Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Patricia Green talks about Serialized Fiction
Serialized Fiction by Patricia Green
Serialized fiction has a long, prestigious history. In 1836, Charles Dickens' first novel, The Pickwick Papers, began in serialization as nineteen installments over the course of two years. In 1893, Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson was also serialized, and, more recently, Stephen King's The Green Mile was added to the list. Today, serialization not only takes place on paper, as with these classic books, but also as "blog-fic," graphic novels, comic books, and serial fiction podcasts. Television, of course, is mostly serialized fiction.
Recently, two of my novellas, Kiki's Millionaire and Strong, Silent Type, were bought for serialization on Bethany's Woodshed a membership site. Although published many times over the years, I found writing for serialization a new challenge. To sell these stories, I had to conform to a template for online serialization. It is not as simple as writing chapters 1-20 and offering them to readers on a regular basis. Each chapter had to be a certain length in order for the reader to feel like she was getting her money's worth with that installment. They had to tell a satisfying segment of the story and provide a memorable lead-in for the reader when a new segment came out a week or a month later. And the whole book had to be complete before it was serialized, meaning that the publisher knew the end of the story would be delivered as reliably as the first chapter. No one wants to pull a Stephen King and offer a serialized story online only to leave it unfinished as he did with The Plant in 2000.
Kiki's Millionaire is serialized bi-monthly, while Strong, Silent Type was serialized weekly, but that won't be the end of them. When their serialization is over and they've been resident on the site long enough for most members to read them, in whole or in segments, they'll be moved to Blushing Books the eBook part of that publisher's marketing program. This provides market diversification for both the publisher and the author, giving us a chance to reach readers of all types.
Jason Pomerantz, of Fiddle and Burn wrote that online serialized fiction has three facets, "brevity, frequency and navigability." These are mutually dependent requirements. The segment can't be so brief that the plot isn't affected, nor so long that readers' eyes get tired reading on the intense medium of a computer monitor. The frequency should relate to the length of the segment—too frequent, long segments might as well be a whole novel in paperback, while infrequent, short segments will cause a reader to lose interest. Finally, the reader must be able to navigate from one chapter/segment to the next and back again. Readers are accustomed to a chapter modality, as with a traditional book. They can move from one chapter to the next and back again to pick up something they missed or to remind themselves of details from prior segments. Skipping navigability means that the reader cannot access the work to follow it.
Understanding these requirements gave me a platform from which I might write stories that sell in the market I'm targeting. Just like any other kind of fiction, if you don't know your market, you will not be successful.
Today's reader has many options for obtaining fiction. Serialization is only one, but it is a tried-and-true method that has been a pigment on the fiction palette for many centuries. The written version is not likely to fade away in the sunlight of too many options, rather, it will fulfill a need for the modern consumer.
My suggestion, if you're a writer, is to consider writing for serialization. It's a worthwhile challenge. And, if you're a reader, patronize sites that offer serialized fiction and you will find that you're reading something differently satisfying. I might not be of the caliber of Mark Twain or Stephen King, but I find myself on the list of writers who have taken a chance on serialized fiction. It's an honor and a pleasure to be here!
To read excerpts of my serialized fiction (and other works), you can travel to Patricia Green Books: http://www.patriciagreenbooks.com
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Now more about Patricia's newest book: Psyched Out - released on 8/15/2011
When Lu Shenandoah and Philip Pines meet at a professional conference, there is an instant attraction. Unfortunately, Lu is sure that a famous guy like Philip wouldn’t be interested in a woman as awkward as she. And there’s her embarrassing interest in BDSM to deal with. She’s sure she could never admit that she’d secretly like to submit.
Philip, a very prominent author of a bestselling self-help book, is sure his BDSM dominance would overwhelm sweet and innocent Lu and it keeps him from pursuing her even though he’s drawn to her kittenish charm.
There are some really awkward moments when they run into each other at an all-inclusive island paradise, but how can they resist serendipity?
