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How to Deal With Waits Between Installments in a Series

Orlion Blight

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With the recent news that Oathbringer will probably come out later next year instead of sooner next year, I decided to mark the occasion with a topic on how to deal with the waiting for installments.


The wait for the next book in a series can be maddening, you want to find out what happens next. I have luckily/unluckily been through this scenario with another series and have survived, so it's time to share my questionable wisdom with the rest of you.


  1. Set realistic expectations: The first thing to do in order to deal with any wait is to have a reasonable expectation for when the next volume will come out. In some cases, this will be easy, Jim Butcher, for example, pretty much comes out with a new Dresden novel every year. In the case of my experience with the Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the author explicitly stated that it would be three years between installments. Other authors aren't able to reliably determine when the next volume will be written. Recently, George R R Martin and Patrick Rothfuss have fallen into this category infamously. Brandon Sanderson also falls into this category, but in a different way and depending on the series being written. Only recently does there seem to be a significant history to predict how long it takes to write a Stormlight novel, but even less complex novels may take years to come out. How long was the wait between Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self? How long until the Elantris sequel comes out? How much longer for Nightblood? For each series, the expectations must be tempered as far as when the novel will be written. In the case of Brandon, this is helped in that he regularly updates what projects he is working on and how far he is along those lines. For Martin and Rothfuss, this is much harder to determine.
  2. Plan your obsessive discussion of the series in question to the beginning and end of the waiting period. This helps to preserve the excitement for the series (at least, it did for me). The beginning of the waiting period is when the previous book comes out and you are reading it for the first time. Wanting to discuss and analyze during this period is natural and will come easy. Depending on the complexity of the work, this period can even be extended to about a year. One does not want to overdo it, though, for reasons I will enumerate below. The end of the waiting period is when the author announces that they have finished "the book". In some cases, this will be the first draft, which will signal about a year until release for many books. For Martin, he will actually say a work is done. At this point is where you will want to begin a re-read which will be as extensive as you may desire (you may read the entire series up to that point or just the last published volume, your choice!) and revisit/update your thoughts on where the series is going. This could potentially last you the final stretch of the wait and rekindle your excitement for the series.
  3. There is, of course, the middle portion of the waiting period. This is the most dangerous where you will be beset with desire and, depending on the length or extension of the wait, disappointment. The best way to combat this is to find another engaging series. In my personal experience waiting the final three years for the conclusion of the Last Chronicles, I was aided greatly by reading the then nine book Malazan series. Your solution need not be the same, what's important is that it is engaging: essentially, you trick your mind to be excited about one thing at a time and focus that excitement on something that is available to you. The downside is that you will always feel like you are behind on reading, but that is much easier to deal with than uncontained excitement.


I'll close this post by noting the dangers of re-reading. Carried out every once in a while, you should be fine. In some cases, like with Martin or Rothfuss, you will probably be re-reading a lot more than what my initial strategy would indicate. What you have to avoid is over-saturation. What this might do are two related but different things: 1) you may actually uncover plot points, story direction, or even the ending. This might lessen the impact of the story once you get to that point. Instead of a "wow!" you might have a "yawn, I saw that a mile away". 2)You might convince yourself that they way you think the story is going is what ought to be. In this case, when the series goes in a different direction from what you were thinking, in your mind you decide that it "does not make sense" or is "stupid".


Those are my initial thoughts, now we can continue later or even turn this into a support group!

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It also helps to start late when most of the series has been published.

I think this is something to consider, particularly with trying to fill your wait time/distract you until the next installment of your favorite series.


You know, unless one wants to pine over multiple series.

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If I had been an intelligent human being I would have waited with Kingkiller, of course after reading Kvothes "you may have heard of me" monologue I had to read The name of the wind, which wasnt very intelligent.


We could just stick all good writers in a speedbubble...

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