Sometimes as a writer, I’ll get an idea for a story, and immediately want to write it. (Fitting it into my hectic schedule is a whole other ballgame.) There’s enough of a story for it to be what’s known as a standalone book, meaning there will only be the one book which doesn’t connect with any other books that author has written. No other books will come from this story idea. And that is perfectly fine.
But other times, I will get a kernel of a story. When I start thinking about it, and begin writing, there’s so much going on, not only with the main characters (the hero and heroine), but with the secondary characters, I feel the need to tell their stories too. Some of them have stories that are equally as interesting as the people you are writing about—so much so they almost steal the story away from your hero and heroine.
When that happens, it almost becomes imperative to write an ongoing series. Writing a series can be done in many ways, but the two most common are:
1. The hero and/or heroine will have multiple books about them. This individual’s story arc will carry across from one book to the next (a perfect example is Julie Moffett’s Lexi Carmichael series). These books revolve around the main character, i.e., Lexi, and her many adventures, including solving a mystery in each book, as well as surviving the ups and downs of maintaining a romantic relationship. This works extremely well for cozy mystery series.
2. Another example would be the series where there are cross-over characters, but each book has a different hero and heroine (or hero/hero, heroine/heroine depending on the genre). An example of this would be my New Orleans Connection Series. Each book can be read as a standalone book—meaning you don’t have to have read any of the other books in the series in order to read and hopefully enjoy any single book. The characters will cross over into other books in the series, and readers seem to love when that happens. It’s like catching up with old friends you came to care about in other books.
These are just two examples of writing series versus standalones. Neither one is right or wrong, or better or worse than the other. It’s all up to the writer, and ultimately the reader, to decide their reading preference. And that’s part of what I love about writing (and reading). There’s a vast amount of choices out there—all you have to do is pick one and dive in.
Kathy is busy writing her New Orleans Connection Series, a romantic suspense series, set in and around New Orleans. Her latest release, Deadly Justice, is available now. Her next book, Wicked Obsession, releases in September 2016. For more information on Kathy’s books, click on: www.kathyivan.com/books.html