Serials vs Novels – What’s the difference?

This is a quick comparison between Raythe’s serials and her novels (published under X. Aratare.)

Difference 1: Author Name

To avoid format confusion, serials are published under author name Raythe on the site raythereign.com.  Novels are published under author name X. Aratare (wraith in Hungarian, lol.)  We do this to differentiate the novels from their origin serials.

For example, The Merman, Artifact, and Cursed series started as serials on the Raythe Reign site.  The book versions of them are based on the same material, but quite different.

Difference 2: Format

A lot of readers get frustrated because we won’t just package up Raythe’s serials as novels.  “They’re great stories, so why don’t you put them on Amazon?  You would get a lot of readers,” is the general question.

The answer is: novels have certain expectations that the serials do not meet.

Pace.

Almost every chapter of a serial ends on a high-tension note.  Serials chapters are like TV episodes, written for maximum drama and action.  But if you string a lot of TV episodes together, it’s not the same as a movie.  Reading a lot of serial installments, one after another, is not the same as a novel (though it can still be just as entertaining.)

While there are a lot of people who would be ok with reading the serial in book format, we know that many, if not most, “book readers” want and expect novels.  Even if we plastered a huge red warning on the Amazon page that these are repackaged serials, we’d still get angry, disappointed comments… and rightly so.  Because Amazon sells books, and that’s what people expect to get.

Length.

The shortest of Raythe’s serials (Cursed, The Merman, possibly Valkyrie) are the length of one novel.  The majority of Raythe’s serials span 2x – 5x the size of a novel – we’re sometimes in Lord of the Rings territory, here.  The serials would have to be elegantly broken up into volumes, but that’s not easily done because of the pace differences.

Errors.

All the serials have errors.  Sometimes they are minor, like typos and name changes.  Sometimes, they are major story twists discovered in real-time by the author and audience, and explained in the author’s comments.  This is part of the fun of serials, but not acceptable in a novel.

It would all have to get redone.  In the cases of huge stories such as The Pact, The Abyss, and The Dark Earth, smoothing out the timeline, mythology, and continuity could take years.

“Detangling.”

Most of the serials have huge intertwining plots, rather like soap operas or multi-year comic book series.  Often, there are recurring characters from other serials.  Many of the stories would all have to be “detangled” from one another to make sense on their own… such as anything in the Winter Haven shared universe.

Interaction!

The Member comments and Raythe’s replies are part of the serial experience.  We (the Raythe Reign Team) look at these stories as living works, as long as people keep commenting on them – and they do.  Even for stories that concluded 4 years ago, new Members discover them and leave comments.  That is just awesome.

The best part of fandom is how it keeps stories alive.  We publish serially not just because Raythe likes to write serially, but because we love the social participation (and sometimes even story participation, if a Member has a good idea or point…)

A RR serial story has a lot in common with comic books.

For the serials that are getting the novel treatment, they are new stories based on the same material.

Raythe doesn’t like to write the same thing twice, and she wants to give Members something new to read.  Raythe almost always is working on “novelizing” one of her serials into novels, but she spends most of the time doing what she – and Members – love: rolling out new serial stories.

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