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Which Do You Prefer: Series Or Standalones?

It's time for our first discussion post of 2020! And no, this is not a trick question. Lol. In this case, it's totally fine to answer BOTH! But there are plenty of reasons why people choose one over the other.

Why Series?

I do really love series. I love reading them AND writing them. There's something especially wonderful about seeing a series pan out over several books, watching the characters grow and the landscape of the world change over time. If the author is talented, they set up plot points in earlier books that pan out in later books, or they leave Easter Eggs along the way for readers to find and enjoy. There's that exciting moment when you've invested a ton of time in story as a reader and you come away at the end happy and content. Sigh. For me, there's nothing better.

Series Pros

  • You get to stay with the characters and world for a long time.
  • You know that you enjoy and like the author's style of storytelling.
  • You're guaranteed to keep you reading, if you love it.

Series Cons

  • They're a commitment of time, energy, and money.
  • If the series bombs in the middle or at the end, you're left feeling unhappy or unsatisfied.
  • If there's a long time between books, you can easily forget important details.

Favorite Series

Some of my favorite series include: Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, The Tales of the Otori, Red Rising, Lock In, and The Expanse.

Why Standalones?

I totally understand why authors write standalone books. There's something about a story that begins and ends between a front and back cover. It's satisfying and finite, no commitments past what's on the page. I've written only two standalone books, but I do want to write more (and probably will in the late '20s). Sometimes an idea for a plot can fit in your hand, and that's what you want when you sit down to read or write.

Standalone Pros

  • You don't have to hold a lot of details in your head as you work your way through multiple books.
  • The story is told once and done.
  • They're great for a day or two commitment.

Standalone Cons

  • When the story is over, if you loved it, there's no more. Bummer.
  • I literally can't think of any other cons.

Favorite Standalones

Some of my favorite standalone novels include: Memoirs of a Geisha, The Martian, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, Sputnik Sweetheart, Recursion, and Redshirts.

So, tell me what you love! Series or standalones or both, and why?

S. J. Pajonas