Series Vs. Serials
A Series, in fiction, can be (among other definitions) a set of loosely related books connected by a cast of characters (such as a family [brothers] or a group [SEAL Team]), a location [city], an event [the apocalypse], or other element that tie the stories together. Often these books can be read in any order and the reader still has the ability to understand the premise, hasn’t missed much, and when other books are read, it simply adds to what they’ve already learned about the setting and characters. For example, secondary characters in the book you might read first are already married, but in a previous book in the series, they were the main characters and we enjoyed watching their romance blossom and grow toward impending marriage.
By this definition The Bride Lottery is the first book in a new series: Prosperity’s Mail Order Brides.
This series, like my others, will contain loosely connected books that may be read and enjoyed in any order. Each book is a complete romance— and as a romance has a happily-ever-after. While the lives of the characters naturally progress— they age, have more children, add on to the house, experience more life—the book has a tidy and intentional finish. A reader could enjoy a single title and not miss out on anything; reading enjoyment is typically maximized by picking up multiple books within the series. The loose connections sweeten the experience. It’s almost like a visit with old friends to see familiar characters either before or after their starring role.
Serials are quite different. Episodic in nature, serials can be viewed much like episodes in a favorite TV show. Multiple episodes (each a serial) make up a season (the whole book). Sometimes TV shows run for many seasons.
If a reader were to pick up a book in the middle of a series, they’ll have missed out on important information. While they may have a cliffhanger of an ending and some questions may have been resolved throughout, the story is far from complete.
Because the current generation loyally follows favorite shows on TV, it’s not surprising fiction has adopted the model. If a reader wants to read quick bites (under 2 hours of reading time), thrives on a power ending (often a cliffhanger), and pick up again with the next serial in a week or two, more power to them.
Some types of fiction lend themselves very well to the serial format. Others do not.
Personally, I dislike this format in the romance genre, and I promise— my series are not serials.
Please tell me…what is your preference–Series or Serials?
Copyright © 2015 by Kristin Holt, LC.