Category Archives: Serial Writing

A Question For Those Who Write Serial Fiction

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Do You Write Web Serials?

Do you write web serials, or always wanted to try?  Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo and like to try something different?

Check this site out then:

 

 

WeSeWriMo

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Interview: Walter B Shillington

For the Blog’s inaugural interview let me introduce to you, WALTER B SHILLINGTON, author of Difficult Times, An Alien Invasion Serial:

If you were to introduce yourself to a group of strangers, what would you say?

Until recently I would have described myself as retired and mentioned my twenty-nine years employment as an electronic technician.  Now that my weekly serial is in full swing, I introduce myself as a writer.  For me the switch occurred the moment I sold my first episode.  A total stranger considered me a writer; that was good enough for me.

How long have you been writing?
I dabbled as a teenager, and then gave it up to concentrate on my military career.  Since retirement I have written two unpublished novels and authored a number of technical reviews for The Hub.  These projects taught me the basics and provided the experience necessary to fine-tune my craft.  I now write a weekly serial which follows the adventures of a man struggling to survive amid an alien invasion.

What do you write?

I normally write Science Fiction.  Typically, this type of story is based in the future, using unknown technology and undiscovered locations; the perfect genre for lazy writers who avoid research.

Once my present story ends, I plan to write about a private detective who sets up shop in a small town.  A serial of this type, while requiring a complicated plotline, would be fun to write.

Did you always believe you were meant to be a writer?  Or was this some accidental discovery?

I’ve always wanted to write.

Do you listen to music while you write?  If so, what kind of music?

I’m not great at multitasking.  The radio stays off.

What are you currently working on?

I write the weekly serial, Difficult Times.  It’s a briskly paced, science fiction adventure and is available on Kindle.

If you could be any character of any book, what would it be?

I’m sorry, I can’t think of an answer for that.

Do you name your muse(s)?

I assume you refer to my source of inspiration.  I take a long, brisk walk every morning, using the time to work out plots and dialogue.  When I sit at the computer and write, the air is heavy with smoke.  My muses are an unlikely pair; fresh air and cigarettes.

What is the one advice you would offer to a new writer?

Editing is the key.  I spend three days writing an episode.  The next day or two, I rewrite.  I’m ruthless.  If a word, sentence, or even a paragraph does not directly contribute to the story, it is deleted.  I’ll read the story aloud.  If a section sounds uneven, I’ll reword it until the paragraph feels as smooth as silk.

The following day I edit the material again.  I check for small stuff like overuse of certain words or paragraphs where all sentences tend to be the same length.  At this point it is useful to have someone else look over your work.  Friends and family can help but they tend to be too nice.  Join a local writers group or a website such as Scribophile.  Ask them to tear your story apart.

My final edit occurs on publishing day.  I write two months ahead, which means I haven’t glanced at this material in weeks.  This is good because I examine the work with fresh eyes.  I’m still shocked at the number of improvements made each time I perform the final edit.

Do dreams inspire your writing ideas?

Sadly, I seldom remember my dreams.  When I do, they never make sense.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I expect success.  I’ve worked hard to lay the groundwork, and continue to perfect my craft every day.  The steady improvement in readership increases my confidence; that’s the beauty of writing a weekly serial.  I plan to rise to the top of the best seller list within five years.

What do you think the future holds for serial fiction?

The outlook is bright.  On one end you have the novice writers who set up a blog and publish their episodes for free.  Those that read these installments can provide valuable feedback that allows the blogger to increase their skills.

On the other end you have the experienced writer who publishes well-edited installments on sites such as Amazon and Kobo.  The individual episodes provide little income but they introduce the writer and their work to the general public.  Then, when these episodes are bundled into a larger eBook, representing a season, they should sell quite well.

Any additional comments or advice you’d like to add for our readers?

Every writer understands the importance of the opening.  If the reader browses through the first few lines of a book and finds little to attract his attention, he puts it aside and moves on.

So how should you start your book?  Would background information, designed to bring the reader up to speed, be appropriate?  Could a strong physical description of the lead character, or of the setting, fit the bill?  What about action, dialogue, or even a verse from a poem?

There is only one rule.  The opening must grab the reader by the throat and drag him into the story.  Background information can work but, unless carefully composed, will be written off as a boring history lesson.  Physical description is fine, provided you keep it short.  Most writers tend to use action and dialogue, combined with crisp vivid description.

