Posted by: Genny Colby | September 10, 2012

Is it just me…

If you follow me on Goodreads, or have read some of my posts on books, you know I do read a lot in the Young Adult genre.  Though I am finding myself branching back into the “adult” fiction more and more.  I put the adult in quotes because it is not that these books are inappropriate for younger readers, just that they don’t fit in the Young Adult category.

I also enjoy books that are a part of a series, watching the characters and the story lines develop and grow.  But I wonder about this new-ish trend of instead of just having books #1, #2, #3, etc…we are getting books #.5, #1.5, #2.5, etc…  These are generally NOT books, but short stories.  Many times you can find them at the author’s/book series website, or at least you used to be able to.  There had been a trend for “outtakes”.  But these seem to be transitioning into actual “books”.   While I do enjoy that there is sometimes some extra content, allowing side stories or secondary characters to be flushed out a little bit, I am finding this trend to be a bit overwhelming.  Especially since now that these “half” books are starting to be published for purchase.  Often they are available only in electronic form, yet the price points are close to what a full length book would be sold for. When they were available just to read off a website, for free, this trend was not too bothersome.  Now that this is becoming a common practice and publishers are making them available for purchase, it seems like they are just trying to milk as much money out of the reading public as possible.  Especially given that these stories are generally just parts of the books the author either took out of the book, or just sort of scribbled down as an afterthought  Most of this “.5” books are not full of anything of substance to the story or even the characters.

Now, there are exceptions to every role.  Mr Michael Scott has written two short stories to accompany his series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, with more (hopefully) to come.  The difference here is that Mr Scott has taken time to not only create the original series of stories, but he has created such a depth of characters that the reader is always asking for more about them.  His short stories may tie into the original series, but they are original stories about some of the most beloved characters in his books.  They often take place outside the time frame of the original series.  They don’t feel like an afterthought or an outtake, but rather a true short story, ready to stand on its own.

And that is how it should be.  If you are going to write a short story, or a novella, about secondary characters, or fill in a time gap, they need to be able to stand up alone.  They should feel finished.  They should have a story of their own tell, even if it is a just short one.

So, yes, today’s pet peeve…authors who create “mini-stories” that have no substance on their own, that have no purpose other than to have readers shell out more money.   What are you thoughts on this new trend?


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