How to Screw Up Your Novel: The Series Cheat

A Writer's Path


by Larry Kahaner

I just finished reading a terrific book, except for one thing. The ending was a cheat.

Every book must have one.

The author composed a quirky, clever main character with an animal sidekick that acts as a contract killer upon command. Very cool idea. The book moved fast, had an absorbing plot and the writing itself was workmanlike (one of my highest compliments) and even contained some flashes of wordsmithing brilliance.

But here’s the problem.

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3 thoughts on “How to Screw Up Your Novel: The Series Cheat

  1. Excellent post and one I completely agree with! I won’t get involved in a series in which the author leaves the ending unfinished, forcing me to purchase the next book. If I see a review like that on Amazon, I skip the book completely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are some authors who have a series of short novels to which are sold like an ongoing television series. I don’t purchase those either. Sometimes the author will have a series where the story line of that book is complete but at the end, they may introduce some aspect to tie it into the next book. These are okay. You get insight into the next book and can decide if you want to purchase. The main thing is for the author to be upfront about their series in the description. Is the book completed or does the story line continue into future books? No one likes those type of surprises. You don’t want to alienate your readers by giving them a surprise like that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m of a like mind, Kim. I don’t mind those elements that are introduced that will continue into the next book (I’m doing it myself with my Point Pleasant series) but I do want the main story line to be resolved. And you really made a valid point that the author needs to be upfront if they’re going to leave the story line hanging at the end of the book. Short novels that are sold like an ongoing television series is a great description of a lot of stuff I’ve been seeing out there lately–and generally avoid!

        Liked by 1 person

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