Sunday, February 26, 2012

Retiring a Series, Retiring a Writer

About a decade ago, my mother and I were talking about the distant future, when I’d be able to collect government pensions and retire from writing. What struck me about that conversation was her assumption that I would retire while still relatively young (65 is still young to me), just as she had from her day job. She seemed taken aback when I told her I had no plans to ever retire.

Recently, I’ve begun to wonder if that statement is still completely true. Certainly, at some point in my life I’ll cut back on the two blogs a week, book reviews, and novel-a-year output, but completely? Somehow I doubt it, but you never know what the future will bring.

I do know a growing number of writers who, for different reasons, have decided to cut down, or walk away from writing altogether. Some of it is about wanting to do other things on their bucket list. Some are planning to stop writing for health reasons, and still others simply can’t be bothered keeping up with all the technology and marketing expectation foisted on them over the past couple of decades, especially if they started their careers in the 60’s or 70’s.

I’m wondering if there are writers who decide to pack it in after their series comes to an end, whether by choice or not. Which leads me to the question, at what point does one retire a series?

For me, it’s not that difficult. Before the first book, The Opposite of Dark, was released, my publisher, editor, and I discussed where the series was going and how many books it might take to get there before Casey’s story ended. While I have a pretty good idea, I don’t have the answer completed nailed down. However, like J.K. Rowling with the Harry Potter series, I already know exactly how my series will end and what the final scene will be. It’s probably the only thing she and I have in common, except perhaps a passion for writing. Rowling wrote her final scene long before she finished the final Harry Potter book. I still have to write mine.

Planning for the retirement of a series isn’t a bad thing. After all, who wants a character to overstay their welcome? As for retiring as a writer, well clearly that decision is personal and probably changes from year to year, due to circumstances. I prefer to keep my options open. How about you? Do you have a retirement plan for yourself or your series?

THE OPPOSITE OF DARK, now available for iphones, iPads, and iPodTouch at Also available in paperback at and on Kindle at



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