Tag Archives: Marissa Meyer

This week’s challenge: writer or characters?

This is slightly off-topic from my free reading challenge (once more: “I read some books” makes for a less than fascinating post), but my blog this week was prompted by a question on twitter about whether readers prefer standalone novels or series.

It’s one of the “rules” of independent publishing that series sell vastly better than standalone books because it’s now an established “fact” that readers prefer series of books that they can revisit time and again, like going back to a favourite holiday resort.

So, I started looking at my own reading preferences – and came to the conclusion that it depends – although series have become so ubiquitous in YA that it’s a little hard to tell.

New out - click for preview and to buy!
New out – click for preview and to buy!

I’ve just finished Gill-Marie Stewart’s No More Lies, which is the conclusion to her George and Finn trilogy of books. That’s a terrifically fun series – romance and cosy crime for teens. But I know perfectly well that whatever Gill-Marie does next I’ll go with her – whether it’s in the George and Finn universe or something completely different.

Good, but...
Good, but…

On the other hand, I fell utterly in love with Marissa Meyer’s Cinder and went on to consume Scarlet and Cress in the Lunar Chronicles series in short order. And yet, Fairest and Winter are sitting on my bookshelves, watching me (I’m sure) with resentment every time I pick something else out or settle down with my Kindle. Perhaps it was the gap of time waiting for Winter that made my attention wane; maybe it’s because the book is about a mile thick and there are too many books out there for me to want to read one that’s the size of three. I don’t really know the cause, but my passion for that series has definitely faded.

rain-stormI can’t actually find very many standalone YA books in my shelves, which is remarkable. I followed Kim Curran from trilogy Shift, Control, Delete to standalone Glaze (and they’re all fabulous), and I read Virginia Bergin’s The Rain and The Storm duology and wait impatiently for her next. I can’t find an author whose books I’ve liked that I’ve deliberately not followed into another world or genre.

Overall I think I care more for the author and the writing than for the world, but it really does depend. If I like a book and there’s another by that author I’ll take a look. If I like it I’ll read it, if I don’t I won’t. I don’t think that marks any change in my reading habits to what I’ve always done.

Over to you, dear reader – do you prefer series or would you rather settle down with a standalone book?

A life of its own

There’s Magic in them there words!

There’s something magical about writing. Well, yeah, I would think that, wouldn’t I? – but it’s true. However badly written a book, I’ve never yet found one that didn’t convince me that its story was true. I might condemn the characters for being one-dimensional or acting irrationally or stupidly.  I might think events are contrived or even downright silly, but I still think it’s as real as anything I read in the paper. It’s as though the words have a life of their own – and when you’re a writer as well as a reader you know that’s absolutely true.

Portable magic KH

Over Christmas I wrote a couple of short pieces, aiming to have some “extras” to tempt people to sign up to my Reader Group (and keep those who’ve already signed up entertained). That was the intention, but like most magic in stories, it gained a life of its own.

Sulky teenager

One story wouldn’t co-operate, insisted on wandering off on tangents and I’ve ended up with 8k words but not much of a clue what the story is yet (but I’m looking forward to finding out!).

Hijacked by my heroine

The other one … well! It was prompted by the tiniest little idea (a game the characters play to pass the time in Marissa Meyer’s Winter, actually) and my imagination went off in some weird and wonderful directions. I’ve ended up with a solid 3k word story (Queen of Rubies – even the title marched into my head fully formed), but my heroine isn’t content with that and keeps chattering in my head, demanding more time and space to tell her story.

Hostage to imagination

I’d love to give her more time, but I’ve got a novel to finish revising, Across the Metal Seas is due back from my editor any day, and real life will insist on requiring my time and attention. I’m trying to ignore her, not entirely successfully. If it comes down to a battle of wills, I’m not sure I’m the one who’ll win.

Forced to write by a figment of my imagination – I think that’s the writer’s life in a nutshell!

Want to read it?

Queen of Rubies will be available first to subscribers on my Reader Group list. Sign-up if you’d like to read it when it’s finished (in either my or my heroine’s opinion). In the meantime, you’ll get exclusive, monthly access to deleted scenes, character profiles and extras.