Blog/ Writing

Sequels, series, expectations

I’m one of those people who, when going to a restaurant that I’ve been to before, almost always orders whatever I had the last time I was there. If it’s Cup and Saucer, it will be the World Famous Garden Scramble with seasoned tofu, no cheese, and a scone. When I think about that restaurant, I’m already remembering what that particular meal tastes like, and how delicious it was last time. I am, in other words, setting myself up for repeating that experience as closely as possible.

But what if the cook at Cup and Saucer has something else to show me, breakfast-wise? What if I’d like it even better than my current standby? How am I going to know, if I never branch out?

I think for a lot of us, sequels and series are like That One Thing We Always Get at restaurants. We latch onto something in a book — a character, a setting, the rhythm of the writer’s prose, the way magic works or doesn’t. And then we want to experience it again. And again.

I totally get that, as a reader. (And, clearly, as a diner.)

But as a writer, I want to mix it up. I want to tell different kinds of stories in different ways. And yes, I also want to write new stories where characters I’ve already created show up — but maybe not in the ways, or the roles, that readers were expecting.

Which is a long setup for me to say two things: first, that I’m so grateful to the readers who’ve been willing to order The Rules for Hearts, even though I didn’t make the same dish that you enjoyed last time, and second, that as interested as I am — along with much of the rest of the world — in what happens to Harry & Co., I’m even more interested to see what Ms. Rowling writes next.

Y’all: what writers do you like who work in different genres/styles/etc.?

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  • Talya
    July 20, 2007 at 3:33 am

    Well, my favorite all-time author is E.B. White. I love his children’s books. I love his essays. I love his New Yorker editorials. And I love, love, LOVE ‘Here Is New York’ (of course). I’m also a big Mary Ranault fan, and her writing seems to fall into two main categories (ancient Greece and post war England).

    I know I owe you a real email (or possibly, a letter). I’m getting some time off in the next few weeks and I’ll do a big catch-up contacting-of-people then

  • sara
    July 20, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    E.B. White: yes yes yes. His essay Good-bye to Forty-Eighth Street (did not know it was online via Google Books until just now) gave Steve and I our code for an object that is for vague sentimental reasons impossible to get rid of: “a chip of wood gnawed by a beaver.”

    And you know, I am also a big Mary Renault fan, but have only read the ancient Greece books. Postwar England awaits!

  • justine
    August 11, 2007 at 5:18 pm

    my favorite authors are Laurie Stolarz with her Blue is for Nightmares set,Sarra Manning with Lets Get Lost,and Cate Tirenan with Sweep.Of corse i have many other favorite but those are the ones i can remeber and have read over and over.Oh i also love Nancy Garden with Abby on my mind and Good moon rising.Nancy is also a glbt wrighter,ive only read those too books of hers but so far i like her work.Ive read Empress of the World twice and have orderd The Rules for Hearts,so im happy im going to be reading that.
    I think my favorite part in your book would have to be when she says “one more time now:words dont always work.”and when Katrina came into Nics room and when crazy with “Climb every mountain”that was too funny.Ill have to send you a real E-mail when i get time.
    ~Fiona more recently Justine (im playing with author names.i want to be an author so ive been trying to think up names so far the best ones Justine.)