Remember, this is just the opening of a lengthy story.  You will have plenty of time to explain what’s going on, build your characters, and advance the plotline.  Don’t do it here.  Use this space to hook your reader.

Thank you, Walter, for visiting with us today!

Check out Walter Shillington’s serial, Difficult Times, at Amazon!  

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Serial Fiction Around the Internet

Sean Platt and David Wright have been quite busy since last summer.  Check out these serial fiction (on Amazon) by them:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also check out these serial fiction from other authors:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Other Places To Post/Advertise Your Web Fiction

In addition to the 5 ways to advertise your web fiction as previously posted, here are  a few more places to post/advertise your web fiction:

1. Tuesday Serial

2. The Serialists

3. Wattpad

4. Muse’s Success

 

 

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Serial vs. Serialized Fiction

The more involved I get with writing my web serial, the more I learn about serial writing.   This past week I learned that serial fiction and serialized fiction are not the same thing.

Serial fiction is an ongoing story where you publish as you write.

Serialized fiction is a completed work that is broken down into smaller pieces and published as one section or chapter at a time.

Still need more clarification?  Here’s a great article to read that will help you.

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Web Fiction and Copyright

Should you register your web fiction with the Copyright Office?  I believe this is a personal decision made only by the web writer.    It basically depends on your goal for the story you’re writing.   If you {eventually} intend to self-publish your web fiction either as an ebook or a paperback (Smashword and Lulu are two examples), I’d recommend that you do register your work.

Here are two sites to check out:

1. U.S. Copyright Office

2. Copyright Associates

 

What are your thoughts and/or experiences in regards to registering your web fiction?

 

 

 

 

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Calling All Serialists (aka Web Scribes)

For those who write serial/web fiction, check out the new page I just started, The Web Scribes.

 

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5 Tips On How To Keep Your Readers Coming Back For More

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How do you write a serial fiction that will have readers coming back for more?  Here’s a list of ideas that I’ve found that worked for others:

1. Post new chapters/sections in a timely fashion.  Don’t wait several weeks or months to post a new entry to your story.  Readers don’t like to wait very long to see what happens next.

2. Show, don’t tell.  Make your story come to life in a reader’s mind by showing what happen.  Allow the reader to lose her or himself in the world you created.

3. Try to end each section or chapter with a cliffhanger.  Give your readers no choice but to come back!

4. Make sure each entry is as free of grammatical errors as possible.

5. Find ways to make your story original.  Try something that few have dared to do.

Can you add other ways that would help increase the success of a serial fiction?

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Ways to Advertise Your Web Fiction

Okay, you started a web serial so now, how do you go about letting others know it exists?  One of the reasons you started this was to gain readers.  Right?

Here are a few possible ways:

1. Facebook

2. Twitter

3. Your personal or writing blog

4. Enlist it with the Web Fiction Guide

5. If you’re a part of a writing community, you can let your fellow writers know that you started a web serial and would welcome any comment and/or feedback.

For those of you who have successfully launched your web fiction, share with us (newbies) any other ways we can increase our readership base.

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Are All Serial Fiction Alike?

As I’m learning more about serial fiction, I’m finding that they are not all the same.

Serialized fiction can be serial in nature, or episodic.

Let’s look to the dictionary, shall we?

Serial is defined as “published in installments or successive parts” and is “intended to be continued indefinitely.”

Episodic is defined as “separate or intenuously related parts or sections” which means they are “loosely connected.”  In other words, each episode can be self-contained.

A few examples of episodic fiction are:

Yesterday’s Gone by David W. Wright and Sean Platt

World War Z by Max Brooks

Iyetra

Can you think of any other examples of serial or episodic fiction?

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Yesterday’s Gone Is Back!

Just a quick blurb for this week’s post.

For those interested in apocalyptic stories, check out Yesterday’s Gone.  This serialized horror fiction has just began its second season (actual date was January 10th)!

Check back here next week where I’ll discuss why all serialized fiction are not alike.

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Guest Post by Susan Helene Gotfried

Please welcome Susan Helene Gotfriend this week as she talks to us about serial fiction.

When I began blogging back in 2006, there weren’t a lot of people involved with online serials. In fact, back then, the blogosphere was alive with charges that posting fiction online was the same as publishing your fiction, and why would you do that if you wanted to make money from your writing? People, probably seeking to be helpful, out-and-out told me I was a fool. I didn’t care. I wanted to use these snippets of fiction — call them flash, call them outtakes as I used to, call them what you will — to prove to agents and editors that a readership existed for Trevor and the gang.

