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August 6th, 2004, 07:06 PM
I am in the beginning of writing a fantasy novel, and I am pretty sure it will only be a single, stand alone book.

It seems these days, that even trilogies, are much too short, and 5+ novel "door stoppers" rule the shelves. While I like some of these series as much as anyone else, I worry that they are pushing the stand alone stories out of the minds of readers (and publishers).

Am I nuts here?

World Builder
August 6th, 2004, 07:42 PM
I think there's certainally room for more stand alones. There should be more of them, and any good stand alone fantasy novel (particularly if its not a megalithic behemoth) is a god-send, as far as I'm concerned.

In my own writing, I'm planning mostly stand alones. About half of the stories are set in either of two universes (one fantasy and one SF), but are only loosely connected to other stories in the same world. Basically, I'm trying to have my cake and eat it too. The other half of my stories are completely on their own set in one-shot worlds.

August 6th, 2004, 07:56 PM
I would certainly read a well-told, concise, single-volume work before I would go in for a mega-series or even a trilogy.

August 6th, 2004, 08:06 PM
If you do write it, it might not stay a single volume for long. If it sells well, you'll probably wind up being asked to write a sequel.

ironchef texmex
August 6th, 2004, 08:14 PM
Ex is right. But it's for a practicle reason: world building is very difficult. It takes alot of time and creativity to create a world. If it works well, why start all over and build another. This isn't unique to fantasy by the way. Sci-fi writers like Iain Bank and Larry Niven create a world (galaxy... whatever) and then keep using those worlds as settings for future books.

I can't think of any reason why a stand-alone would ever become an endangered species, just don't rule out the possibility of reusing the setting one day.

August 6th, 2004, 08:15 PM
I still see the shelves dominated by "Mega series". I wonder if we will have a shifting of taste back to smaller series due to some of them not living up to expectations.

I can definitely see publishers liking these large series. I know there have been more than a couple where I had kept buying the next volume, even though I did not like it, just to see the story through.

August 6th, 2004, 08:39 PM
I would say!

Though there is a tendency for multivolume fat fantasy, some of the best books in the genre have been standalone!

Erm: Poul Anderson's High Crusade and The Broken Sword;
John M Ford's the Dragon in Waiting;
Guy Gavriel Kay's Tigana

(I'll leave others to add more if necessary).


August 6th, 2004, 10:03 PM
The reason I two of the book stores in my area so well is that they group 'series' fantasy apart from fantasy. So the 'mega doorstops' are in one area and the trilogies/one offs are in another. Makes it much easier. In fact, in both book stores, there's more space allotted to SF/F than nearly all ofther fiction combined. I've been able to find a large number of works that I would have otherwise missed.

There is always room for the one-off. There are still many people who want to read one book and not commit years to a series.

August 7th, 2004, 03:42 AM
I hope so Maus, I do hope so... or else six years of my life have been wasted lol.. No that's not true; the people I have met during my research and the friendships made, have and do mean more than getting the thing published.

Don't get me wrong I want the monster (250,000 words and counting)published if possible, but I am not going to cry if it doesn't make it. I know the odds are against me from the start. To be honest when I set out to write it, it was partly to see if I could do it and to vent my frustration at a large part of "fantasy" with regards to a subject dear to my heart.

August 10th, 2004, 02:18 PM
As a reader, if I am going to invest the time to really get into a world and care about the history and characters, I like to know that even if it is a standalone, there is a good chance that there may be a sequel or another book set in the same world. Guy Gavriel Kay is a good example and strikes a good balance. His books such as The Lions of Al Rassan, and Last Light of the Sun are standalones, and yet they populate different parts of the same world in different eras, as do the Sarantine books. I like the references to things that take place in the other books -- it's kind of like a David Lynch movie where there are subtle (and not so subtle) references to his other works and themes.