Hi community of awesome. I’m Ava Jae and this is bookishpixie. So when you first get a writing idea one
of the things you have to consider once you’ve decided to pursue the idea is how
far you want the idea to go. So do you want it to be a standalone? A direct series? A companion novel series? For a long time, pretty much all of my ideas were series ideas because I really wanted to write a series. That isn’t really the best way to determine whether or not an idea should be a standalone or part of a series though so let’s talk about your options. A standalone is what it sounds like: there’s the one book, and there won’t be a continuation, and what you see is what you get. Stand-alones are great because it’s all contained in the one book, so there aren’t cliffhangers or extended plot threads—it’s all in the book. It’s also great from a writing perspective because when you’re done with that book you can move on to something else. A general publishing rule, however, is that every single book in a series should be able to stand alone, meaning that every book should have a complete plot arc regardless of whether or not you’re going to continue the story in a series. So then let’s talk about your series options. Your two options are a direct series or a companion novel series. A direct series is the traditional series you think of, so a bunch of books in a row and they all have the same protagonists and general cast, and they have one series plot arc from the very first book to the very last. A companion novel series is slightly different. It means you work with the same group of characters but you interchange protagonists and the stories, while connected, aren’t necessarily directly correlated. A recent example I can think of is The
Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is getting a second book which releases next year, however the second book, which is The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, is from the perspective of the protagonist in the first book’s sister. So same cast of characters and same story world but two very different protagonists and Felicity who is the protagonist of the second book is going to have her own story. A big difference between the direct series and the companion novel series is the companion of a series feels more like a bunch of standalone novels that are related. So okay you have these options. How do you decide? The truth is it really comes down to the story and the scope you have for that story. The Beyond the Red trilogy, for example, was always meant to be a trilogy because from the inception of the idea the idea was bigger than just the first book. But not all story ideas have a scope that big and they don’t need to. I’ve got a lot of other ideas I’m playing around with right now and a lot of them are stand-alones, maybe in part because I’m on the third book of a trilogy right now and would like something different—I’m sure that’s playing into it—but also because these ideas don’t need to be series ideas, at least not direct series ideas. So it really comes down to you, and
brainstorming, and asking yourself how big do I want this story? Another thing to remember is there’s nothing shameful or less exciting about working on a standalone novel versus a series book. Sure, writing the series is exciting and
I’ve certainly enjoyed it for Beyond the Red but it’s also a ton of commitment
and hard work, and while it’s great to be able to spend multiple books in your
story world with your characters it’s also harder to sell a series sometimes and honestly it really—it really just comes down to what is best for the idea. So don’t force a standalone idea to be a series just because you want to write a series and alternatively don’t cut down an idea that should have the potential to be a series into a standalone just because —just consider what is the best way to tell this story. So that’s what I’ve got for today! If you liked if you saw, don’t forget to subscribe and comment and I’ll see you guise next week!