Feb 26, 2012

Stand alone novel vs. Series

I would like to propose a question. What do you prefer? Are stand alone novels your favorite, having a clear and concise story in one volume, or is the longer book series more your thing? In fantasy, the series (specifically the trilogy) reigns king, but there are good counter examples. Here are my thoughts. Stand alones are wonderful. One book gives you the whole story, and it needs to stand on its own creativity instead of a long winded series in which each book is not usually as strong as a single book needs to be. Take the Lord of the Rings. Some of you probably are thinking, "Hey! That's three books, and what about the Hobbit?" First off, John wrote LOTR as a single novel, then the publisher split it up. And the Hobbit is written very differently and is arguably in a different genre, fairy tale vs. fantasy.

Conversely, a book series just gives you so much more story. When I love the characters, I can't just get enough. For example, in Codex Alera by Jim Butcher, I did not want it to end after the six books. I wanted to see what happens next to Tavi. The only way a series will work though, in my opinion, is if it is planned out from the start, with a defined begining and ending, with the bits in between known. Piers Anthony's Xanth would be a good example of a series done wrong. Have a long series, just have it progress down a defined plot that encompasses the whole thing.

So what do you guys thing? What do you prefer?

--R. A. Wilson

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