Thursday, January 24, 2008

Writerly Post Today: Stand Alone vs. Series

I have been a fan of Janet Evanovich since the first Stephanie Plum book, One for the Money, debuted. She's one of the authors I get giddy for when I hear a new book is coming. (My protag shares some similarities with Stephanie Plum in terms of voice, language and general fuckyuppishness.) I bought Plum Lucky yesterday.

I read something interesting on Holly Kennedy's Blog. She's a successful writer. Check her out. She said the characters from her latest book The Silver Compass (which I ordered today) are fading from her mind as she writes her next book. Which got me to thinking of authors who write series, like Janet Evanovich, and the readers who have expectations from a writer and her books.

If I could ask Janet Evanovich a question it would be, "How do you balance the need to please your readers with your desire to write something new and perhaps write different characters?" And then I would ask her 4,534 more questions while crying "I'm not worthy!" until she called security to peel me off her windshield where I would have crawled as I saw her driving down the main drag in Hanover where she lives. (Note, I spent 4 years up there in Dartmouth country, however I have never and will never stalk Ms. E. But I love being able to picture in my minds' eye her walking past Baker Tower or into The Hop.)

Am I rambling? Of course. Let me slurp down some coffee. There. So, Holly is able to walk away from her characters and move on to her next wonderful book - many authors write series where they keep their characters alive for years, decades even.
As a writer would you prefer to write a set a characters and then move on? Or keep them alive in additional books? I'm leaning toward keeping them alive. Of course, they have to be born on the pages first, don't they? I mean the kind of pages between an actual spine with a publisher's name on the side - not the kind I get from Staples.

I hope to sell this winter/spring. Maybe I 'll get "Plum Lucky?"


Holly Kennedy said...

Kim, you have enough sass and determination you could (and probably will) do both :)

A series sounds like fun, but at this point I have to follow my instincts, which means I've got two books that need to be written (each very much stand alone) that have been percolating upstairs for years.

P.S. I've always LOVED Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series!

Demon Hunter said...

I never thought about writing a series until a well-known horror writer, read the first chapter of my stand-alone book, and told me that I should make it a series. I have outlined at least 8 other books for a series, so there maybe something to it.

My other works are stand-alone, but who knows? :*)
I have never read anything from the Stephanie Plum series (don't shoot, I will, one day!)

amanda's never written more than an essay said...

Hey Kim I saw gordon Ramsey last night on TV and he was in Bellmore Village in NY - anywhere near you? If so the previously CRAP Mixing bowl restaurant has been Gordoned and is now great! Well, it was when he left it...

I think it would be more fun to write a series and create a whole other world to escape to. It would be great to develope story lines and characters over a longer period but then maybe that's just because I have a tendancy to go on a bit...or a lot!!

Greta said...

I would totally bow down to Janet Evanovich too. As for me? I think I'd rather stay w/ the same characters. I fear change ;)

kyra said...

i hope you do get plum lucky! though it wouldn't be all luck. not by a long shot.

Chumplet said...

As much as I would like to resurrect my characters, I'm leaning toward stand alone for for the time being.

I have yet to determine whether my first books will do well, but if they do, I'll gladly let my characters live on.

I must check out Janet's books. It seems those who purchased mine also bought hers. I'd like to see if there are any similarities.