(Borrowed from Jag Swiftstorm: http://jagswiftstorm.blogspot.com/)
"Should a 'series' be one story, or several?

What I am meaning is, are the books totally separate stories, or do they just all meld into one story?

Using the fantasy genre, an example of books that are more disjointed would be the DragonKeeper Chronicles, by Donita K. Paul. The main characters stay the same throughout the series (with the main exceptions of some dropping out in book 4, and more characters being introduced in book 2), and some of the antagonists are the same, but the storylines are separate.

An example of stories that are joined are The Wormling series, by Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry. The books are merged into one story, and even after reading them three? times, I still can't mentally say exactly where each book starts and begins, apart from the gap between books 1 and 2.

So which is right? And which is wrong? I would say that there is no right and wrong. It is simply a matter of style and preference.

However, I would suggest against being too extreme, as with anything (or just about anything).

If a series is very disjointed, then readers may not feel drawn to read the second book. If the plot has been totally finished, then continuations may be received as pointless attempts to make money.

On the other hand, if the series is totally in one part, then it may be better to advertise it as one book, rather than as a series. The Lord of the Rings is an example of a long work that is advertised and thought of as one book, but can be and is sold in three volumes, as well as in one volume. With Kindle publishing, it will be quite simple to sell the whole series as one unit.

Even if you try to write your series as separate novels, it may, and likely will, merge into one story in the later books. Examples of fantasy book series that did this are easy to name; Oracles of FireBinding of the Blade. I can foresee my series, The Arboreal Shadow, doing this, as the first three books are clearly delineated, but then the last three, and especially the last two, will merge into one storyline and one unit as the story builds up to the climax.

And yeah, I really should be working on The Rise of the Shadow now. But I'm just waiting for my current readers to get back to me. (You know who you are...)

So, I would say that the jointed-ness of books is really a matter of opinion and personal taste, as long as it doesn't get too extreme."

This, readers, was borrowed from one of my online friends (Blog: http://jagswiftstorm.blogspot.com/, by the way, if you are there Jag, thanks for letting me use your post.)

I especially like this because not so long ago I was thinking of the same thing.

My first example to clear up my half of this post.  Harry Potter.

I have read the books, but I have watched all the movies, and therefore I have at least a brief understanding of them.  Each book has it's own plot and conclusion.  In 'The Sorcerer's Stone' Harry Potter achieves victory over Voldemort.  The second book, Harry Potter defeats Voldemort again (though not as directly as the first time).

And it goes on.

I like the idea of each book having its own story, otherwise the ending will never really be satisfying.  Then again it could be a sharp cliffhanger.  Another danger would be to have the books so far apart in general the general story line, that they seem like a 'series' of random books, possibly not even with all the same characters.

However, if the whole of the story is combined and smoothly polished so it is nearly transparent to the reader (though still staying in the bounds of a clear, explained plot), I, for one, would enjoy it much more.

Doing this is often hard, and many series don't.  For example, Wayne Thomas Batson's The Door Within Trilogy is, to some extent, disjointed, especially noticeable for me between book 2 and 3.

Even Christopher Poalini's Inheritance Cycle was somewhat jagged in that area.

Now, I'm not trying to pick these books apart.  Instead, I am pointing out some of their faults so that you may steer clear of them.

To the average reader, these areas may not pop up in a reader's mind, but subconsciously it wears down at the series' likability, which is never a good thing (unless you don't like selling books...).

But back to the meat of this post (I'm trying to cut off my rabbit-trails as it's nearly tomorrow O.O).

Is it 'allowed' to write in a broken up series, or not?  And is it 'allowed' to write a series in one flowing storyline without a more final (though not necessarily the final) ending?

First off, you are the creator, it is allowed, and you have complete control over that.  As a writer, I enjoy the freedom of just creating.  No restrictions, no logic (well...) and absolutely no math.  Thus, I can do whatever I want with my story, and I like that.

(Rabbit-trail cut-off)

So, yes; of course it is allowed.  Now we go deeper in.

I think a mix of the two questions is the best (which I believe I have stated before).  A good stirring helps the story brew (as I have always said... always since a few seconds ago).

An Example:

Book 1 started off with two main characters.  Jack and Jill.  The book ended with Jack falling down a well, eventually being rescued, though.  So the whole town has one, big, happy feast.

