Thursday, May 31, 2018
I need your input, please
More specifically, I need the input of those who've read some or all of the books in my "Maxwell Saga" military science fiction series. I've been pondering the future of this series, and I've come up with some ideas: but they may not satisfy my readers, so I'm giving you the chance to weigh in.
When I began the Maxwell Saga, I was a novice fiction writer. It was my first series of books, and I had a lot of learning to do. I still think it's a pretty good series overall, and obviously many of you do too, as your reviews indicate. However, because it was my first effort, there are areas where it lacks the finer touches of later series. If you compare it to, for example, my current "Cochrane's Company" trilogy, the latter is obviously better written, flows more evenly, and shows greater character development, plot progression, etc.
I pre-plotted the Maxwell Saga to include about a dozen books. So far, I've written five, with a sixth in preparation. However, I could just as easily take the plots of the last six books in the series and use them in one or more new series - perhaps shorter ones such as a trilogy, which means people don't have to drag on year after year waiting for more, and perhaps getting tired of it. I've heard several negative comments along those lines from readers I like and respect concerning other lengthy series of novels (which I won't name here, out of respect for their authors). I don't want to fall into the trap of writing "formula" fiction, where a series becomes boring and/or each new book becomes predictable. I'd rather keep my readers interested, entertained, and guessing!
I'm therefore considering ending the Maxwell Saga on a high note with the sixth book. My protagonist, Steve Maxwell, would triumph over an old enemy, and be faced with a life-changing decision as to his future. His choice will allow the series to close positively, rather than negatively, which I prefer (and I think my readers do, too). I would then move on to more books, probably using elements of the plots I'd worked out for the seventh through the twelfth Maxwell books. However, if my readers want the Maxwell Saga to continue, I can go on writing them, striving to make each new book (hopefully) better than the last, and avoid the "series burnout" trap.
Therefore, I'd like your input, please, readers. Which option would you prefer? End the Maxwell Saga on a high, positive note, and clear the decks for more and different series: or continue it, probably at a slower pace, so that I can produce other new, shorter series alongside it? Please let me know in Comments.