November 12, 2018, 11:03:32 PM

Author Topic: Epic or Standalone?  (Read 3159 times)

Offline Phil Norris

Epic or Standalone?
« on: August 02, 2012, 03:41:38 PM »
Which do you prefer, or which do you more often read?

January 2011 I was introduced to GRRMs A Song Of Ice And Fire for the first time, up until that point I'd steered clear of epic, multy edition saga's since the (IMO) somewhat disappointing ending to Stephen King's The Dark Tower. I felt it wasn't worth my while to invest a large amount of my time & money only to get an endgame that didn't measure up to what went before. So I'd filled my reading time up with standalones and trilogies. Reading ASoIaF changed that view for me, it got me back on the epic, multy edition saga horses back so to speak.

It's something I've always wondered of other readers, do they have preferences, do they have trends they follow. Is there a clique of SFF readers, that will only read ongoing series because its the only way to get the feel of the world the author has created. Likewise is there a clique that won't touch ongoing series?

I'm not so much talking about ongoing series like Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, I'm more talking about series that tell one story, over mutiple volumes.
 


To have an idea is not enough - no matter how good the idea is.

Offline CaMarshall

Re: Epic or Standalone?
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2012, 05:06:28 PM »
What put me off reading Robert Jordan was the amount of novels there were to read before finishing. Then there are series you start reading and you hope they never end, the Kingkiller Chronicles' make me cringe to think how Rothfuss will fit all of what needs to be concluded into a final third book but i have my hopes he will do more.

 I think it all depends on how it is presented, for example Robin Hobb groups her Eldering series into groups of three, except the latest one is four long I think, and this means you can start anywhere and still have a triology to read. I'll never claim to understand how my mind works but to me, a 9 book series and another to read 3 sets of 3.

I guess I prefer epic just because what draws me into novels the most is strong characterization. I don't want to read one book learning to love and hate the characters and then have it end there. Plus my curiousity tends to outweigh my imagination, the logical part of me wants answers.

If I continue much more I'm going to start ranting :P

Offline Funky Scarecrow

Re: Epic or Standalone?
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2012, 06:41:09 PM »
I'm not fussy. If the writing's good, I'm up for anything; stand alones, epic multi-part series, self-contained trilogies, interconnected stand alones, whatever.
I am NOT short. I'm further away than I look.

Offline Nighteyes

  • Send me Leopard Erotica.
  • Ringbearer
  • *****
  • Posts: 6699
  • Total likes: 1397
  • OH WOW! JUST WORKED OUT HOW TO DO THIS!!!!!
    • View Profile
Re: Epic or Standalone?
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2012, 06:59:12 PM »
What put me off reading Robert Jordan was the amount of novels there were to read before finishing. Then there are series you start reading and you hope they never end, the Kingkiller Chronicles' make me cringe to think how Rothfuss will fit all of what needs to be concluded into a final third book but i have my hopes he will do more.

 I think it all depends on how it is presented, for example Robin Hobb groups her Eldering series into groups of three, except the latest one is four long I think, and this means you can start anywhere and still have a triology to read. I'll never claim to understand how my mind works but to me, a 9 book series and another to read 3 sets of 3.

I guess I prefer epic just because what draws me into novels the most is strong characterization. I don't want to read one book learning to love and hate the characters and then have it end there. Plus my curiousity tends to outweigh my imagination, the logical part of me wants answers.

If I continue much more I'm going to start ranting :P

Some good points here, esp regarding Hobb. 
The Real Powers That Be

Offline Elfy

  • Writing contest regular
  • Powers That Be
  • Ringbearer
  • *
  • Posts: 6932
  • Total likes: 665
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
    • Purple Dove House
Re: Epic or Standalone?
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2012, 12:39:30 AM »
It depends. I don't really rule out either. I was stunned when I heard an author state that they had no awareness of a popular epic fantasy series because they didn't read epic fantasy. I'll read anything I think is interesting, it doesn't particularly fuss me if it's multi volume or standalone. Probably need a slight clarification here, just because epic fantasy generally stretches to more than one book, doesn't mean that something in a single volume can't be epic. Lord of the Rings was written as one book, it was just published as three. Some writers can do in one book what it takes others 4 or more to do.     
I will expand your TBR pile.

http://purpledovehouse.blogspot.com

Offline AlmightyZael

Re: Epic or Standalone?
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2012, 03:44:27 AM »
When an Epic grabs me...boy, it grabs. Malazan for example.
There's nothing better than being lost in a world that slowly grows and becomes alive in your head, something that you can imagin still living even when you arent reading. The wind is still blowing, the trees are still whispering, the farmers are still tilling...God, I love that.

There seems to be a lack of standalone novels in my opinion. I know there are loads, but compared to ones that span 3/5/9 they really lack.
Even a duology every now and then would be nice. Kingmaker/Kingbreaker comes to mind...
Up Helly Aah!

Offline Phil Norris

Re: Epic or Standalone?
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2012, 07:32:07 AM »
Probably need a slight clarification here, just because epic fantasy generally stretches to more than one book, doesn't mean that something in a single volume can't be epic. Lord of the Rings was written as one book, it was just published as three. Some writers can do in one book what it takes others 4 or more to do.     

I chose epic in the sense of multi-volume spanning stories like Malazan, Wheel of Time, ASoIaF rather than epic as in the style of the story (ala Epic Fantasy).
To have an idea is not enough - no matter how good the idea is.

Offline Lionwalker

  • Writer of Twilight Fan Fiction
  • Auror
  • ***
  • Posts: 1111
  • Total likes: 0
  • Gender: Male
  • Schmoking Cultist
    • View Profile
Re: Epic or Standalone?
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2012, 04:57:42 PM »
To be honest, I don't particularly look for epic series when choosing a book. I do like it when I love a world and story that I read, and then discover there is more to come and delve deeper as the series progress, although it can get frustrating (a few obvious examples spring to mind).

The idea of multiple smaller series in a single world making up a longer series is also a great one. I think that works the best, in that you have complete story arcs but can still read on within the series. Hobbs, Kerr, Brooks are some good examples. The problem I find with this sometimes is that the author can lose the certain something they had in earlier works as they refuse to start something new and keep going back to the same world. Feist is an example of this. With each new series in Midkemia, his books have deteriorated in an almost mathematical progression.
 
I also find standalone's very satisfying as it is rare in the genre to be able to start a book and when you're finished know that the story is complete.

Sorry for the wishy-washy position, but it's a hard point to make a outright statement of preference.
Follow me on Twitter: @_Lionwalker

Offline MTMaenpaa

Re: Epic or Standalone?
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2012, 07:29:03 PM »
I enjoy reading a lengthy series, if only for knowing that I won't want for material for some time.  If there were more standalones and duologies, I'd take those too.  I also enjoy shared world books, where either one author or multiple write several independent stories set in the same world/city/country etc.
Foodie, Chef, Writer, Reader, Father, Geek

http://laughingcook.wordpress.com/

Offline Eclipse

  • Warning: this topic has not been posted in for at least 120 days.
  • Ta'veren
  • **
  • Posts: 3974
  • Total likes: 1931
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Epic or Standalone?
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2018, 10:11:29 PM »
I enjoy both I’ve not read that many standalone through. I thought the Folding Knife was damn Awesome the perfect standalone in my opinion.
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

Jonathan Stroud:Ptolmy's Gate

Offline S. K. Inkslinger

Re: Epic or Standalone?
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2018, 09:28:35 AM »
Standalone. Or better, a duology/trilogy. I disliked epics and books that are longer than 6-7 books on a normal basis, actually. (except the Dresden files and Harry Potter)