Skip to main content

Can You Continue Writing Someone Else's Series?

Q. I just want to know if it is legal to continue a series of books that the author has pretty much said the he/she is planning on writing anymore books to the series. What I want to know is: Is it possible for me to start my own series off of a series that has already been published?
- Jared

A. Basically, no.
You don't own the characters so you can't do anything with them. What you're talking about may be "fan fiction," but this is unclear. Unless you're trying to sell a Star Trek or Star Wars novel where various people write books in that universe, then this is not a route to go. You can't sell such work, and no one will look at it. The only place this is appropriate is writing a sample episode for a TV show in hopes of being a staff writer on that show or a similar program; but in those instances, the show is alive and well, not dying or dead as you described.
Your best hope is to sell an original book that is successful, and then, when you have the ears of important publishers, you can bring up possibly continuing a dead series. At that point, it's a super small chance, but at least that's better than no chance.

Image placeholder title

Who HASN'T wanted to sit
down and starting writing the
next Tron movie? Alas, if
only it were that easy...

6 Things Every Writer Should Know About Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company

6 Things Every Writer Should Know About Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company

Sylvia Beach was friend to many writers who wrote what we consider classics today. Here, author Kerri Maher shares six things everyone should know about her and Shakespeare and Company.

How Writers Can Apply Business Tools to Their Writing

How Writers Can Apply Business Tools to Their Writing

Author Katherine Quevedo takes an analytical look at the creative process in hopes to help other writers find writing success.

Nick Petrie: On Following the Most Compelling Story

Nick Petrie: On Following the Most Compelling Story

Award-winning author Nick Petrie discusses how he listened to the story that wanted to be told in his new Peter Ash thriller novel, The Runaway.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 596

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a punishment poem.

Jacquelyn Mitchard: On Forgiveness in Fiction

Jacquelyn Mitchard: On Forgiveness in Fiction

Award-winning novelist Jacquelyn Mitchard discusses the chance meeting that led to her new novel, The Good Son.

Sea Bound

Sea Bound

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, write about someone connected to the sea.

writersMarket_wd-ad_1000x300 (1)

Get Published With the Latest Market Books Editions

Get published and find more success with your writing by using the latest editions of the Market Books, including Writer's Market, Poet's Market, Guide to Literary Agents, and more!

Michigan Quarterly Review: Market Spotlight

Michigan Quarterly Review: Market Spotlight

For this week's market spotlight, we look at Michigan Quarterly Review, the flagship literary journal of the University of Michigan.

Desperate vs. Disparate (Grammar Rules)

Desperate vs. Disparate (Grammar Rules)

This post looks at the differences between desperate and disparate with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.