When I started writing I Can See You there was only the one story planned. At the time, no sequel immediately sprang to mind. To be honest, I when I started writing this book back in 2005, I would’ve been delighted just to know that I would actually finish the first draft. 🙂
The same applied to A Scream In The Woods. The idea for the story came to me one evening and ten months later I started to write the first draft. Another one-off story at time of conception.
I came across this article by Vincent Dowd on the BBC website titled: Publishing cheer as buyers seek out interesting reads original link here.
One line in the opening comments raised an eyebrow. The right one, before anyone asks.
But the inclusion of a handful of less obvious names may cheer those who think publishers and readers no longer value the interesting one-off novel.
Do we “no longer value the interesting one-off novel?”
Last year I read 24 books. 11 of those were one-offs when I read them. That might change as I believe a couple of sequels are in the offing. At no stage during my thought process did I think to NOT reading a book because it stood alone.
Maybe I’ve misunderstood the article, but the value of the strong story is equally valid in my eyes whether one of a series or one of one. Some characters only have the one story to tell. They spend their brief time spinning the one yarn and they can rest easy. Their work complete.
Balanced against the series or the trilogy, is a one-off novel the weak link?
There are times when I want to read a familiar character. The Hunger Games trilogy gave you three stories to devour, there are a gazillion series’ out there for a reason. You find a good book and find another 10 containing the same character. You can dip in and out of different stories knowing what the general feel of the book will be.
That doesn’t mean we don’t want to read a fresh book filled to the brim with new characters. New locations and new adventures.
As it happens, the sequel to I Can See You is now formulating in the back of my mind. It’s a police procedural so they tend to lead towards multiple books. A Scream In The Woods could go either way.
So, my question to you as either a reader or a writer:
When you set out to read/write a story how much stock do you put into whether it is one of many?
Let me know whether you even think about this before you read/write a book.
Thanks for reading.