Serial Distraction

The disadvantages of writing a piece of serial fiction never occur to me until after I’ve started writing and posting on my blog. I get these story ideas and find that they’re too long for one blog post and suddenly they take on a life of their own. Then I find myself facing the pressure of writing a new section each week whether the ideas are forthcoming or not! I should have learned my lesson last time.

Even with a well outlined plot, each segment of a serial piece is a little short story on its own and has to have a mini story arc in itself. To keep the readers’ interest from week to week, there needs to be action and intrigue, there is less time for character development and transition between scenes. Imagine the difference if the reader had the entire piece to read all at once. Both the writer and the reader would have time to explore a little history and character backstory, and the physical location or setting. The hook at the start and the cliff hanger at the end don’t need to come every 800-1000 words. It can be exhausting! Nevertheless, I treat these serial pieces as explorations and of course, they are truly at the rough draft stage, needing revision and expansion. So if each section of the current serial is less than perfect, I hope you will take those things into account.

I remind myself when I get frustrated, that the novel I’m working on began its life as a serial piece —you know, that WWI story I keep talking about? Yeah, I really need to get back to that!

So even though I’ve been distracted from my main work in progress, I still believe these serial pieces are valuable. They can be filed away for possible development and eventually I’ll have two more potential novels in progress.

28 thoughts on “Serial Distraction

    1. Haha! Yep! To be honest, most of the work I’m doing on the war story is research and note taking. I really haven’t added to the story in a while, though I have begun revising the material I already have. I have such trouble focusing!

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  1. I think that writing is a pastiche of a period, place or thing. A quilt of sorts, with all of the ideas waiting to be assembled in a way that presents your thoughts as you see fit. So, as frustrating as starting with a string, or some yard and wanting to see the quilt, the satisfaction of the completed quilt will be worth it. Keep on keeping on, Meg!

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  2. My ancient Greek serial is currently suffering from the pull of a new project – should have done a new chapter for tomorrow and that ain’t gonna happen! Luckily, there’s a couple in the bag that I can upload. Still have to get the next one written, though. This is going to be my debut standalone novel one day! :-p

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      1. Mine didn’t even start off as a deliberate serial… it just kind of happened. I’m now about two thirds of the way to an actual novel (whoop!) and to be honest I wouldn’t have got here without positive feedback from blog readers. 🙂

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      2. No, mine didn’t either. It was a short story, then I wrote just one more scene and then another…. Well, that is a lovely aspect of creativity: you just can never predict where it will take you! And blog readers are a great source of help and encouragement!

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  3. I love your serials. They are fantastic. I’ve tried a few myself, but unless they are flashiction o;Es of about 200 Words, I can’t seem to get past the third or Fort has instalment. As I’m a half a just go at it Writer and half a planner this usually what happens When a serial is becoming a novel. I have to sit down and plan, & realize the thing cannnot he done in blog posts. The exception might be continuing Tales such as Alice’s adventures in wonderland or snippets like that of characters. I’m always amazed and love reading your serials although I do see how much planning they too take and how cutting them down could be an issue.

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    1. I think back to the days when serial fiction was posted weekly in magazines like Sherlock Holmes in the Strand and so forth. It just amazes me that writers were able to work at it that way. Unless of course they had the whole story written ahead, a distinct possibility. I’ll have to go look that up… Anyway, thank you! I’m so glad you are enjoying them. It’s actually a nice way to impose some disciples on my writing even if the rough draft is well… just that a rough draft. The blog is a nice sounding board for new ideas and I view it that way. Readers can comment and help find flaws and inconsistencies which is a huge help!

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  4. I love your serials. They are fantastic. I’ve tried a few myself, but unless they are flashiction o;Es of about 200 Words, I can’t seem to get past the third or Fort has instalment. As I’m a half a just go at it Writer and half a planner this usually what happens When a serial is becoming a novel. I have to sit down and plan, & realize the thing cannnot he done in blog posts. The exception might be continuing Tales such as Alice’s adventures in wonderland or snippets like that of characters. I’m always amazed and love reading your serials although I do see how much planning they too take and how cutting them down could be an issue.

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    1. Yes, I thought of that, too. I read somewhere that the literary serial is making a little comeback thanks to blogs, podcasts and other social media. It certainly is a great way to work out the story in a disciplined way! Thanks Eilene!

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