Random Question - Stand Alone or Series

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Do you prefer reading stand alone novels or series?

Submitted: April 30, 2008

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Submitted: April 30, 2008



Whenever I pick up a good book, I'm always thrilled when I find out there's more. I fall in love with the characters or world and am usually dying to learn more. But I also love a lot of books that are single, stand alones. Sure, I usually moan and groan that there's only one. I'll surf the net and try to find out if it's the first of a series, but usually what happens is I'll find a new author that I absolutely adore.

I guess this is a two part rant/question. On the one hand, which do you prefer reading more? Books that are in a series, or ones that are a whole story in and of themselves?

Both options seem to have pros and cons to me. On the one hand, a series never seems to end. You get more and more of your favs, but on the other hand it never ends! I'm recently finding myself in a situation I never thought I'd be in. My writing is taking over my life, and my reading has started to dwindle a bit as I begin to gain more interest in my own stories and loose interest in the series I'd been following. New novels to previously beloved series become things that I feel obligated to read. I hate that. Sometimes I just wish that the series would end so that I'd have one less thing to follow. On the other hand, I know that if it did end, I would be furious. How dare they release the final book to a series I'd spent years following?

Then you have stand alones. Sometimes, when they're well written, I'm satisfied with the way they end and don't mind that there isn't more. Doesn't mean I wouldn't leap at the change for a sequal or seven, though. But it's a single novel that's done and thus I don't have to worry about feeling obligated to read more.

The second part to this rant/question is geared more towards writing. To the novel writers out there, or even poets or short story writers, do you do stand alones, or does your work spawn into series?

Personally, I've yet to write a stand alone novel. I just can't do it. I suck at short stories (they always end up being proluges to a longer novel, or part of one), but I imagine that if I could write a decent short story... it would expand into a series of chapters and thus a novel -.- okay, not such a great example.

Fine, let's try this then. I have a character, Crim. I was orignally going to... no, also not a good example. Hmm....

Alright, let's try Angel then. Without a doubt, my favorite character. Even after years of setting her aside and not giving her much thought, not a single one of my other characters have reached the same level of fondness that I feel for her. I have a point, bear with me. Now, I was going to give her a story. I was going to write out her life and adventures, but it was going to be a single novel. A simple story, really. Angel is, in essence, an orphan. All she has is a twin brother (if anyone's read "The Immorals" then yes, apparently I like twins). She was unwanted at the orphanage, feared and called a freak for reasons that (when I actually write and post the story on Booksie) will come out in her tale.

You would think that her story would be short and sweet. She runs away (sort of) from the orphanage she'd grown up in and, in a twist of fate, ends up in a place where all the answers are at her fingertips. All she has to do is fight back her natural inclination to shove everyone away and ask her questions. She'll learn who she is and, far more importantly, where she came from. One. Single. Novel.

Have I mentioned it's become a trilogy? No? Well now I have. Without writing more than the first few paragraphs (which I hated and have since scraped) Angel started telling more and more. She told me of things that were vital to not just her but to her parents and brother. She told me of others like her out there... somewhere. Suddenly she had too much for a single novel. I'm only allowing her to have three... we'll see how well I can stick to that. -.-

And Angel's not the only one who's done this to me. Sable of "The Immorals" has since informed me that her adventures are not over. Mind you, I'm still not certain if I'll give her any more books, but it's a loosing battle. I have plans for a couple other series that I want to write, and barely enough time to write them. But I have fun planning.

I'm beginning to make it my goal to write a stand alone novel. Just once in my entire writing career, I'd like to write a novel that stands on its own and does not spawn sequals. Is that a weird goal? Am I the only one out there that's incapable of writing a stand alone? Is that even a bad thing?

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