particular my whole life, just waiting and waiting for his next release. Then one day I got his new novel in the mail (yes, I'm a member of his "book club"), read the first few pages and thought, So? What's so great about that? I could write that. It's weird to me. But, the good news is I've discovered a plethora of new authors I might never have read had I not come to this startling conclusion. And I heartily agree about the series issue. Read one once where the third book was SO disappointing. It was all I could do to finish it. Afterwards, I was just mad. Why waste my time with a bunch of hooey that didn't matter at all to the characters. Bleck. I'm glad you shared. Good job!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you. I recently read the third in a series by one of my favorite authors. The first two books were terrific. This one? It just stopped at what I thought should have been halfway through the story. What? I though.
Another thing that turns me off is to learn that an author is not a nice person. Yes, I know the writing stays the same, but knowing the author is a self-centered egotist spoils his/her books for me. Can't read them.
Great post!

Caroline Clemmons said...

Don't know why my post said Anonymous. I must have clicked the wrong spot.

Harlie Williams said...

Regarding series books...I've read trilogy books and sometimes I find the second book not so good and I decide well, I'm already into it and read the third one and the third one ends up being the best of the three.

Again, don't have a clue who you are talking about. LOL!

Mona Risk said...

Yep I totally agree. Some of my favorite authors had stopped being favorite or even liked when I realized I was reading a repetition of the first and second and third book... So I stopped reading them. In general I don't like series.

Allie Standifer said...

Thanks for withholding the frogs & feathers. Green and fluffy is so not my look!
Yes, I will take the name of these authors to my grave or at least the bottom of the first bottle of vodka. The reason is this. I'm not trying to trash them. I'm not disparaging their work or writing. I'm saying that for ME the series or connected books have lost that loving feeling they once had. I'd rather op out then waste time & money.
Paul, I agree with your sentiment about the book being split into 2 movies. But heck, if they were offering you as much money as they were Ms Rowling, would you complain? I'm greedy I know I wouldn't.
Harlie, honey, it's not a matter of me writing faster. It's a matter of my publisher having the release slots available. It's one of those 'hands of fate' type deals. But I lubs ya for being so eager!!
Elece, if I ever get scooped up by Hollywood (please God) my friends will keep me grounded. Either that or they'll bitc& slap me until I come to my senses. My friends aren't sane or normal.
Ash, you HAVE to tell me more about this goal of yours and what I can do to help or hinder you. Find any good authors yet? Please share with the rest of the class.
Jen, I think I know who're talking about & I agree, but let's keep that between us, okay?
Smooches, AJ, I feel your pain. Been there, done that & ran over the book as proof.

I think, but don't know & am not claiming to know, that it has a lot to to with outside pressure. The bigger you are the more people are depending on you. Everyone wants a piece of you & your time is no longer your own. So while I envy those NY times authors I snuggle even closer to my plain mostly boring existence as an unknown author. It's more fun to break the rules when no one knows who you are :)

Debby said...

I am just a reader but there are several authors that I used to auto buy but now no longer want to even look at their book. Does not bother me though. I control what books I buy and I don't but theirs. There are so many other authors out there waiting for me to discover them.

Jacki C. said...

I had an author that I was on the pre-sale list at for. I thoroughly enjoyed the first 3 or 4 books in the series, but then the books seemed to be written by someone else - someone who didn't give a rats-poop (can I say that here?) about the characters. I find that some books are still readable if you mix Cotton Candy Vodka with a Blueberry-something SLURPEE! JAcki

Desiree Holt said...

Allie, What a great post. I couldn't agree with you more. I've been railing about the same thing for months now. Writers who build an audience then decide they can just phone it in. Or editors who decide all their authors have to sound exactly cream of wheat. To say I am disappointed a lot lately is to really understate the situation. Authors have an obligation to their readers to provide and entertaining story and when they don't I think it shows a lack of respect. So Allie, thanks for dragging this out of the closet because I think there are thousands of us who agree with you.

Allie Standifer said...

Deb, honey, there is no such thing as 'just' a reader. Without readers I would have no one to share the voices in my head with. Without readers where's the drive to keep pushing yourself & your characters. So yeah there's no such thing as 'just' a reader. & I love your attitude about discovering new authors. It's a great feeling to find a new voice & dive head first into that new world!
Jackie, you can say rat poop & more or at least I do. Yep, I agree anything can be read with enough flavored vodka to make the words swim! We should drink...err I mean read together some time :)

Allie Standifer said...

Ladies & gents, meet Desiree Holt one of the main reasons I'll never be able to phone in a book. She's mean, owns a gun & several leather whips. No worries, people, I'll remain true to my matter how weird it gets.

books4me said...

Great article and I totally agree! My all time favorite author, who has out a ton of books, has become soooooo wordy and she repeats everything several times. Drives me nuts!!

Deanna Ogle said...

Thank you for writing this. I agree, I have run across several authors recently who have developed a kind of "Murder, She Wrote" syndrome. I mean, just how many killers can there be in one small town in Maine or how many brothers or cousins can there be in an extended family? Several have tried to extend a previously very interesting and engaging series by a few too many books. I like your idea of having a set end date or number of entries to a series so all of them stay fresh and interesting. Since I got a Kindle, I have discovered a number of new authors that I am enjoying and I look forward to discovering more new favorites. Keep on keeping it real, O Goddess of all things shiny and bright.

Allie Standifer said...

So the consensus is...I'm RIGHT!! Wow, who knew I wouldn't get dead frogs thrown at me?
Yes, I know there are amazing writers who continue to put out great books. Maybe the tedious authors don't have a Desiree Holt or Nic Austin to keep them humble and reality bound. So long as I have good friends, great readers & voices in my head I think I'll be okay.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Of course you're write, Allie! (But you knew that...)

I'm not a big fan of reading series, myself, and so far I have no desire to write one. I used to love Anne Rice, but by the time I'd read her sixth or seventh vampire novel, I really had to yawn. (On the other hand, I really do love her Mayfair Witches saga - but that was only three, albeit very fat, books.)

I do think publishers share some of the blame, If something sells well, publishers want more of the same - not something different.

As for Harry Potter, I read the first book, enjoyed it, and felt that was enough.