Book 2 started out with two new characters, John and Joe.  They were Jack and Jill's little brother and sister, and once Jack and Jill were older, John and Joe went up the hill on their own first little adventure.  Suddenly, they were set upon by wild, savage wolves and John's arm was brutally scarred.  Joe ran back, her little red hair flying and wolves nipping at it in the wind.  But she made it back to the village, and there, she told the village elders of John's plight, for even then he hung dangling from a hemlock tree.  But the village elders could do nothing!  (I can't think about this plot bunny to the left right now, I'll straighten it out later).  So Silly Sally is preparing to leave with Joe, but before that!  Dun dun dun!  Book 2 ends.

Book 3 starts out with Silly Sally and Joe getting to the tree the wolves had once surrounded.  They see blood on the tree, but no John.  All they see left of him is a small trickle of blood, going from the tree off to the Magician's cave to the north.  The wolves are gone, trampled grass where the blood trickle was gave their trail away.  So Silly Sally and Joe set out to the Magician's cave.  There, the wolves under the Magician's rule turn on Sally and Joe.  They take them prisoner, binding them in hard, cruel chains.

Book 3 ends.  But Book 4 picks up the story.  Jack and Jill were warned by the village elders of the trouble, so they immediately set out for the tree.  They do the same as Silly Sally and Joe, until at last coming to the Magician's cave.  There, they demanded the Magician hand Silly Sally and Joe over.  The Magician refuses, yet begins a bargain.  If Jack gave him 50 gold coins, he would hand over both Silly Sally and Joe.  Jack and Jill accept, and the four set back to the village, wary of the wolves behind them.  At last they come back to the village, where Joe feels something is missing in the village, but can't remember what from all the excitement.  And then she remembers it was John.  He was still back with the Magician!  Then, BAM!  Book 4 ends.

And here, the epic conclusion of... the epic (or saga, call it what you wish).  Book 5.  Jack, Jill, Joe, Silly Sally, along with over half the village, set out for the Magician's cave to retrieve John.  When they reach the cave, they speak with the Magician.  The Magician claims John escaped, but the villagers don't believe him so they look through the cave, coming to the cell in which John was once kept.  But he wasn't there!  After some scrounging, they find a little tunnel.  They go through the tunnel and at last find John, hurt badly and nearly dead, for the tunnel had caved in.  And thus, they took John back to the village to be fixed up.  And then they had a feast.

That was a long example, and I should shorten it probably, but I wont.  Here's why I even wrote this:  'Book' 1 is in a series, yet by the end the crisis is over and there is no continuation that could be seen.  So this is in Class 1.  Class 1 is (by my own made-up definition) when a book is in a story, yet there is a definite and sure ending to that plot.

'Books' 2 and 3 were in Class 2.  Class 2 would be the plain series, the books ending abruptly and with little conclusion to the plot, which can be good, but is usually best for comic books or a TV series.

Books 4 and 5, however, were different than either Class 1 or 2.  But the thing is, they were different because they were the same.

Black and white are opposites.  They go against each other, they clash.   Pretty much the same with Classes 1 and 2.  However, if you change the Classes just a bit, you can get something really good.  Take colors, again.  Black will not co-exist with white.  Think of them as two warring kings, they'll fight and fight until they run dry.  BUT, if you mix black with white, you have a product of grey.

And grey is what you are looking for.

While book 4 of my example ended as a cliffhanger, it also had a conclusion to its own plot.  Silly Sally and Joe were rescued!  Which, if you would remember, was indeed the point of book 4, it was only that the Magician had tricked them.

Book 5 ended the saga with a roaring boom and a thunderous exclamation of happiness and awesomeness (okay, well maybe not).

But book 4 and 5 were the same.  No, 5 didn't have a cliffhanger as 4 did, but considering that the original setting out of 4's plot didn't have anything to do with John, the plot did come to a close... until they remembered.

But the similarities are that 5 was a continuation of 4, which had the ending to its own plot, but 5 had more to continue on.  Therefore, books 4 and 5 were alike, for they were a blend of black and white.  Previously, in the other books, there hadn't been that blend, it was either black, or white, which can be rather annoying in some cases.

Well, I guess that wraps this super-mega-long post up.

Farewell, and may your pen stay sharp and your pencil sharper.

The Kid Author