That readership was there, all right, but not in the way I’d been expecting. Instead of attracting agents and editors, my readers told me they wanted something different. Sure, they were dying for the novel I’d been promising (Trevor’s Song, finally released in 2010), but they also wanted a physical book that contained all the fiction I’d been posting.

In 2008, two years after I began my blog, I released my first book, ShapeShifter: The Demo Tapes (Year 1). Three years later, it still sells well.

Over those three years, I’ve seen a lot of changes happen in the area of serial fiction. The biggest change has been an acceptance of the practice. Those dire warnings of ruined careers have ceased; no one’s predicting an utter lack of literary success because I chose to post flash fiction featuring the characters from my novels.

I’ve even seen entire blogs devoted to serial fiction and while many of them have been flash-in-the-pan events, author Alice Audrey’s got a great thing going at her blog, Alice’s Restaurant. She keeps a linkie in her sidebar and once a week reminds us serial writers to post our links. To keep us active and involved, she goes to the trouble of featuring one of the participating authors.

What a world of difference. I love it.

Part of this success can be attributed to the way blogging has evolved. Thanks to the e-book revolution and the ease of self-publishing, more and more authors are jockeying for visibility. Twitter has helped, with the #amwriting hash tag and the more pointed #SundaySnippet and #FridayFlash communities.

Mostly, though, I think that the change came about because of us brave pioneers, who proved that posting serials wasn’t the death knell at all. It was an opportunity, and it’s one I’m glad I was brave enough to seize.

I have to say that the authors who are able to write a linear story and keep it going from week to week leave me in awe. They have the creativity, the characters, the vision, and mostly the organization and discipline to make it happen. The aforementioned Alice Audrey is on episode 242 of her serial, Suzie’s House, as I write this. That’s four-and-a-half YEARS of posts. It’s spawned books, too, which I hope to read one day soon.

For me as a serial writer, I’m not nearly that organized. I’ve got the characters, but leave things mostly up to my whim and inspiration. That was where the clamor for the Demo Tapes books came from: my readers wanted better organization. They wanted to trace the lives of Trevor Wolff and his best friend, Mitchell Voss, from the time they meet until their band, ShapeShifter, reaches a pretty high pinnacle of success.

Over the years, I’ve created more characters, with more tales to tell. There’s Springer, the hapless ShapeShifter fan. There’s Pam, the groupie. Chelle LaFleur covers music for the Trumpet, a newspaper as fictional as she is. She rants in a voice all her own. There are others, as well, but so far, none as celebrated as the Roadie Poet. The clamor is growing for him to star in his own book, and I shall provide it as soon as I have enough poems to fill a nice-sized volume.

All this means, folks, is that serial fiction is alive and well. Why not take the plunge?

Thank you, Susan!

You can find Susan and her work at the following sites:

West of Mars

Susan’s books

Or follow Susan on Facebook

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A Possible Serialized Fiction Of My Own

Ever since I heard about Yesterday’s Gone, I can’t stop thinking about starting my own serialized fiction.  I have had several different ideas in mind, and instead of doing each one of them separately, I’m going to combine them all into one. 

So far, I’ve spent this weekend drafting up the summary for the entire storyline; I’m now working out an outline for each ebook.   And there will be several.  Each ebook will average between 25 to 50 pages; the inaugural book will probably be the shortest of which I will also offer as a freebie to hopefully stimulate general interest.  

The genre of this series will be a combination of science fiction and YA, but mostly fantasy with a good dose of horror sprinkled in.

Stay tuned for future postings on this project!

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Serial Fiction: What are your thoughts?

Is serialization of your work a good idea? Is this something new in the publishing world?

Serial fiction is really nothing new. In the past, this was popular mostly in the form of comics. Stephen King’s The Green Mile was a serialized work of fiction. I think you get the idea.

Currently, there is a new series that is starting to gain in popularity called, Yesterday’s Gone. On Amazon, this ebook series, as of today, ranks 44th for Horror fiction. Since New York Times recently started to include ebooks in their Best Sellers list, it may not be too long before Yesterday’s Gone finds its way there.

While you’re still pondering on my questions above, go ahead and read this guest post by one of the authors of the series, David Wright.

What are your thoughts on serialized fiction? Would this be something you would try?

 

(Originally posted on my other blog, A Writer and Her Adolescent Muse)

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