08 March 2012

On authors, stand-alone novels and trilogies

Lately I have thought a lot about authors, series and stand-alone novels. Series, or to be more exact trilogies, seem to be the big thing right now, especially if you look at the books in the YA section. I like reading trilogies when all three books are equally entertaining, fantastic and so on. But I also love reading amazing stand-alone novels that manage to start and finish a whole story in one book. 

Some authors just have to write trilogies, they have the ability to create three equally interesting and great books. They have the ability to create complex worlds and stories over several books. But maybe they would have trouble to write a brilliant stand-alone novel because they wouldn't be able to make all their ideas work in just one novel. 

And some authors can write fantastic stand-alone novels, they know how to create an interesting world in just one book, they know how to write a story that doesn't need three books to be told. They know how to create characters that enthrall you even though you only met them in one book. 

Lately I have read some books by authors that made me wonder why they write trilogies. These authors have created fantastic stand-alone novels in the past (at least in my opinion), but the first books in their new series were just ok. And some writers can write great first books in a series but then have trouble to create equally good books #2 and #3. I think that sometimes it's best to stick with what you can do. Not all authors need to be able to create fantastic trilogies that contain three equally good books. If you can write amazing stand-alone novels, then please go on with doing so. 

Of course there are some authors who can do both, they can create wonderful stand-alone novels and amazing series. And that's fantastic. But in my opinion it's not a bad thing if an author can't do both. As long as an author concentrates (and gets the chance to do so) on the type of things he/she can do in a great way, then everything is fine. So let's celebrate the authors who can write great stand-alones, and those who can write great series, and those who can do both. And let's hope that just because trilogies are the big thing right now, authors will still stick to the type of books they can write best. 

Btw, on the picture you can see books, stand-alone novels and two books from the bride quartet, from Nora Roberts. She is one of the authors who IMO can write both amazing series and great stand-alone novels. 


  1. To be honest I don't enjoy reading series very much - at least most of the time. Of course, like you said, there are some authors who have the talent to mesmerize me over the lenght of more than one book (for example Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series or J.D. Robb's In Death series, of course! ^.^). Manly I only have problems with series that have the same protagonists in every book because I love reading series that concentrate on different people in every book (like Nora Roberts' series do). I enjoy revisting couples from previous books, but only as reacurring characters, I just don't want them to be the focus of attention again. The main reason for that is that it always mean MORE drama. In most YA triologies that usually equals some kind of love triangle and I can't even tell you how tired I am of those! Authors who are fabricating drama and conflicts just to fill more books are the reason I'm starting to get wary of series (with the same protagonists). I like my books positive and happy!
    I'm a big fan of stand-alone novels and series that basically consist of those. Yes there's drama as well, but it's different. It's kind of hard to describe... maybe it's because the problems in stand alone novels and series with different protagonists are mainly from the outside, not cracks in the relationships of the couples AFTER they already had some kind of Happily Ever After in the first book of the series.
    Have I completely confused you now? xD I'm sorry, it's just really hard to convey my feelings on this matter... Basically I like to think that after the hero and heroine had their Happy Ending, they will have a good life as well. I don't want to read about additional problems. Call me naive, but that's just how it is :]

    1. I agree with everything you said. I also love trilogies or series that feature a different set of main characters in every book. And I also hate love triangles, they drive me crazy.

      And dito on the happy ever after and what happens when a book is finished. In my mind the hero and heroine have a great life without too many issues, and I don't really need to read about them or their problems again. I don't think that we are naive, we both just like reading about happy ends and happy lives.

  2. I've enjoyed some trilogies, but not all. You're right. Some authors can't pull it off well.

    1. I agree. Not every author needs to be able to write great trilogies, stand-alone novels are just as good.




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