When I was a kid I think my favorite kind of reading was the "series." John Carter of Mars, Conan, Travis McGee, The Sacketts, the Black Stallion, The Three Investigators, The Hardy Boys, etc, etc. When I first started writing, and started thinking about a novel, I immediately thought "series." My first western, the unpublished "The Bear Paw Valley," was conceived as an introduction for the gunfighter character of Quint Maclang. He was modeled quite a bit on the youngest of the Sackett brothers, Tyrell. Well, I was the youngest of brothers so why not?
The "Maclang" western series never got off the ground, but the Maclang fantasy series did. I've now written four books about Ruenn Maclang, who would be Quint Maclang's nephew. Three of these have been published and a fourth is supposedly scheduled for it. I'm about 33,000 words into book 5, which will be the last one for a while, I think.
One thing I've started worrying about is repeating myself. The first book, Swords of Talera, was an introduction, and then books 2 and 3, Wings Over Talera, and Witch of Talera, dealt with a war against a sorceress named Vohanna. Books 4 and 5, Wraith of Talera, and Gods of Talera, deal with another war against a sorcerer named Vessoth, who was Vohanna's husband. There's a lot of new adventures in the 4th and 5th books, but there is some commonality as well.
As I was thinking about this the last few days, I stumbled on a link to a blog where John D. MacDonald is talking about writing Travis McGee. I'm reading this closely and giving it some thought. He certainly knew the pitfalls and promise of the series character. One thing I found interesting was that he said it was harder to write first person stories than third person ones. I don't know. It doesn't really seem that way to me. The restrictions of the first person tale help me quite a lot, I think.
Anyway, I'm going to have more about writing a series character as I give it more thought. As readers, are you a big fan of series? Or would you prefer stand alones? For those who read series, do you commonly find that the formula starts to pale after a while?