1. FirstTimeNovelist91
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    FirstTimeNovelist91 Senior Member

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    "Stand alone" vs. series

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by FirstTimeNovelist91, Aug 9, 2012.

    Which do you prefer? A standalone novel or a series? I want to write a standalone novel without a "cliff hanger" ending, but....could that sell or would I have to promise the publisher a sequel?
     
  2. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    I think, and this is by no means authoritative, but it seems like from what i've heard, publishers don't want to commit to series from unknown authors, so you might be better of that way. Personally, I love it when books are self-contained, series seem like gimmicks unless the story is strong enough to support it. Sometimes you can tell a writer just said, screw it, lets make the font bigger and i'll write nine of em, (here's looking at you James Patterson) instead of actually taking the time to write a single, coherent story in one book. Not to say I don't also enjoy a well thought out series, but, it's gotta be done right.
     
  3. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    There's nothing wrong with series' but if you're going that route, you might want to look at e-booking your story yourself. The costs are negligible, except for buying you ISBN, and it'd give you the flexibility. Draw enough of a following and NYC will pay attention to your series.

    By the way, e-books are now out selling hard covers.
     
  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    A standalone can be part of a series, or kick off a series. In a series, the novels do not need to end with cliffhangers.

    Steven Brust has written about 17 novels in his Vlad Taltos series, and none of his are cliffhangers. They stand alone well, although some of the later ones are very poor choices to begin reading the series. I could list other examples such as Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles (which I've just started reading) or Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series (which I only read the first 7 or so in her series), and even my own publishing experience--which in no way approximates the success of the other authors listed as an example but I mention to furhter demonstrate it can be done--but it might be better if you can come recall series that you've read, that contained standalone books without cliffhangers. It will give you an example or two that you've experienced reading and would be able to better understand and apply to stories/novels you hope to write.

    When reading, I prefer a series. I don't prefer trilogies, where it is necessary to read all of the books to complete the story. If I do this, I prefer to that the trilogy is published in full before I begin. That means I have to wait sometimes before beginning to read (such as Stephen R. Donaldson's Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, that isn't yet fully published).
     
  5. B93
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    B93 Active Member

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    Your first book must stand on its own. If you have a sequel, trilogy, or series written, you *might* mention that in your pitch to an agent or publisher if you also make clear that the first story is complete. They will make their decision on the single book and give little weight to the fact you have more. If they take it, they will look at its commercial success or failure before being interested in the rest.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there are umpteen threads on this subject here on the forums... instead of continuing with yet another, why don't you do a site search?... you'll find answers to all your questions and a healthy debate on the pros and cons all laid out for you...
     
  7. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    You want to "right" it??

    Maybe you should focus on the basics, first.
     
  8. FirstTimeNovelist91
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    FirstTimeNovelist91 Senior Member

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    Typo. I meant to say write.

    No need to be rude.
     
  9. marktx
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    marktx Contributing Member

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    Most series are in fact made up of standalone novels. This is different from a "serial."

    I like to read a good series. The Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child are some of my favorites. The stories themselves do not depend on each other, but the larger arc of the Jack Reacher character evolves over the course of the series. Any one of the novels can be read completely on its own, although when I approach a new author, I do tend to find the first book in the series and start there. Thanks to ebooks, Amazon, istore, and Google Play, that's a lot easier to do these days.

    None of the novels in the series end in cliff-hangers. They are complete novels in themselves.
     
  10. FirstTimeNovelist91
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    FirstTimeNovelist91 Senior Member

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    When I do search the website, hundreds of unrelated threads pop up.
     
  11. FirstTimeNovelist91
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    FirstTimeNovelist91 Senior Member

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    That is exactly what I would like to do.
     
  12. fwc577
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    fwc577 Member

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    I prefer the series rather than the standalone.

    From a readers perspective, if I sit down and take the time to read a novel that is well written the characters almost become like friends. If the book is a standalone you are unfortunatly saying goodbye to those friends at the end of the book.

    From a writers persepective, if I take the time to sit down and create awesome characters and setting I'm going to want to reuse those characters and settings for more than a single book. Sometimes you get a great idea that only functions as a standalone story but it seems that for every 5 or 6 story ideas I have only 1 of those seems like it would function as a standalone idea.
     
  13. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    A typo is when you hit a wrong key or miss a key accidentally. This wasn't a typo, it was a mispelling, and a pretty basic one. If you want to be a writer, you need to be careful about words.

    That's not rudeness, that's advice.
     
  14. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Paul Gallico sank the Poseidon at the end of the Poseidon adventure. But that didn't stop him from writing a sequel in which, the
    boat was still bobbing upside down with scavengers finding loot, and more baffled survivors. Of course he was pretty
    established before he pulled this in-your-face gaff.
     
  15. NeedMoreRage
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    NeedMoreRage Member

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    I prefer standalone. I really like a "series" where each book is a completely separate story with different characters, but they just take place in the same world. Assuming the world is interesting enough to warrant that.
     

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