Series or Stand-Alone?

Do you like your stories as stand-alone wholes, or in layered, multi-piece series?

This question can apply not only to books but also to movies and television; really, to anything that tells a story. 

While I enjoy a good story in whatever form, I prefer books that are in series, to an extent.  No book ever leaves me so sastisfied at the end that I don’t want to know more about the characters, so I like books that follow the same people.  I especially like when a character’s big story is done but the author follows with related characters, to let us peek into the lives of the familiar characters while following a new story.  Jacqueline Carey and Merecedes Lackey, two of my favorite authors, are quite good at this.  I also like epic fantasy, stories that take many books to unfold, leading us on a twisting plot that overarches the whole series.  Harry Potter, Sword of Truth, and Wheel of Time are excellent, popular examples of this that I enjoy.  My only problem with these lies in the waiting – I have mentioned before that I am impatient, and waiting a year or more for the next piece of a story is not something I relish.

When it comes to movies, I am ambivalent.  Some series of movies are good, and I enjoy them.  Others, I wish the creators had stopped at the first one.  I also enjoy stand-alone movies, where it is clear that we’ve seen the whole story. 

TV shows are called series for a reason.  We watch week after week to see the same characters, the same concepts, the same locations, and the same basic plot structure.  But there are differences between the truly serial shows and the more episodic ones, and I find the episodic ones are more to my liking.  If I miss an episode of NCIS, for example, I can still watch the next week and know what is going on.  I like the character development to move gradually, so I get to know the players but the show is not so focused on them that they comprise the entire plot. 

From my readers who have finished The Queen’s Butterflies, I have been asked for a sequel.  So far my story ideas are one-book; no epic fantasy for me.  That does not preclude following the characters in a new adventure, a la Jacqueline Carey, and I did leave some threads of the story unresolved intentionally.  It would be a shame to create an entire world and set only one story in it.  I have an idea for the plot of another Butterfly story floating around in my head.  At this point, though, I am waiting to see if I can get the first published; it would seem silly to write another if nothing ever happens with the first one.

Don’t forget my Birthday Challenge!  50 hits on Aug 10!  2 days and counting…