As I begin plotting the final book in The Conjurors Series, I noticed that it is by far the hardest book to write. It feels as though the stakes for my protagonist have never been higher, and it can be intimidating trying to ensure that she lives up her potential.
Faced with such high expectations, I looked at how other successful authors have successfully tackled ending their series. Below are the tips I found most useful as Valerie embarked on her final adventure.
Keep up your momentum and passion for your series.
Whether your three books in or twelve, by now you’ve probably invested hundreds of hours and maybe even several years of your life to the characters in your series. You’ve analyzed the character traits of your protagonist so many times that she starts to feel like an annoying family member who won’t leave you alone. But readers who have grown to love your protagonist want to see her make her final stand with flair and walk into a satisfying sunset. Remember how excited you were to plot book 1? Make sure that same energy pervades every last sentence of your series.
Reread your series to make sure you complete all of the storylines you started.
There is nothing that makes me crazier than a series that doesn’t tie up all of its loose ends. Whether it’s a character who is introduced and then disappears or foreshadowing that never results in anything, I find that the disappointment of a missed connection can sour a series that I’ve otherwise enjoyed. You never know what tidbits your readers will remember, so be sure that you don’t leave any holes in your story.
Show readers how much your protagonist has evolved (or devolved, as the case may be).
A good series has its protagonist evolve not just within each book, but over the series as a whole. When you’re wrapping up your series, remind readers of how far your protagonist has come. In the last book of the Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay, Katniss revisits District 12, where she grew up, and we are reminded how she went from being a scrappy kid fighting for survival to the inspiration of a revolution that changed the country.
Take time to say goodbye.
You don’t need to write a farewell speech for each of the key players in your story, but take time to give readers a sense of closure for the characters they’ve become attached to. Also give yourself a chance to pause and realize that your epic has at last reached its ending. For yourself as well as your readers, it’s okay to slow down in order to punctuate that this is truly The End.
Let readers know how to find your future work.
Especially for self-published authors, it’s critical to have your contact information easily accessible to readers who want to continue to read what you write in the future. Whether it’s your website, Facebook page, or even Twitter, provide venues for fans to stay in touch. You’ll be glad when the next book of your new series comes out to have a built in fan base who already likes your style.
- This post on The Editor’s Blog on setting up a series.
- This post on Standoutbooks on what to consider throughout your series.
- This post on my blog on creating a series bible.