This is such great information. You get a step-by-step guideline on how to write a serial novel. Cat makes it look easy.
Evelyn M. Byrne
Awesome! I really like it because the instructions are clear and concise.
From the Author
The growing use of smartphones and tabletshas created a new market for bite-size content which can be read in one sitting.
The writing and publication of serialfiction began as early as the 17th century and reached its peak in the 19thcentury and lasted throughout the Victorian period.
Serial novels had a direct influenceon the format as well as the content of the longer literature which followed.Published in newspapers and magazines in monthly installments, the new form ofliterature allowed middle class readers access to novels which would have beentoo expensive for them to purchase in a single edition.
Each chapter or installment of the novel had to capture the reader's interest as asingle unit as well as contribute to the novel as a whole. Writers during theVictorian age suffered the same challenges as today's writers as they wrestledwith looming deadlines and reaching a required length.
Some writers finished the entirenovel before they ever submitted their first installment, while others allowedthe novel to evolve with each new addition.
The later could prove to be difficultand the story interrupted or delayed if the author became ill.
Growing up, I read serial novels I'dfind in my mother's family magazines or in my grandfather's issues of Grit. I can still remember the anticipation of acoming installment and the excitement of opening the magazine to read the newepisode.
Readers are willing to wait to read agood story.
Waiting is an intrinsic part ofreading a serial novel and a major part of the fun. This particular art form isbuild around the element of drama and depends to a great degree on man's unquenchablecuriosity for its popularity.
Hence, a mainstay of the serial novelis the cliffhanger. While the writerdoesn't literally have to tie sweet Nell to the to the railroad track, he doeshave to leave the reader wanting more.
A cliffhanger or cliffhangerending is a plot device in fiction which features a main character in aprecarious or difficult dilemma, in a dangerous situation, or confronted with ashocking revelation.
The writer hopes his cliffhangerending will ensure that his readers will return to find out what happened tothe character in the next episode and how his dilemma has been solved.
Wilkie Collins summed up his formulafor writing a serial novel: "Make'em cry, make 'em laugh, make 'em wait - exactly in that order."
He is famous for the Sensation Novel,which relied heavily upon the cliffhanger.
The writer wants to pack as muchsuspense as he can into the ending of the episode without falling headlong intomelodrama, which would turn his drama into comedy.
Publishing a novel in installments orepisodes allows a writer time to gradually build a fan base and gauge hisreaders' reaction to his novel episode by episode.
If the reader reaction is negative ordifferent than he expected, the writer can twist and tweak the story to bettersuit his audience.
I have been writing serial novels offand on for the past ten years, and during that time have been published online,in newspapers, and in magazines.
To be a successful serial writer, youhave to know how to hook your audience installment after installment.
You have manage your plot so that it'sbalanced with the other elements in the story. Often time, writers new to thegenre will have the tendency to concentrate on plot above all else, leaving thereader little connection with the characters or with any sense of place or time.
The story becomes plot-heavy, leavingthe reader confused because he hasn't be given enough information to haveformed a solid frame of reference for the characters or the details of the plot.
If the reader is still interested inthe story at this point, he may find himself having to return to pastinstallments of the story and re-read in order to keep the story straight inhis own mind.
This is a death knell to the serialbecause most readers won't bother.
I have seen otherwise excellentwriters, writers fully capable of constructing well-developed scenes instandard fiction, fall flat when they attempted to write a serial novel.
Several reasons come to mind, but thetwo most prominent, by far, are (1) the writer viewed the serial story as a cut-up-novel or (2) the story read morelike a plot outline than a fully developed story.
I looked for online informationaddressing these problems to share with fellow writers, and when I found littleor incorrect data, I decided to write a book which would provide the needed information.
I've outlined a plan which is simpleand concise.
The plan looks simple on paper (or onscreen). Only when the writer begins to work through the steps in the plan willhe achieve that ah ha moment, and hewill understand the beauty of this method.
There are many and varied reason awriter might decide to write a serial novel. My best advice is to study theformat. Learn what works and what doesn't as well as the reasons many serialnovels fail to hold their audience.
I've tried to cover this in How to Write Serial Fiction and be Ready to Publish in Less Than 24Hours. If you have further questions, Iwould be happy to address your concerns and wish you all the best.