When writing a long series, it helps to do an upheaval for your characters. It doesn’t have to be all of them, but shaking up the life of a few in a story can help their progress. Even if they take a step back, it will make them stronger as a character. This helps keep them fresh too.
In Sleeper of the Wildwood Fugue, several characters get a shock to their system through revelations and disasters. This brings a few plotlines to a head as well and many of the heroes and villains won’t be the same by the end. I’ve found that this also creates a sense of meeting them again in future books. At the very least, it takes a few stories to repair the damage and bring the characters back to their center. Yet it will never be the same after these kinds of events. This is why I like upheaval sections of a long story because it shakes everything up. I feel re-energized and excited to see what’s going to happen next.
This isn’t something you only find in series too. In a trilogy, this tends to be the the second story with a rough finale. Empire Strikes Back is a good example. The point of such a story is that it sets up the next stage of the adventure, dislodges characters from becoming entirely stable, and closes up some earlier subplots. It’s very important that this is something that answers questions instead of solely making new mysteries. Now I’ve seen this in solitary books too, which can get tricky. These tend to be bigger works to allow for time to gain stability in the main story, lose it, and then regain it for the ending. Many times I’ve read stories that do a final hour disruption that doesn’t give enough time for true closure. So you have to be careful in this situation.
So, what do you think of ‘upheaval’ stories that rock a series? Do you have any favorites?