Sunday, March 27, 2011

For the singularly minded.

I love series as much as the next writer. I feel I am constantly picking up books for series I have started that are not finished yet, and I love it! I love spending so much time with the characters and getting to know them and exploring the world with them. But what about those of us who do not think in series? Who want to wrap up their story in just one book? How can we achieve the same staying power with just one book where there seems to be such much pressure to write a series?

I have known for a long time that my book would just be one volume and perhaps a companion book or two but mostly I’m just writing one book. And I think just writing one book has a different set of challenges then writing a series.

Now I know that series writes have their own problem with timing, because the whole game is stretching out the story without making it feel forced.  But for a single book the problem is opposite. How do we condense so that it feels organic but not rushed? How do you pull up all of those little plot threads, detangle them and lay them all out in nice little rows in time? And the only thing I can come up with, plot. Plot until the cows come home, I feel like all I have been doing the last year is plotting but I have finally come to a place where I feel I can do all of my story lines justice by the time the book ends.

It’s the same with character development, the only way I can make sure I have a fully rounded set of character by books end is plotting.

But here is one little problem that I didn’t know was going to crop up: other writers. If you are writing a singular book then you know what I mean. It’s not something they say *directly* at you but they think they are better then you. It’s like you can hear them in their minds when you tell them you are only writing one book and they are saying things like “oh, your story only takes one book to finish? Mine takes 3/4/5 books to finish; I guess that just means mine is SOOO much better than yours.”  Or “One book? How are you going to sell that to a publisher? They want series to hook the reader so they make more money.” Ok, maybe they are not thinking that at all, but it feels like they are. (But maybe that is just my own self-doubt talking lol) but I am going to take a stand.

We need solidarity! We need other writes who understand the problems we have. So here I am offering my support. Because our stories are just as wonderful and just as worthy to be told! So I am raising my glass to all of you who are singularly minded and I am giving a toast. Because, bottom line, we rock. So let’s have a drink and then get back to work. Those novels are not going to write themselves. 


And don't forget, the Now Starring Blogfest being held on April 25th by Lindz and myself.


  1. It's not so much that I hear "series are better" or "singular books are better" I hear: Stand-alones are better. A book that has it's own arc and conclusion, but could easily lend itself to a series in case it becomes popular. When I think of this I think of Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue (someday).

    There's nothing worse for a publisher then investing all the time, energy, and resources into a series and have the first book flop. I read all the time about authors who got their second or third book canceled because the first couple completely bombed.

    From a readers stand point, uber-series scare me. What if I don't like it? What if I get half-way into the series and totally lose interest? I've already invested all this time and money into it. Should I just keep going? Series have a tendency to get to muddled if they are allowed to go on too long. And then from a series-writer stand point: What is the first one does well or is received well but the second is total crap in comparison?

    I feel like at least with a single book story, it's the one and done concept. You can pour your all into it, give it all you've got and know you've put a solid (whole) story out there. I love stand alone books! There needs to be more of em'.

  2. It would be wonderful to write a singular book but my brain doesn't agree with me. It likes to whisper new ideas into my ear so that I just have to write another one. XD

  3. Hello group member. -waves-

    Recently, I had an idea. It involves us getting to know one another better. Through the month of April, I would like to post interviews with everyone in our group. Of course, you do not have to participate but if you would like to, please email me ( with the following questions answered.

    Thank you,
    Brooke R. Busse

    1. In your fantasy works, do you often make up completely new worlds or interweave your ideas into the existing world?
    2. Do you have any projects outside of YA fantasy?
    3. Where do you sit when writing? Do you use the computer or regular old pen and paper?
    4. What is/are your favorite blog(s) outside of the group?
    5. What is your favorite fantasy creature (elf, dwarf, werewolf, etc.)?

  4. I'm with Lindz on this one - I always hear write a "stand-alone" book. If it develops into a series then each of those should be able to stand alone too. A reader should be able to pick up any book be it #1 or #22 and it should read like a complete, singular book.

    Sometimes I write a book and I get ideas for a series. Sometimes one book is all it takes to tell my character's story. I don't think one is better than the other, and they are both equally hard, but in different ways. So just write the best damn book you can, and if your character's keep talking then write a second best damn book you can until they stop :)

  5. Never thought there was a singular Vs series writer war! I am put off by reading series. I'm a one-book girl.
    Anyway, crusader dropping in to say hi. I'm opening my blog for author spotlights etc, pop over?

  6. I wouldn't be too worried about people who think they are better for writing a series. My guess is they are few and far between, and not very good writers themselves. I have always had the experience that the truly great and the truly talented are secure enough to encourage others. The insecure belittle. My Dad calls it "arrogant mediocrity" :)

    It's funny that you should mention this, when I have been thinking about it pretty much all week. I have taken a step back to plan my story, and am working through whether or not to keep it as a series or to try to get it all in one book. Thanks for your perspective!

  7. I don't get into the rival stuff. I think it is important to support other writers. I have both. I have several WIPs that are stand alone and a couple of WIPs that are series. I don't think any are more important than the others. I think if there is a good story it doesn't matter how many books it takes to tell it. Best wishes.

  8. I've never come across writers who have looked down on me for writing a single book and I've never looked down on another writer. I've tried both. It depends on the story that pops in my head.

    I know a writer who sold her book as a single story, but is working behind the scenes to sell a 2nd and even 3rd book in the series. In fact, I've heard to always say in a query it's standalone with series potential. Not every agent or publisher wants to spend the $ on a series in case the first doesn't sell well.

    Nothing wrong with a standalone novel.