Any work that runs at more than one volume or installment. Usually, these works tend to be much longer than your average book, but there are exceptions. The work itself can be considered one large story broken into parts or several smaller stories with recurring themes and characters.
The reasons for breaking a story up into parts can vary. Some books, like The Lord of the Rings
, were considered too long by the publisher, making this an example of Executive Meddling
. Other times, this is simply a demand of the medium or genre that the author works in. For example, the novels of Charles Dickens
were all serialized in fiction magazines due to the prohibitive cost of book printing. In both of these cases, the stories are considered one large work and are often combined in one volume for sale later. See also: Serial Novel
, Divided for Publication
Other times, the works are meant to be individual stories that stand on their own. This can be the intention of the author from the start. Other times, such as with an unexpected Cash Cow Franchise
, one book that was meant to be self contained becomes outrageously popular, prompting sequels.
This is a literature
trope and an example of Prose Fiction
- The Lord of the Rings as mentioned above.
- The work of Charles Dickens were sold this way. Examples include:
- Harry Potter
- The Wheel of Time
- Creator/Marcel Proust's masterpieceIn Search of Lost Time, the longest novel ever, was released in seven volumes between 1913 and 1927.
- Don Quixote was originally two books published a decade apart. Today they are usually printed together as one volume.
- Stephen King's The Green Mile was originally one of these, spanning six volumes.
- Alice in Wonderland was originally published as two separate books: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.
- Warrior Cats
- Compulsive writer Isaac Asimov achieved this with his autobiography. His publisher reformatted the manuscript into two volumes without batting an eyelid (not surprising, considering how much they had already made on his countless other books).
- The Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde. Seven books and counting.
- The Spanish release of Doorstopper Cryptonomicon was split into three volumes titled after the three encryption algorithms covered in the series: El Código Enigma, El Código Pontifex and El Código Aretusa.
- The Mardrus & Mathers translation of The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night was published in four volumes, totaling over 2300 pages.