Series or standalone?
Aidan: Alright, I’m going to come out of the gates here unequivocally as a lover of standalones.
Corrina: I checked my bookshelf and it’s full of series. Oh, sure, there are a few standalone stories here and there but, mostly, I’m hooked on series.
I could not participate in this debate. Or rather, I would have to switch sides halfway through. I would do this:
Me: When I’m pressed for time, I love me a standalone!
Me (later): Nothing’s better or more welcome than a new installment in a loooong series where the author’s managed to maintain quality straight through.
I have to admit, I am slow to start a longer series and may never get to it, because so often I *am* pressed for time.
On the other hand, nothing’s better than a long series where you really have time to sink into the world and get to know the characters.
Question! Where do trilogies fall? For me, a trilogy has almost none of the “too long to start” factor. A long standalone is often about the same length as a trilogy of moderate size. Only if each book in the trilogy is like six or eight hundred pages do I start to think of it as “kinda too long for right now.”
Recent series I’ve loved:
The Wings of Fire series (five books, ten eventually). But each book is short and simple. Resistance to starting the series: no.
The Steerswoman series (four or so books, unfinished). Oooh, could not do this kind of story as a standalone! It’s too big! Gaah, I want the series to be finished! Resistance to starting this unfinished series: YES but I overcame it.
I’m sure there are other series I both started and finished (what there is of the series) this year, but I have to admit, all year I’ve been leaning more toward standalones.
Aidan and Corrina talk a lot about authorial voice and how a voice that works for you can keep you coming back to a long series, or can attract you to whatever a particular author writes by providing a sense of familiarity. Click through to read the whole thing.