Wednesday, July 22, 2015
SERIES VS. SERIALS -- WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
Lately, I’ve heard a lot of people asking the difference between a series and a serial. With this in mind, I thought I’d explain the difference.
I write series. In each series title, a problem is introduced and solved in that book. All loose ends are tied up nicely and you’re not left wondering what happens next.
Each book or novella in my series stands alone. You don’t have to have read any of the other books in the series to understand a title. A few characters from previous books pop up in additional titles. However, if you haven’t read other books in the series, you won’t be lost.
My current series are the Kincaids, Stone Mountain, and the McClintocks. Most of the singles in my publication list are actually the first of a series I’ve yet to develop. I always want to know what happens to the characters later, don’t you? In fact, I think of books as a group. My next series will be THE BRIDE BRIDGADE, set in fictional Tarnation, Texas, and will come out later this summer and fall and into next year. This series will have seven books, each the title of the woman who is the main character. JOSEPHINE is the first book. I already have the covers, which were designed by the talented Skhye Moncrief. (Skhye is also a writer.)
I compare a series to movies like those made from Louis L’Amour books or Indiana Jones. Each movie continues with the same main character/characters but the problem is resolved by the end of the movie.
I love reading series novels. What a joy to find a new book I like and discover it’s the first of a long series. My latest series acquisition is a book by Jodi Thomas. Whether historical or contemporary, her novels always engage me.
By the way, the first of my Stone Mountain books, BRAZOS BRIDE, is now free!
Here's the Amazon link: http://amzn.com/B007HS10SY
The first of the McClintock series, THE TEXAN'S IRISH BRIDE, is also free:
The Amazon link is http://amzn.com/B008V1UG54
In a serial, such as Geri Foster’s emotional WOMEN OF COURAGE: LOVE RELEASED books, the plot continues from one book to the next. In the first book of a serial, several problems are introduced. Some of those are resolved in the first book while others are left dangling. The book ends in a cliffhanger. As you move through the serial, new problems are introduced as others continue. The arc for characters and plot continues throughout the serial.
Think of 1001 ARABIAN NIGHTS. That story is of a master serial teller. No doubt having her life at stake sharpened her imagination.
I compare a serial to a television series such as “White Collar”, “Cedar Cove” or the Bourne movies. Although each episode introduces a new plot problem for the main characters to solve, some initial concerns continue. We don’t learn the outcome of the quest until the final episode. At that time, we see the main character/characters having achieved his/her/their goal to find contentment or happily-ever-after--or, rarely, having failed and resolved to fate.
When I was a child, I used to go to the movies on Saturday while my mom went to the laundromat and did her grocery shopping. There was always a serial which ended with a cliffhanger so the audience would be sure to come the next week. The plan worked because my friends and I wanted to see every episode of Jungle Jim or whoever the characters were.
Serial novels are very popular now. I resisted them until my critique partner, Geri Foster, wrote one so compelling I can hardly wait for the next installment. Wow! She so hooked me with engaging characters and episodes packed with emotion and action. If you haven’t read WOMEN OF COURAGE: LOVE RELEASED, the first episode is free here. Just when I think Geri’s writing couldn’t possible improve, she proves me wrong and excels even more. The Amazon link for her free copy of LOVE RELEASED is http://amzn.com/B00WOG0GVG
By the way, next year you can look for a new WOMEN OF COURAGE serial titled LOVE RENEWED.
There you have the straight information on series vs. serials. Which do you prefer? Do you read both?