Monday, May 16, 2016
Series vs. standalone
by Meredith Cole
I wrote my first book, POSED FOR MURDER, with the intention of starting a series. I thought long term. I made my heroine, Lydia McKenzie, single and in her twenties so she and I would have room to grow. I loosely plotted several books, and wrote two more in the series. She changed a little over the course of the three books and started to mature. I learned more about her and so did the reader.
I enjoy reading series, and it's fun not to have to say goodbye to a character. I imagine it's sort of like writing a TV series as opposed to a movie. The story can (and does) go on and on. The characters can grow and change, and the story lines can deepen.
The past couple of years, I've worked on a standalone. It's been a different sort of experience. The characters only need to exist and live during the book itself. I don't have to worry what I'll do with them in the next book if they have a child or get married or whatever. I could take risks that I never would have dared to do in a series. But when I got to the end, that was truly the end. Which got me to thinking about what would happen if it were the start to a series... Which makes me understand why so many writers start series when they finish a book. They miss the characters too much when the book is finished.
So which do I prefer?
I think I enjoy mixing it up. The next two books I'm planning are the start to a new series and then another standalone. And then I'll probably write another short story. And hopefully whatever I prefer, standalone or series, will be exactly what I'm writing at that moment.