Series vs. Standalone Books

I’m not sure how other writers write. But it seems as more time passes and more stories flit through my brain, one thing has become clear. I am unable to write standalone novels. I got nothing against standalone books. Nothing at all. But my mind seems to work in series. Either with the same character through multiple book/storylines or with the same interwoven characters but focusing on distinct characters within a storyline.


I’ve tried to write differently. There are lots of stories that I think will be a standalone, but by the end, I am spinning off other tangential stories. Apparently, this is just the way my brain works. Some series are just two books that pop in my brain. Other stories have an entire universe and a story arch that spans several novels. A few of those expanded storylines even have side novellas attached.


Take my newest soon to be released book FarSeen. Originally, I slated two novellas to the story. But soon, I realized that those two stories are the prequel to two distinct story arcs. One arc has a 3-4 novellas and about 4 novels in it. The second story arch takes a different turn with 3 novels and no novellas. But they are from the same universe and traverse the story arc at different points in the time line. And while I am pleased as all get out the I don’t see dead people, I gotta say having so many imaginary friends talking to me from a made-up universe can be a little crazy making. Or at least make people who see me talking to myself seem like I am cra-cra. I want to explain, sometimes, that I am talking to my characters or that they are talking to me. But then I realize that maybe, just maybe, admitting that would make me even crazier in their eyes. Regardless, I think all writers walk around talking to imaginary people who only exist in their mind until they are revealed in ink. Imaginary friends are the glue that unites authors. Who knew?


Several of my other stories also are laid out in series format. Like a motion picture running in my head, I can literally SEE them. Just once, I want to write a story that doesn’t have one before it or after it. But alas, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards for me at the moment. My only wish is that my universes are portrayed clearly, compellingly and with enough depth that my readers also end up talking to my characters. Now THAT would be a hoot. And a half.

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