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How To Know If You Should Write A Stand-Alone Novel Or A Series

Is one novel enough to tell your story or should it be stretched out into two to three?

By Elise L. BlakePublished 2 years ago 4 min read
How To Know If You Should Write A Stand-Alone Novel Or A Series
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

A stand-alone novel is just that, a novel that can stand on its own from beginning to end, and everything is wrapped up with no further questions. 

A series of books is a story told over the course of several novels, the initial problem may be solved in the first one, but more questions arise that leave the reader without the complete story. 

Both methods of writing your novel are valid and there is no one way that is better than the other, but there may be one that is better for your story. 

Which one you choose is going to be decided on by many factors such as the genre and complexity of your novel. Fantasy and Sci-Fi novels are more likely to be series, but if everything can be wrapped up into one book while a Romance novel ends without the traditionally happily ever after then it is possible to extend it into a series.

Why You Should Write A Stand Alone 

  •  Your novel ending wraps up without leaving the reading asking more questions. 

Or to say the ending is the ending, they either live happily ever after or defeat the big bad then and there or they don't, but your protagonist's journey has come to an end and they have completed their internal and external goals.

Why You Should Write A Series 

  • More complexities than can fit in one novel. 

Sure, your characters defeat the big bad in the end, but then they discover there is an even bigger bad than that bad, and writing this into your story would make it thicker than a stack of dictionaries

If you plan to write a series, take the time to complete a basic outline for the novels you would like to write. Even just a basic three-act story structure can help you plan out your novels before you start writing so that each novel has its own individual plots, climaxes, and resolutions. 

How To Choose Which Is Best For You 

  •  What's best for your story? 

My piece of advice on this is to write the first draft of your novel before making your decision. Did you end up with a novel that's over 200,000 words and you feel like you had more you needed to say? Then the decision to write a series or sequel is the better choice. Did you struggle to get to the novel minimum of 80.000 words? Then a stand-alone may be the better option. 

  •  Do you have a writing routine?

If you write fairly often then it will be easier for you to write a series that is published relatively close to each release. If it takes you five years to write each book in a series, the relevancy or hype around your series may fade away to the discount shelves and be harder for you to market. 

  • What's Your Writing Style?

Your own personal preference and writing style are going to be the biggest deciding factor when it comes to choosing a stand-alone novel or a series. 

I personally believe that I will never write a series. When I am in the process of writing a novel I usually get inspired to write something else and sometimes it's a struggle to finish what I started before moving on to the shiny new idea. I find the idea of a series to be constricting to my own personal way of writing and inspiration. I may change my mind in the future, but I personally never plan to write more than stand-alone novels. 

On the other hand, you may have had an idea for your novel and have started building a world that you have fallen in love with and you want to explore everything it has to offer in a series of books and this is perfectly ok.

Each author is unique in their writing style and in their creative expression. There is no rule saying that you have to do one or the other and if there were I would still steel you to break it and do whatever is best for you and your story. 

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Write the story you want to read. If this happens to be a stand-alone novel or even an eleven-book series all about a fantasy world you have created (Game of Thrones) then as long as you are giving it all that you have and you are passionate about the story you are telling, like-minded readers will find your novels and will be as eagerly awaiting the next novel as you are. 

Whether you choose to write a series or a stand-alone the most important thing is that you keep writing.

With love, 

B.K. xo

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About the Creator

Elise L. Blake

Elise is a full-time writing coach and novelist. She is a recent college graduate from Southern New Hampshire University where she earned her BA in Creative Writing.

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