ISBN: Smashwords 978-1-4657-5502-5
Length: approximately 7,300 words/13 pages
Publisher: Patricia's first self-published project
Buy links: 99 cents at:
All Romance eBooks: http://bit.ly/raIGM5
Lu lugged fifteen pounds of conference binders in one arm. Her glasses slid down her nose, teetering at the end. She shifted the cloth bag of conference swag she’d collected, and her purse fell off her shoulder. Fumbling became juggling, juggling became dropping, and the whole mess hit the floor in a heap of papers, conference-labeled pens, her glasses, and her purse which tumbled its contents in an embarrassing mess right there on the hotel’s low-pile carpet. Sighing, she knelt to collect her stuff. The hallway was empty for the moment, all the other conference attendees in session.
Except for one. “Let me help you, Miss.”
Lu looked up and put her glasses back on, focusing on a man with a deep, resonant voice. He was gorgeous. Drop dead hunk material. And here she was on her knees putting t-shirts reading “I Went To PsychCon 2011, Or I Think I Did” into her swag bag.
The deep green of his gaze was as inviting as an Irish meadow. She wanted to hurtle through, swinging her arms like a dervish, laughing in the sunlight. Lu yanked herself back to reality. “Thank you, but I’ve got it,” she said, lowering her eyes.
He wasn’t taking “no thanks” for an answer, however, and began picking up the contents of her purse.
It was then that Lu saw two condoms on the floor next to a lipstick tube. Condoms! Oh my God! She was going to kill her roommate Mimi.
Horrified, Lu watched his hand as it moved toward a foil-wrapped contraceptive, and she quickly grabbed the pair and tucked them in her purse. “Those aren’t mine!”
He looked up at her and, although she kept her head tilted down, she saw his skeptical look through her eyelashes. “There are better brands,” he offered.
She tried not to groan, flushed to the tips of her toes. “My roommate Mimi put them in my purse, she had some crazy idea… With the summertime conference and all… I mean-”
He patted her hand as she grasped a lipstick. “Sure. Roommate Mimi. I understand.”
His eyes held a twinkle of humor and a warm glow. He wasn’t laughing at her, exactly. It was friendlier than that. Her lips turned up a little at the corners. It was kind of funny, in a humiliating way.
He straightened the conference binders as she finished putting the rest of the stuff away. “Philip Pines.” His hand was tanned, fingers strong-looking. There was something familiar about his name. Pines, Pines, Pines?
The bag handles chose that moment to wrap around her fingers. After she fought them off, she shook his hand. “Lu Shenandoah.”
“Shenandoah like the author of ‘Juvenile Psychosis and Bullying Behavior?’” He asked, leaning back on his heel, his hands relaxed on his bent knee.
Her eyes dropped back to the floor. She’d written the paper because it had to be written, not for fame or professional acclaim. And yet, those two things came along with publication. “Yes, that was me.”
His fingers felt warm on her chin as he tilted her head up so she’d look at his face. “Don’t be so modest. That was a brilliant monograph.”
A sneeze formed behind her nose and she twitched her face trying to hold it off. She was so allergic to the summer foliage outside. She wriggled her nose desperately but nothing helped. Unable to stifle it, she turned her head and sneezed into the crook of her elbow. It left a wet smear on her blue suit coat.
Once again her face flamed. She glanced at Philip and he held out a handkerchief.
“Thank you,” was all she could master, deeply embarrassed.
Lu wiped her nose and her sleeve—yuck!—and almost handed his handkerchief back, then realized how disgusting that would be. “Um, I’ll wash it and send it to you. Do you have a card with an address on it?”
“You can bring it to my room, Lu.”
A tingle of pure, feminine pleasure sped its way along Lu’s spine. This gorgeous man was propositioning her. Just like Mimi said, guys at these conferences were horny and available. Of course, Lu didn’t know if she was up to a one-night stand. Mixing her professional life with her private life might be imprudent. His brown hair and green eyes were so attractive, his shoulders broad under a well-tailored dark suit, shirt and tie combo well matched in shades of cream and gold. How could she resist?