I have a rant. Granted, in the end it will impart a lesson, but first you must endure the rant.
I hate, HATE, when a series of books has a million books in it! There are a few exceptions to this rule. The exception exists when the author has a predetermined number in mind in order to tell the story. The Harry Potter series is a good example of this.
Why are these series so popular? Here’s why. Readers are greedy. They want to know everything there possibly is to know about the universe in which their characters reside. Why is that wrong, you ask? Because, it is also greedy on the part of the author.
I understand the author wants to please their readers. And, I understand the need to dig into every secret of the story. I admit, I’m one of those fans who must immediately go to Wikipedia and read about the movie I just watched because I loved it so much. I read about the movie, then about the writer, then the director, and so on. But, I would be upset if they continued to make more movies that do not contribute toward resolving the story.
In real life, stories don’t really end. I suppose the story of a single individual ends upon their death, but their story continues on with the people they’ve touched with their lives.
But, when it comes to fiction, you have to have the end-game in sight at all times. Readers, despite what they may say, want finality and resolution to the story, they want to feel that the story has come full circle. Once the story is “over,” then the full appreciation of it can begin. Now, analysis of the story as a whole is possible.
To me, if you can’t tell the character’s (or the universe’s) story in three books, you should probably rethink your approach.
The two genres that are the most prominent offenders are Fantasy and Science-Fiction. I lost count of how many books are in Robert Jordan’s “Eye of the World” series. And, I’m sure the books are great. But, at a certain point, I must throw up my hands and say enough is enough. I just want the story to end, and for the entire series to be building up to that ending. A trilogy should only be a trilogy if the story is so complex that you couldn’t possibly finish it up in a single book, or two books. Anything beyond that, in my opinion, is selfish.
What do you think? And, if you disagree, what is your legitimate, and objective reason for liking a long series of books?