Series or Standalones? – Figuring Out How All The Pieces Fit

When writers get together to talk craft and practical things like marketing, there are always a thousand variations of questions debating writing a series or writing standalone books.

But one thing I don’t think I’ve really heard authors mention in those discussions is how hard figuring out all the pieces in a series is.

Where do all the side characters fit?

Who goes with who?

Why did someone random just show up and start wanting attention?

What are they talking about?

For me, the questions seem endless when I’m trying to put together a world like my dragon universe. I can answer all kinds of weird questions about the characters and what’s going on in the lore, but sometimes it’s figuring out who matches with who that’s the hardest part of putting the puzzle together.

Hmm…you two look like a good match so you must go together…nope.

That can’t be right, you don’t fit at all…oops, should’ve paid more attention.

What are you talking about?

Like this interaction between Stefan and Boyd:

“Hmm, I might have to figure out some good ways to let you get the best gossip out of me.” As his eyes went wide again, I kissed his nose. “I wonder what kind of sexual favors I should trade for the story about why Ms. Candice can’t go into the bakery without all hell breaking loose.”

His mouth fell open. “She needed cookies last week and had to go all the way into the city because everyone would know she bought them from Walmart otherwise.”
He was the cutest thing.

“See?” I shrugged as he seemed to be considering how much the story would be worth. “I know what I’ve got.”

I did nearly everyone’s taxes and did the books for most of the businesses in town. I knew where every body was buried because no one could keep their mouths shut when they sat still for any length of time.

Stefan nibbled on his lower lip, staring up at me. “You have to tell me why Mr. O’Neil doesn’t like the smiley man who never orders anything but chicken tenders. No one will talk about it but everyone goes silent when they’re in the diner at the same time. It’s driving me crazy.”

I nodded decisively. “Deal.”

Who’s Ms. Candace? What is the problem with Chicken Tender Guy? Why doesn’t Mr. O’Neil like him?

Why is Chicken Tender Guy called Smiley Man instead of Chicken Tender Guy? I have so many questions.

And this is the hardest part of writing a series…I’m the one who’s supposed to find the answers and that just seems mean.

But I will push through and do my best to interrogate everyone about chicken tender/smiley man, and we’ll eventually figure out what happened at the bakery, and who the sexy man at the playdate party that Stefan talks to belongs to…because he’s definitely a Daddy…but whose is the big question.

Yep, series are hard sometimes.

Share in the comments: What’s your favorite? Do you like series? Standalones? Long series? Short ones? A series of standalones?

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