When to let go of the setting

Recently a reviewer commented about that he would like to see the Nameless War/Battle Fleet setting go on beyond the Trilogy that is currently WIP in progress. Certainly friends and family have joked about me writing a trilogy in seventeen part (which I am categorically NOT doing) but when should a writer walk away from a setting?

Now to my mind a setting where as a reader you can only imagine it supporting one story is not a very good one (a statement some of you may disagree with) a setting should have space in which other stories can happen.  That being said I don’t like stories where it is the same character(s) saving the world again, and again, and again, and again… which is probably one reason why I never got into comic books. However I don’t mind where the writer reuses a setting with new characters; in fact I’ve come across writers who as one hero rode off into the sunset, moved a new character or a previous sidekick centre stage and have made it work very well. Even so every setting will I think soon or later hit the wall. Whether because events have altered the setting or characters so drastically that further adventures will seem forced or the need to do something new, makes the later works so different from the first they really should be separate setting.

Of course I am – and am content to be – an amateur, not a professional[1] writer. The money I make is a supplement to rather than my income and I don’t have a publisher on my back demanding that my next book reuse my most popular character or setting. Walking away from a successful setting means rolling the dice in terms or whether you can bring your readers with you. Stay in the creative comfort zone however and a writer may go stale (how often have you through: I loved his/her early stuff but the new is rubbish) So the decision for the professional must be a desperately nerve-racking one.

As I mentioned in a previous post the Nameless War  was not the book I set out to write. What would now be a prequel was in fact the story I intended to tell. Since I know how book three and the trilogy as a whole will end, I know the Battle Fleet Universe has a lot of room for further stories. I have some rough ideas for further events and perhaps even side events, which could fill anywhere between one and three books. But only rough ideas since I’m not going to waste thinking time which could be more productively used on the book I’m actually writing. Beyond that however I have at this point no real desire to go further because I think the setting would have gone as far as it could do. Anything more would be at best the lesser son of a greater sire.

Also like a good entertainer I believe you should leave your audience wanting more[2]

[1] My definition of Professional being anyone who relies on writing as their primary revenue source  (if that seems a little clinical I would remind that a work in accounts so I’m never going to take a fluffy view of money)

[2] although not too much more – I don’t want to be lynched.

ON AN ENTIRELY UNRELATED NOTE

I haven’t forgotten about Ships of the Fleet. I started work on the Luna Class Cruisers (Deimos) but then the muse clocked on and frankly when she say jump, I say how high?

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Filed under Self Publishing, Ship design, Writing

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