Monday, October 3, 2011


When the time comes do you end your series with sweetness and light or with a high body count? How do you say ‘good-bye’ to your characters when a series ends?

Do you end the storyline in such a manner that you can never go back unless you tap the unsatisfying (in my opinion) ‘revivalist’ trick of a dream sequence, or mistaken identity or a miraculous recovery.

Do you end the series in a manner that leaves the possibility, as unlikely as it may be, that all or some or a few of the characters could return?

Do you choose an interesting secondary character and spin off a new series?

The decision to end my series became reality while I worked on the sixth book, The Innkeeper: An Unregistered Death. I am grateful for the advance notice that gave me the opportunity to start pulling in the nine book arc I’d thought the series could be. Knowing two years ahead of time gave me the distance I needed to begin to find what I hoped would be satisfying conclusions to the characters’ stories.

It was a gift and a curse. 
As I began to write this last book, I started by doing something I’d never done with the other books. I outlined. I outlined points I wanted to make, situations from earlier books that I wanted to wrap up, relationship resolutions. I had outlines for secondary characters even some tertiary characters.

Then, I experienced something that had never happened before with the earlier books…writer’s block. I sat paralyzed by the thought that I didn’t have the next book to expand a theme, develop a character, massage a plot twist or resolve a relationship. I sat dead in the water at my computer, fingers frozen over the keys while I reviewed my outlines. 
Who has struggled with this dilemma? I’d love to hear how you handled, The End.

If you haven't yet read all six of the previous Grace Marsden Mysteries, you can read the first chapter of each one and then purchase the ebooks for just $.99 each -- but only for a limited time -- at

1 comment:

  1. What a tough decision! I'm not sure what I'd do, but I'm leaning toward the idea of at least leaving some door cracked open. No matter what it seems now, perhaps one day you'll want to revisit one of these characters again...