As an author, I’ve written both series books and standalone novels. I’ve also learned that modern readers prefer a series, meaning there’s a economic incentive for authors to write them over standalone novels. They lead to higher overall book sales. This serial approach fosters a devoted readership and encourages writers to craft a rich, evolving narrative that might span several connected series. Yet, standalone novels captivate with their ability to deliver a full, satisfying story in just one book. Some of the best novels are standalone. Think of books like 1984, The Stand, A Tale of Two Cities, or Hucleberry Finn. (Although The Stand fits into Stephen King’s larger narrative shown in The Dark Tower Cycle, and Huckleberry Finn ties into Tom Sawyer. Oh, and Greg Matthews much later wrote an excellent sequel, The Further Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, that I highly recommend.)


Mastering the Standalone Novel: The Art of Closure

Approaching a standalone novel involves a focused commitment to closure. Every major plot and character development introduced must come full circle by the book’s end. This doesn’t mean answering every question or resolving every minor subplot, but ensuring that you address the major conflicts. Standalone novels excel in providing a powerful narrative impact, encapsulated in a single volume. They offer new readers an accessible entry point into an author’s work and satisfy those seeking a complete experience without the need to commit to following a series. It’s no wonder so many stand-alone novels appear on top literature lists.


The Dynamic World of Series Writing: Continuous Threads

Crafting a series presents unique challenges and rewards. Each book in a series should fulfill a dual purpose: it must resolve its own narrative arc satisfyingly while also paving the way for future installments. (Authors sometimes do this too with intended stand-alone projects, leaving them room to write a sequel.) Achieving this balance is critical to keeping readers engaged over the long term. One effective strategy I employ in series writing involves layered plot structuring:


  • A Plot: This is the central storyline of each book, designed to resolve within that volume.
    B Plot: A secondary subplot that develops to become the A Plot of the next book.
    C Plot: A lesser subplot that upgrades to the B Plot in the subsequent installment.


This structured approach ensures that, while the primary plot (A Plot) reaches a conclusion by the book’s end, the secondary (B Plot) and tertiary (C Plot) plots introduce additional elements that extend into the next book. This technique maintains a moving narrative and keeps the readers intrigued and invested in the unfolding story.


Organizational Strategies for Series Writers

The organizational demands of series writing are more complex than those for standalone works. While a standalone novel might require just a notebook of background details, a series demands a robust system to manage a wealth of information to maintain narrative continuity across multiple books. I use World Anvil to organize the expansive Creedverse. It’s a platform that allows me to document everything from character developments to intricate plot threads and technological nuances within my universe. I’ve found it indispensable for keeping track of the sprawling details that define the series. For a deeper insight into the Creedverse, you can visit my World Anvil site. Note that most of the information is private, but I’ve made some entries available to readers.


The Creedverse (


Navigating Your Narrative Path

The decision between writing a standalone novel or a series hinges on the scope of the story you wish to tell and the commitment you expect from your readers. Standalone novels are perfect for telling a potent, self-contained story, while series offer the space to explore more complex narratives and character developments over time. As a writer, the key is to understand which format best serves the essence of your story and meets the expectations of your readers.

For those embarking on the writing journey, whether in the realm of standalone novels or series, remember that each format presents unique opportunities for creative expression and audience engagement. The most important aspect is to keep your readers enthralled and eager for whatever narrative journey you choose to take them on.



I’m setting up my next Kickstarter! My trilogy, The Adventures of Bodacious Creed is widely available. While I plan to write another trilogy about our hero, James Creed, I’m currently writing the first spin-off series, The Anna Lynn Chronicles.

This new series is about one of my most popular Creedverse characters, James Creed’s daughter, Anna Lynn Boyd. It’s appropriately called Anna, Daughter of Creed. Alas, I’m still working on the project video, but I plan to have the Kickstarter live within a month! To get the news when it’s up and running, sign up for my newsletter by choosing one of the free short stories in the sidebar.

“A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it.” ~ Samuel Johnson