Standalone Or Story-Arc?
Which do you prefer?
I’m taking a straw poll, because although the Bryant & May novels are standalone they also have a story arc for regular readers. ‘The Memory Of Blood’ is very much a standalone novel, but picks up on a long-running MoD situation that’s reaching critical point. For the tenth Bryant & May novel, ‘The Invisible Code’, I’m thinking about an unusual scenario that could be taken either way.
I used to get annoyed when I’d pick up comics or books with continuing arcs. Being a constant reader, it’s difficult to separate storylines in your head, and lately I’ve read so many crime novels for the CWA Gold Dagger Award that characteristics and plotlines start to blur.
The all-purpose one would be; ‘An alcoholic Italian policeman investigates the murder of a young girl that echoes a case on the files ten years earlier, and encounters corruption in the courts.’
Mine, it is fairly safe to say, won’t be like that. But should it be self-contained, or continuing? Series don’t get reviews, so critics don’t care, but readers do.
The picture, by the way, is a first draft for the next cover.