Writer’s Craft # 50 – Stand alone read until … ?
Your host, Lynda Williams, is the author of the Okal Rel Saga (Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing) and editor of the Okal Rel Legacies series (Absolute Xpress). She also works as Learning Technology Analyst for Simon Fraser University and teaches a introductory web development course at BCIT. For a list of Okal Rel titles see: Lynda Williams on Amazon.com.
Meet Eler. I’ve been working on edits for Part 8: Gathering Storm in which Eler puts on a play to flush out how his laconic brother, Horth, feels about the family cataclysm of their youth, back in Part 2: Righteous Anger. Here’s Eler’s perspective on the crucial moment:
At first, Eler didn’t understand when he saw Horth rocket onto the stage with sword drawn. Then, in a flash of fatal insight, he realized his success was his damnation. For Horth, to recreate the past was literally to make it real for him, and he was acting on the feelings it inspired, just as he had done so many years before.
Integration of threads across the Okal Rel Saga, from beginning to end, is one of its strengths. So far, however, I’ve told people they could start with any book from one through seven because each tells one story in the larger tapestry. But I’m thinking this will be less true of books eight through ten, as the last set of series-wide tensions emerge from the background to be confronted and resolves. And why not? Does it really make sense to expect every book in a series to stand alone?
Speaking from your own experience, either as an author or a reader of longer series like Harry Potter, Game of Swords or Lord of the Rings — at what point can one reasonably expect the reader to have some prior experience with your world?