December 17, 2012

Does your YA Series do it Right?

During December, I'm reading YA. TONS of YA. And I've been sharing my thoughts on twitter under the tag #YADecember.  This weekend I shared some thoughts on series YA, and thought I'd plop them all together on here, too.

Many of the new YA books on the market are one of a series (yay for the authors!), but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be an AWESOME read all on their own. Unfortunately, I think quite a few were written as one stand-alone story with only vague ideas for a series, and that comes across in the read.

Anyway, here's what I blabbed about:


  1. Melanie,
    I just have to comment :-) Although I am an adult urban fantasy / romance writer, I read TONS of YA (I also loved Divergent & Insurgent!) I have to wonder if it is the advice the authors are taking, rather than a lack of planning on their part. Or, very well could be a combo of both...

    Here is the dilemma new writers (I'm one of them) hear from editors, and probably agents, when writing a series: Book 1 must stand one it's own. I fought both editors I worked with tooth and nail not to rip out the tracks I laid for the rest of the series. Finally, I just overruled them in a few areas and did what I think works best for the integrity of both the first book without sacrificing the thread to Book 2. As a result,I truly believe the first book satisfies fully, but leaves a few loose ends that are not annoying yet are necessary for the next book.

    Given that the book is currenty on submission to a major publisher, I guess I will find out how my bets paid off.


    1. It sounds like you took a very careful, planned approach to me :) I hope it does work out!!

      I think publishers are a HUGE influence--as you said, it's not all about the author's planning or lack thereof.

      Sometimes, publishers want a series when in reality the book wasn't planned as part of a series. Those Book One's seem to end in the middle of the story--often, because you ARE in the middle of the story. Other times, major arcs get squeezed out, making Book One seem one-note.

      Authors can only control so much of how their books are planned and marketed. What I hope for is a complete story arc in each novel--along with tidbits and questions that leave me wanting more in another book. What I dislike is when you think the bad guys dies, only to discover he miraculously survived on the penultimate page--which is purely to set up the next book. SOMETHING should come to a conclusion in Book One.

      I'm in the middle of writing my first book in a YA series. In Book One, my MC's world only encompasses certain concerns. But by the end of the book, she has changed, and the plot has been resolved...BUT her realm of concerns has broadened, leaving the potential for her to engage in further shenanigans that we know little about in the first novel. Like you, I hope it works out! :)

    2. Melanie, Thanks for replying! I look forward to seeing your first book in the series :-) I've just subscribed to your blog, so hopefully, I will see more as it develops. Best, Liz

  2. Oh, nice tips. I'm going to get my hands on DIVERGENT, then. Good post.

  3. Oh, DIVERGENT was good, wasn't it! And I've been indecisive about reading CINDER. Is it worth it?
    I have to agree, I've noticed several YA authors who immediately plan their entire plot over a series. It tends to weaken the individual books - as if they figure 'Oh, they'll have to read the whole series anyway.'
    :) YA can be very addicting!

  4. I see what you mean. I've always been told it is good to leave strings in a book that you can pull from if you write another.

    My blog is all about YA :) Glad to see you are dedicating a month to finding great YA reads!



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