I swear, it feels like every time I break my personal rule (don’t start a series still in-progress) it’s 11th grade and The Wheel of Time series all over again. I just want closure! I just want the end!
I know books take a long time to write and it’s hard to force creativity and life is busy and there are all these other commitments eating up their time but I just
I just want to know who wins the Game of Thrones.
I just want to know if book!Jon Snow survived the stabbening. (I mean, probably yes, obvs, but some written confirmation would be great).
And while I’m on the topic, Patrick Rothfuss and Brandon Sanderson are breaking my heart, too. I mean, c’mon, Rothfuss! It was 4 years between Name of the Wind and A Wise Man’s Fear, and it’s been six years since with a single novella that isn’t even from Kvothe’s POV, an announcement of a video game and TV show, and NOTHING on the pub date for The Slow Regard of Silent Things?
And Sanderson. Gods. Sanderson. So prolific. So inspiring. It’s reassuring, honestly. I mean, you look at the sheer amount of books and series he’s got published (completed and in progress), and the publication dates– every year, another book or three– and it’s like, oh, it’s safe to start one of his series. This won’t be a decades-long exercise of agonizing, suspended satisfaction.
I made the idiot mistake of starting The Stormlight Archive, which (like WoT, GoT and TKC) is set in a politically and socially complex world with a large cast of characters. It’s great. It’s meaty and in depth and breathtaking.
And the first book was published in 2010, the second in 2014, and the third is slated to be published this year (a promise I’ve heard before–I’ll believe it when I see it).
So in the best case, it’s a 3-4 year wait between books (but they’re getting written and published, so yay!), or, if it’s anything like what happened with Jordan and has been happening with Martin and Rothfuss, it’s pushing back publishing dates, delays, announcing aaallllllllll these other spin off projects, and just … endless waiting.
And I feel awful for being impatient, I really do. I get that these are humans with lives, not entertainment machines to dance for my pleasure. Rothfuss and Martin have both historically reacted really poorly to expressions of fan impatience, which I do kind of understand– I can’t imagine the pressure of fame and contract. And, I mean, they’ve got all these other projects going on. Plus, I understand at least one of these guys (I think Rothfuss) is actually the stay at home dad to an infant/ toddler, and I know what a distraction that can be.
But still. At the end of the day … the spin off projects only exist because of the fan base from the original (unfinished) book series.
I understand success must be a unique frustration and pressure in and of itself, especially for a writer (who, generally speaking, is not like the actor or comedian in seeking the limelight; the writer hides their face behind the page, and sometimes their name behind pseudonyms), but I also think it’s valid for fans who just want story closure to express frustration at the incredibly visible decision (because of the interview circuit and blogging and vlogging and tweeting about it) of authors to dedicate the vast majority of their time and resources to all these other projects.
I mean, it kinda feels like their books aren’t getting completed or published because they’re not getting worked on very often, and their anger at their fans when asked about publication dates is borne (in part) of defensiveness.
I’m not saying they aren’t getting worked on at all– Rothfuss has posted video of him writing to refute such accusations, and Martin has released sections on his blog. I’ve never thought they just gave up.
I’m saying it’s more like … I have a goal of writing 1,500 words a day, 5 days a week. The days John is working. In a good month, that’s 30,000 words. Except I usually write more in the range of 2,500 words on an uninterrupted 5 hr writing day (John works 8 hrs, but Kiddo gets out of school n dinner won’t cook itself), so that’s more like 50k/ words per month.
Obviously, I’d prefer daily output to bump that up to around 70,000/ month, or almost a complete draft. And if I had the resources (like, say, a best selling series), I would probably make arrangements to sequester myself for one or two months of the year to do exactly that.
But I don’t have those resources. And I do have a lot of demands on my time. Housework, meal prep, subbing, budgeting, research, and high-priority household projects with deadlines (taxes, applications, disputes, etc). And there are only so many hours in a day, and my family wants to spend time with me too, so my average writing output is around 3k a month.
That’s a huge difference. I’m still working on my book, but there’s no world where you can argue I will realistically have a manuscript to submit to a literary agent by 2018 when I’m working at a snails pace of 3k words per month. And that’s the situation I think Martin, Rothfuss, and (to an extent) Sanderson find themselves in. Too many balls in the air, not enough hands to juggle.
The worst part is, I actually have reading guidelines I try to stick to. I started this stupid fluff series in 8th grade that just ended after book 3, no continuation or resolution, and I promised to myself then that I would never read an unfinished series again unless:
- Each book can be read as a standalone (eg, Vorkosagan Saga)
- It was nearly complete (1 or 2 books away from resolution).
- The author has demonstrated publishing consistancy and it’s a really good book.
Even with this, I often bite off more than I want to. The Green Rider series by Kristen Britain? Yeah, when I began reading that, I wasn’t married and it was supposed to be a trilogy. The sixth book was published in 2016, and honestly? Good writing, not a lot of closure. Felt like it was still laying plot lines for another book.
But I was okay with that because I had Harry Potter, and J.K. Rowling met the requirements of Rule 3, and (for the first few installments), Rule 1.
A lot of times when I pick up a book to read, I’m not even looking to “get into” a series. That’s how I got hooked on both the Stormlight Archive and Kingkiller Chronicles. At the time I read the first book in both of those, they were the only one published, and I didn’t realize they were the first books of planned series.
I only started reading Maas’s Throne of Glass series after quick research reassured me that a) 5 out of 6 books were completed; b) she published on a steady schedule; and c) book 6 was slated to release in 2017.
GoT, though, that’s all on me.
In my defense, I started reading it in 2010, with 4 books published and the 5th slated for a 2011 release, after hearing it was originally planned to be a trilogy but ended up with two extra books because the author wrote himself into a Gordian knot. So I thought the series was all but wrapped up, and it wouldn’t be this big emotional cliffhanger of falling in love with a story that won’t commit.
Should’ve known better. Hate to say it, but male authors, dude. They’re like bad boyfriends. They have the sweetest words, but just keep disappointing you.