YA Indie Carnival–Serial Novels: In or Out?
I am a big fan of serial novels, at least of reading them. I have never written any until now. I find that I am now writing a sequel to Pazuzu’s Girl. I left the door open at the end of that, in case I decided to do another one. But it wasn’t originally planned as a series with a big arc. But on television, I have always loved shows that have a long story arc, not just a bunch of episodes stuck together running for eternity. Babylon 5, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, these were all shows that were sort of at the cusp of a new kind of storytelling for television, though the novel world had been doing it for a long time.
For novels, I like both serial novels, and stand-alones. It all depends on the story, what it was meant to be. Some stories are elaborate enough that they need to be told over the course of a few modules, rather than one: Lord of the Rings, The Uplift Series, by David Brin, the Percy Jackson series, Harry Potter, the Hyperion series. Others are great stand-alones: David Brin’s Kiln People is a great example of a standalone. Most of Neil Gaiman’s and Clive Barker’s novels are great stand alones.
I think that whether something is a series or a standalone depends on the complexity of the story arc. I know that a lot of people like serial novels because if they are really engaged in the world, they want to keep seeing those characters, and return to that world over and over. And this is fine. As a writer, I am finding that I am comfortable in Morpho and Pazuzu’s world and want to go back there. It was fun to write. But I think the key ‘to serial or not to serial’ is: Is the plot supported better as a serial or as a standalone. If I have more story to tell, if these characters have more to say, then serial is appropriate. If not, I think of the image of J. Michael Strazcynski at the end of Babylon 5, the last episode, as he, playing a maintenance person, turned out the lights on the station, and the camera pans out, and the decommissioned station is blown up, definitively telling everyone watching that the station played its part, and the arc has ended.
See what other authors and readers think on my fellow YA Carnie’s sites!
And see What’s New on this link: Updates, new releases, cover reveals, contests!