I know my last two blogs here have been somewhat . . . down. Over several months I’ve slowly been discovering something about a number of modern readers which I never suspected: They don’t like series. This genuinely flummoxed me because there’s nothing I like better than to engage with a world and its inhabitants, make friends with them, and come back to visit again and again. I’m re-reading The Vampire Chronicles right now for just that reason. So it’s been hard to see, time and again, readers knocking stars off reviews because the story wasn’t finished in one volume or something wasn’t explained straight away. Even worse, I know that when Out of Egypt surfaces it will suffer exactly the same problems as Dark has, because this story isn’t nearly done. It’s like a buried chest whose corner has poked its way up through the dirt; if I dig, I’ll uncover it a piece at a time, until it is above ground and ready to show me what’s inside.
In fact, it’s been getting so’s I began to doubt Out of Egypt would ever see the light of day, let alone the rest of the series. My enthusiasm was knocked clean out of me. I started to do a bit of research on the internet to see if there really was a trend against series, or if I was being paranoid (which, let’s face it, I often am!). And I came across an absolutely wonderful blog by an author called Laini Taylor, whose books I hadn’t read, but I jolly well will now. In it she managed to say all the things I’ve tried to in the last two posts, only much better than me. If you want to read perhaps the most well-put explanation of why we write as we do, then please read her delightful blog at http://www.lainitaylor.com/2013/02/hugs-for-series-readers.html.
Because, really, she’s right: these things aren’t under our control. We can’t choose to make a huge story fit in one book any more than we could fit a quart of milk in a pint bottle. When we begin, all we see is the corner of the chest, sticking up through the earth. But that’s the thing with corners; they look the same on something the size of a shoebox as on an export crate, and until we’ve dug it out, we don’t know how big it may turn out to be. Without the faith of readers who are willing to come on a long journey with us, and share the waiting as well as the story, often there can’t be a story. It’s our livelihood and we have to either do well enough to survive at it, or abandon it for something else. And I really don’t want to do that. I started this because Dark himself was so loud in my head that I had to either write his story or be haunted for life. If I don’t finish what I’ve started, you can bet the bugger’ll still be there in twenty years’ time, never giving me a moment’s peace.