Monday, November 26, 2012

Series vs. stand-alone stories

I think I've mentioned before - I have a LOT of stories in my head. If I had the time, I'd have twice the titles published as I do now. Unfortunately, I also have a short attention span, and once a story's revised and polished to the best it can be, I'm ready to leave it behind.

But what if readers aren't? A few have commented certain stories were too short, or they'd like to read more about the characters. I thought I'd put out an informal questionnaire - do you prefer series? Or is a stand-alone story enough for you? Or does it depend on the story itself? Or the author?

Weigh in! I'd love to hear your opinion.

16 comments:

Maria Zannini said...

I used to prefer series, but I'm fine with stand alones.

I find my attention span starts to waver by the second book. The only exception is when the world building is outstanding, a la the Harry Potter books.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I prefer stand alone. The only exception is if the series is pretty much already written, so that I don't have to worry what forgetting what happened in the last book when I pick up the next one. I don't like never ending series. I need to feel like there is a sense of closure coming up.

Arlene said...

It depends on the author for me. I'd read your stories, Cate, if they're shorts, novellas, novels or a doz book series. I do like closure and that happy for now ending, and I know you can deliver.

Anne Gallagher said...

I used to prefer series, but now would rather read stand alones.

I also hear my short stories are too short, they should be novels all the time. But hey, I don't have that kind of time.

Lorrie said...

Hi Cate, I'm weighing in here. I hear series keeps a reader coming back for more. I guess that is good and to help build a brand. I prefer stand-alones. I like closure too. Plus, I read across the genre board. So when I finish a book, I want to be finished with the story, if you know what I mean.
Whether it be short, novella, or novel. You always wish there were more and it would go on longer if it's a great book. But, that way too, readers remember the great book and look for more by the author. At least that's my opinion.

Cate Masters said...

Interesting, Maria - I wonder why you changed your mind? Did you grow tired of series?

Good point, Stina. I hate that wait in between, too!

Aw, you're too sweet, Arlene. Thanks much. :)

Did you lose interest because the series went on too long, Anne? Interesting.

What about series that involve related characters? Do those interest you?

Cate Masters said...

As usual, Lorrie, I had to fish your comment out of spam - wish I knew why it did that! But I'm glad to hear you say that. I keep hearing that readers want series, but it's good to hear you like stand-alones, too. Thanks for weighing in!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I can do either. I like series as long as they don't go on forever.

Cate Masters said...

I'm the same way, Alex, though I do tend to favor stand-alones.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I almost always prefer series. I write in series and I love reading series. I like getting to know characters in depth and over the course of a long period of time.

Cate Masters said...

I loved reading your series, Susan, because you're so good at world-building, and your characters face such overwhelming challenges. Kudos to you for that. My publishers are often encouraging writers to create series, so it's interesting to see the responses from the reader's side.

DMS said...

I like both! I like stories that come to a conclusion, but when I love characters then I do like to read more about them. I would still read more Harry Potter books. :)
~Jess

Cate Masters said...

I loved Harry Potter, too, Jess. It was fun to imagine him aging through his school years.

Gina Gao said...

For me, as long as the author is good, it doesn't matter if it is written well.

www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

Sherry Ellis said...

I think it depends on the story. Sometimes a stand alone is just fine. If there's unfinished business, then a series is better.

Cate Masters said...

Not sure I understand, Gina - you mean the author tells a good story?

True, Sherry! Good point.