Wednesday, December 10, 2014
On Series & Stand-alones
Last week, I mentioned that I would begin focusing on writing series instead of stand-alone short stories. I'll explain a little more about that today, and also provide a little information on the upcoming series at the end.
So, when I first started writing, there were several factors that kept me away from writing series:
First, having been around some writers that treated writing erotica in a very mercenary way, mirroring stories and generally just focusing on the money to the exclusion of all else, I wanted to move away from that. I saw a series as a cheap way to draw readers in, because humans have a natural need to finish things.
If you've started a series (or just one book), you will want to finish it. Even if it isn't the best thing you've ever read. That made writing series feel manipulative. This is, in the end, hogwash. Not that we want to finish things, but that it's necessarily bad. We just come to care about characters and want to see what happens to them.
Second, I feared that either I or readers would get bored of writing a series, and either or both would end up disappointed. When I instead wrote a large amount of varied stand-alone stories, I tried to appeal to as many subsets of readers as I could, forgetting of course that if they only like one or a few of my stories, I'm doing them a disservice anyway. In some sense.
What actually ended up happening, of course, was that I only wrote on a given series once a month, and therefore had a lot of trouble making them flow naturally. I had to get into the story again all over every time I wrote them.
Third, I felt there was some value in exploring more characters, settings and stories in general. There is, to be sure, but I very often felt hampered by the length that I had to stick to in each story. Multiple stories I've written almost begged, in my mind, for a sequel. And perhaps more. But I moved on. I wanted to appeal to more people. I wanted to never get bored.
What I've learned after considering these opinions is that, well, I was focusing too much on the downsides of series, real or imagined, and not giving myself a chance to see what I could do if I actually focused on a series. There's also the unavoidable fact that readers like series. I don't think there's any shame in writing what readers like. Anything else inevitably leads to useless navel-gazing. So, to conclude: I will be trying out writing series for now. At least for a few months. And if the glove fits, I'll continue. If it doesn't, I'll try something else.
The first series I'll try will be fantasy-erotica with a solid story to go along with it. With fantasy comes magic, and in this world, at least in this particular place and for the people I'll be writing of, magic and the ability to wield it is connected with sex. The story will, as is par for the course with me, be Futa/F. Right now, I have no idea how many installments there'll be. That depends on where the story goes as I write, to some degree. And it depends on reader response.