Series-ous Thinking

Write what you love.

But what if you can’t sell what you love—yet?  I love series’.  Most of what I read simply for pleasure falls under the category of “series.”  Same characters (plus or minus a few) working on the same grand problem with some old/new minor problems mixed in to keep them active.  I like my stories to be big.  Bigger than short stories.  Bigger than a single novel.  Bigger than a single epic, even.  I want big stories that don’t fit into one book.

And that’s what I want to write.

Start with a stand-alone.

Recently I’ve encountered this advice.  And I believe it.  It’s hard enough to break into traditional publishing, getting a publisher to commit to a series is going to be difficult.  While I might want to try the non-traditional route when it comes time to actually publish my first novel, I don’t want to force myself to do so because my first book is one I cannot sell to a traditional publisher.

What to do?

The first novel I ever tried to write was the beginning of a series.  It started as a trilogy and has grown (in my head) from there.  The first book will have a satisfying arc, but it will not be a complete story.  It is not and cannot be a stand-alone novel.  The characters’ problems cannot be solved within the length of a single book.

Almost all the books I’ve dreamt of writing have been series’, or—with some re-working—the first book of a serial that could be passed off as a stand-alone.  (The difference between a series and a serial is that a series has a BIG story that requires several books to tell, whereas a serial involves the same characters in a different story for each book—mysteries are often serials, whereas fantasies are often series’.)  Each time I tried to write a stand-alone, I found the story growing in my mind.  It’s hard to resist.

I can’t abandon these ideas, characters, and worlds.  Maybe another writer could, but I cannot.  They mean too much to me to just let them go.  Their stories need to be told.  Besides, that kind of passion is good for a storyteller.

But before those stories can be told—at least, before they can reach a broad reading audience—another story has to be told.  Finding that story has been difficult.

I think I have at last found a story I find worthy to be told, which can also be told in a single book—more than a short story but less than a series or even a serial.

Perhaps, the characters will have other happenings and other stories after this.  But if they do, I cannot see them yet.  For the first time I have gotten past the first few chapters in a book, and cannot see a second one, or a third, a fourth…

Now, all I need is to write it.  And come up with a title.

About Stephanie Allen Crist

Stephanie created and produces in answer to a call from God to use her experiences and gifts to help others. Stephanie is also the author of and two books that can be found on that site. Stephanie strives to share her love, faith, and talents in an inclusive manner to help others who know spiritual pain and who know the bitter taste of the dregs of despair.
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