And I like the cooler weather, having a fire in the fireplace and associated coziness.
Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is weaving in overarching plot lines in a long-term stories, and how to keep those dangling, to-be-continued threads from dangling so much that they distract from the simpler arc of a particular book.
The thing is, you're always going to have readers (YOU PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE!) who are going to
Or not even a cliffhanger, but taking TOO many books to get to some promised event. There was a famous author (*cough* LKH *cough*) who burned up so many books with her characters NEVER getting a ball that was only a day away to begin with, that I know someone who literally threw the book against the wall in rage - and gave up on the series.
#ProTip: This is BAD and not the reader reaction we want.
Now, I know I'm an offender in the "but I thought we'd get to the big conflict already" category in more than one series. Still, I'm really trying to steer clear of LKH-level offenses.
The key to managing those big arcs and keeping them from distorting the individual stories lies in both ends. The individual story arc must be complete and the overall arc should be simple.
Complete individual story arc
This is where LKH ran afoul. Each book needs to have a beginning, middle, and end. I know this is basic stuff, but stick with me. The protagonist needs to change in some way and accomplish a key goal. This goal, ideally, should be one piece in the larger arc. If all of these things happen, then the reader will feel satisfied at the end - with at least THAT story.
Simple overall arc
The simpler the overall arc, the less it distracts from the individual books. The example that springs to mind is George R.R. Martin's monster epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. The overall arc is SO complex and overriding, that the individual books are really just installments in one massive story. He's a brilliant writer, and his genius lays in the subtle weaving of this complex arc - but it's so overwhelming that there really is no complete arc in the individual books.
What say you, readers - do I have this right? I'll entertain arguments.