Here are some quotes my grandma sent me this morning. I emailed her a poem I wrote a year or two ago, and she asked me to read it at her and my grandpa's 50th anniversary picnic.
"Imagination is the highest Kite you can Fly."--Lauren Bacall "Everything you can imagine is real."--Pablo Picasso
Danny wrote a post about series (specifically, plotting them), and I figured I'd put in my two cents on the topic.
I've never wanted to write a series. Or, should I say, all three novels I've started writing (Ishaera, When the Sun Was In Your Hair, and The Clockwork Experiment) started out as loners. Now, Ishaera has a possible prequel and the latter two both have potential sequels (ooh, I haven't told any of you that before, have I?), but all of them can still stand alone (although the end of Clockwork sort of begs for a sequel, and I already have a twist in mind).
But plotting a series? I shudder at the thought. I've noticed that the books in a series tend to get worse and worse the farther the series progresses. Whether this is true in Harry Potter is debatable, since the first and the seventh books are so radically different from each other, it might be that they shouldn't be compared.
The most notable exception (within my experience) to this trend would be the Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan. All 8 of the ones I have read (9 doesn't come out in the U.S. until October, and there will eventually be at least twelve) are just as awesome and enjoyable as the first. This is because John Flanagan, as he said when I met him in May, refuses to write another book unless there's a legitimate story left to tell. He doesn't force it. He doesn't write more just to make money (although that's a nice bonus). Another exception, in my opinion, would be The Icemark Chronicles by Stuart Hill. Things got slightly repetitive after the first book, but the additions of so many new characters and the growth of the old ones makes books two and three equally enjoyable.
There are other exceptions, both general and specific, but I'm generally opposed to series. I usually love the first book, and then sometimes start disliking, and then hating the rest. That is to say, there are many, many, many series that I've read all of and thoroughly enjoyed, but I expect not to. I'm often pleasantly surprised, but I'm predisposed to pessimism.
So I love reading series (assuming ALL of them are well-written), but I highly doubt I'll ever sit down and decide to write one. If a sequel or two spring up, I'll write them, but never will something of mine start out that way. At least, for now.