Sequels and series

IWSG_NewBadge2016It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, time for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. 

The IWSG question for September: How do you find the time to write in your busy day?

My answer: It doesn’t apply to me. There are two reasons.

  1. I’m lucky – I don’t have a day job. I’m freelancing for a local newspaper, and when I don’t have an article to write, I work on my fiction. Or I procrastinate. 🙂
  2. I live alone, so I do just as many chores as I want to. If I don’t wish to cook or clean, today or ever, I don’t do it. Nobody is there to object. I don’t have to take care of anyone, cook for a family, spend time with a husband, etc. My children are grown-ups and live independently. I can’t say I’m lucky in that respect—such existence can be lonely sometimes—but at least I write as much as I want to.

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Now here is the proper IWSG post. Most fantasy writers today write series: three books or more. Some make a series about one particular character or a bunch of the same characters. Others situate their series in the same world but vary the protagonists, as if picking and choosing events from the history and geography of their world. Recently I wrote a detailed post about series in fantasy for my publisher’s blog.

I wrote a series united by the same world too, but only two first books, centering on different protagonists, have been published. The rest of my novels still need some revisions. Maybe that’s why my sales have been dismal. Maybe if I published two or three books about each of my heroes, I’d have done better in the sales department.

Even my short stories and flash fiction inspire comments of the kind: “So is there going to be a sequel?” The first time it happened with my humorous sci-fi flash Blue Santa, I was pleasantly surprised. I wrote it for a blog hop challenge and didn’t expect any serious feedback, just a few smiles. But several of the readers asked for a sequel.

Then I wrote another flash fiction, Carmela’s Copy, and got the same comments. The readers wanted a sequel, even though I never considered one.

I don’t think I’m going to write sequels for either of those extremely short stories but I suppose I have to concentrate on finishing my novels and publishing them, so at least one large series is available to my readers.

Have you encountered the same phenomenon? Do you write novels in series? Sequels for your short stories? What happened to the stand-alone novels? Do they still have a future, especially in fantasy?

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12 Responses to Sequels and series

  1. emaginette says:

    I write stories with a series in mind. Which translates to: if the sales are there, I’d write a sequel. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  2. Denise Covey says:

    Hello Olga! It sounds idyllic, your writing life. I have so many other commitments, it can be difficult to find the time for myself, but I”m getting better at it. I would have loved to hear more about Blue Santa. My self-published Under the Tuscan Moon was written as a series of stories for a flash fiction weekly group. So I had 5,000 words which became 15,000. Was so fun. Writing in scenes is one way to finish a novel. My preferred way, actually.

    Have a great writing month!

    Denise 🙂

  3. I write in different genres (women’s fiction, mystery, horror), but I’m working on the second novel with the same setting and cast of characters, because I really enjoy spending time with them. I’ve crossed genres with the second novel, though, so it can’t really be considered a series.

  4. I write mostly series, but when I have written stand-alones or short stories that were a one time thing, people have asked if there were going to be more in that world. Readers always seem to want more of what they love! 🙂

  5. I’ve written my trilogy and I’m still working on book 4 and a prequel! But I don’t have any answers as to what works and what doesn’t. All I can do is enjoy the writing process, set my goals and work to achieve them. I’ve set sales goals too, but seem to have no real power to achieve them, Then again maybe I just haven’t found my groove yet. 🙂

  6. patgarcia says:

    Hi Olga,
    I am working on my first manuscript and it belongs to a series that is already mapped up with titles and four of the books have already been outlined. I also have another book that I am writing outside of the series and it is a stand alone, and I don’t have any plans of making it a series. My short stories are exactly that, short stories, and I have no plans to do sequels. This is something I am pretty adamant about because I want the reader to think and draw his or her own conclusions.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat Garcia

  7. Hi, Olga,

    That’s a great question! I think if a book is so popular and the characters are loved, then a sequel is expected. We readers LOVE our characters and what to enjoy more of their adventures.

    It’s funny though, that publishers don’t really want series books… I guess because they are not sure how well the first will fly.

  8. spunkonastick says:

    These days, everyone wants a sequel. I did do a five book series, but I probably won’t do any other series. Just don’t have the time. I’d be like you – a long time in between books.

  9. Toi Thomas says:

    Man, if only I had your circumstances for writing. That’s really cool.
    As for series writing; I do it but rarely start out with it in mind. My first book was supposed to be a stand alone until someone pointed out that it was a good origin story, meaning there should be more to it. I recently released what was to be a standalone romcom, but even my editor protested that the other characters needed to have their stories told.
    As a genre, though, I do feel that standalone stories have a place in fantasy, but writing a fulfilling story in one volume can be difficult, or long, or not as financially sound.

  10. No one has asked for sequels on my short stories, but my published work hasn’t been out that long. Sounds like a nice compliment, but time is precious. You have to decide how best to spend it and what to write.

  11. Carrie-Anne says:

    I don’t really know how to write a standalone! I feel compelled to write family/town sagas and interlocking series books, following these characters on the fully journey through life, and watching the succeeding generations being born and growing up too.

  12. Loni Townsend says:

    I’ve had a series in my head for decades, and that is the reason I write–to get that down. So, yep! I write in series! I did plan a novella, which I intended to be a single volume, but I never got it written. I ended up writing a short story which takes place after it, so I guess I wrote the sequel before I finished the main one. Heh. I doubt I’ll ever get that novella written. Maybe in a long time from now–after I finish my other two series. 😀

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