Saturday, May 9, 2009

When Enough Is Enough

We all love a good series of books, they are rewarding as you read them and should not only be satisfying at their end but should leave you with a passion that makes you want to talk about them with your mates. Personally I love those discussions where you and your friends have all read a series, have your own favourite characters and enjoyed particular parts of the books and relive the book and those moments when you talk about it. But the question I raise here when is enough enough and does this notion impact on fantasy ebooks?

It is a rarity to find a fantasy book that is not part of a series and this is for a range of good reasons, which include both tradition and demands from publishers but to me you do need to have a good length to a story, part of why you pick up a written work is to get immersed into the land, the characters and their plight. I really do not see that happening in just a single story, for me if I enjoy a world that has been created I want to expand my experience in the land and become a part of it and that means more than one episode. I have read a couple of what I term short books from the Forgotten Realms series put out by TSR, in the old days, but they were supplements to series for example fleshing out the history of a particular character or providing some short stories of parts of the world that I was already familiar with from reading other series, thus I already had an exposure to the storyline, without it I do not believe that these stories would have been as enjoyable.

So from a reader’s perspective I fully believe that a multi-book series is a positive aspect to my enjoyment of a writer, their world and their characters but it can be taken too far. Recently some friends and I were having an email conversation regarding a new MMO that was being developed using Robert Jordan's 'Wheel of Time’ series and one of my mates put forward this rather frank view, “I bet [the game will] never be finished just the like the series. Actually I can see it being just like the [written] series, and most other MMO's, where the first levels (and books) are awesome with atmosphere galore and then it becomes a tedious go nowhere grind fest. The author died before finishing the series possibly because after the millionth wasted subplot line his brain exploded.”

From a writers and creators perspective I love the idea of letting people become more attached to what I create, for to me it’s about creating that engagement, letting you all experience the joy, good times and fun that I have had not only in developing but also gaming in the world that I have created. It’s a chance to give something to you all. So for me it’s about the story that you create, the world that you develop, and providing it succinctly rather than draw it out. Kerry Packer was a media magnate in Australia and his network was the most successful in that country because he founded it on what was actually good media rather than drawn out rubbish, the world of writers should look to do the same.

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