… which can mean only one thing. It’s time for another Freaky Friday with Michelle Roth. As promised, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on Standalones, series books, and serials.
For me, I’ve always had a hard time with standalones. Four of the eleven books I’ve written have started as standalone novels. They’ve all turned into series. I have this compulsion to keep developing the characters (even the ancillary ones) and world building.
Hubs and I were out to dinner one night about the time I started on The Darkness Calls and he’s just asking me all of these questions.
Do vampires in your world get into the music or media from their timeframe?
Do they eat food?
Do they poop?
About halfway through dinner, I’m spitballing answers and I said, “Well fuck. This is just too interesting a universe to make this one book. Did this just turn into a series?”
Spoiler alert: It did. Just like it always does.
For me, that moment … the connection in my brain, where the idea sparks to life, is the most thrilling part of writing. When you can string those thoughts from one story into a map for an entire series? It seems silly not to, in my opinion.
As a reader, I always got attached to the supporting characters, too. The plucky little sister of the hero has to grow up some time. Watching her find love can be a reward in its own. When it’s done properly, you can get to know a whole town, or a group of friends, or a pack of shifters, etc.
The stories from book to book should be unique. It’s normal if characters that know each other have some similar mannerisms and quirks, but … it can be a bit repetitive if they’ve ALL got the same quirks. If they’re interchangeable, then you’re doing it wrong.
Even worse, is when the series is kind of over, but the author keeps trying to squeeze a dollar out of it. Sexy Sex: The Third Generation: Part 75.
Beware the follies.
This is a huge pet peeve for me for a couple of reasons.
- Not pointing fingers or naming names but when your serial count is in the 20’s for a particular couple… and you’re charging 3.00 a serial, that’s just shitty. I understand getting hooked on a story but $60 bucks is really really REALLY a ton of money to drop on one couple. I mean, fuck. I love a happy ending as much as the next girl, but seriously. I’d much rather read full length books than to shell out for 20 sets of 35 pages. Just write a series of three or four… roughly 350 pages. Charge me 6.99 each. That’s $28.00 which is a ton better than $60. *yay math!*
- You run the risk of it becoming cliched in order to maintain reader interest. There has to be a HUGE cliffhanger suspenseful moment at the end of each to keep people shelling out money, so if you ever anthologize your serials into a set, and the back cover blurb reads something like this…
“The shy (yet plucky) BBW virgin falls for her boss, the crop wielding billionaire alpha BDSM wolf shifter sex god rock and roll star that’s also in a motorcycle club.”
It’s time to rethink your game plan. Absolutely no one ever needs to read that book. I assure you.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on series (why I love them) vs. serials (why I hate them) vs. standalones (why I can’t make myself do it). Until next week, I bid you adieu!