Tag Archives: serials

Serial Fiction Plotting: Plot, Or Not?

Serial Fiction Plotting: Plot, Or Not?

Serial fiction has been a hot trend for a while. Some readers love it, others hate it. Authors who write serials are in in the “love” camp. After all, a successful serial can earn big bucks, so what’s not to love about that?

In a sense, writing a serial is like writing a novel. It’s one long story, released as a part-work. That’s the big difference between writing serial fiction, and writing a series.

In another sense, writing a serial is NOT like writing a novel. With a novel, you can set up your story in a couple of chapters, and then write, with rising action, until the climax. Serial fiction has LOTS of climaxes — to keep readers reading — while maintaining one storyline.

I’m fond of saying that when you’re writing fiction, the end is in the beginning, and that’s especially true of serials. You set up your ending at the beginning.

Does that mean that you need to do extensive plotting?

Plotting your serial: a lot, or a little?

You don’t need to do extensive plotting; I don’t. I’m a pantser by nature and inclination, so I plot when necessary. If plotting terrifies you, relax… you can get comfortable with it.

As we’ve said, you need to know how you’ll end your serial, otherwise it leads to procrastination, and tortured writing.

So, if you’re writing a mystery, you need to know your sleuth is, who died and why, and who the killer is. Your sleuth also needs a string of internal and external challenges, so that you can end each episode with readers eager to know what happens next.

If you’re writing a romance, you need to know who your romantic leads are, and why they can’t be together.

Think about your voice for your serial: who’s your main character?

I don’t mean your literary voice. “Voice” tends to get talked about in literary circles and it’s rubbish. You’re a writer. You have a voice that’s compounded of your likes, dislikes, life experience, and the way you use language. You don’t need to struggle to achieve it.

The voice in your serial is that of your point of view (POV) character. Think about how you can make that voice — that style of writing, if you like — exciting to the readers who read in your genre.

For example, I enjoy John Sandford’s Virgil Flowers series. I’ve read all of them. I also love Wingfield’s Inspector Frost series. I enjoy those books because I love the characters. Those books are written in a certain way. There’s a distinctive voice.

You’re asking readers who buy the episodes of your serial to spend time with you. Write your serial so that it appeals to them.

That said, when you’re writing, just write. A voice, or tone, or style will either develop, or it won’t. If it does, it’s wonderful. You’ll find writing your series much easier.

A beginning, an ending, a glimmer of plot and a main character: start writing

The fun of writing serials is the writing. You’ll discover your story as readers do. So, when you’ve got the above elements, start writing. 🙂

Plan, Write, And Publish Serial Fiction In Four Weeks

Plan, Write, And Publish Serial Fiction In Four Weeks

eBook: $5.99

Why write serial fiction?

Everyone's busy today. A serial is by its nature, faster to write, and publish, than a novel.

It's a quicker read too, and many readers appreciate this. While a reader may hesitate before committing hours to a novel, he can read an episode of your serial in minutes.

If you’re a new author, a serial serves to introduce you to readers. A reader may not be willing to commit to a novel by a new author, but be willing to read an episode of a serial.

More info →
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

eBook: $5.99

You can, when you discover the secrets of writing blurbs (book descriptions) which sell.

More info →
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Resources to build your writing career

Check out Angela’s Writing Classes and Angela’s books for writers.

Updated: January 15, 2019

How To Write And Publish Kindle Fiction FASTER

How To Write And Publish Kindle Fiction FASTER

“Writing a novel takes too long…”

We’re all impatient these days. New writers feel that while writing Kindle fiction is exciting, it takes too long. One of my students completed NaNoWriMo last year, and is revising her novel, with the help of an editor. I suggested that while she’s revising, she start work on another novel.

“Maybe I’ll do another NaNoWriMo, but writing a novel takes too long…” she responded.

Yes, writing a novel takes time. You can write short stories, of course, and publish them. Alternatively, to publish faster, consider publishing serials. When you publish a serial, you write your novel, and publish as you go.

That’s what I suggested to my student, and she’s happily writing.

What’s a “serial”? It’s a publishing your novel in parts. Serial publication has a long history.

In 5 Serial Novel Tips for Impatient Writers, I gave you some ideas of how to do this, and compiled the tips into the infographic below this post.

Faster publication inspires and motivates you

Today, you can publish on your own schedule, rather than on a publisher’s, so you can write as fast as you like. Your biggest challenge is taking your own deadlines seriously. NaNoWriMo helps with that, but publishing serially is the biggest motivator of all. You know you need to complete an episode by a set date, because you’ve promised readers.

You’re accountable to others, and that makes all the difference. Rather than goofing off and watching another episode of Mad Men on Netflix, you sit down and write.

Can you publish serials if you’re a brand new author?

Yes, you can. In 5 Serial Novel Tips for Impatient Writers, I suggested:

Vital: realize that once you start publishing, the train has left the station. When you tell readers that the next episode of your serial will appear in a week, you need to make it happen.

My suggestion: write THREE episodes before you publish the first. Episodes two and three can be in draft form. The rest can be in outline form, but please, know your ending.

Publish #1, then hurry and get the next two lined up. And of course, keep writing the rest of the episodes, until you’re done.

Relax. Ideally, you’ll publish each episode on the due date. However, life happens. If your life gets in the way, that’s understandable. It happens to everyone.

Here’s how to deal with that.

Stay in touch with readers

Many readers don’t like serials, and that’s fine. Be sure to advertise that your novel is a SERIAL, in its description, so serial-haters can avoid reading, until you publish the complete novel.

In the back matter of your first episode — and all future episodes — include a link to your website, where your readers can join your mailing list. If you can’t meet a deadline for an episode, let readers know. (By the way — publishing serials is an excellent way to increase your readership.)

Plan, Write, And Publish Serial Fiction In Four Weeks

Plan, Write, And Publish Serial Fiction In Four Weeks

eBook: $5.99

Why write serial fiction?

Everyone's busy today. A serial is by its nature, faster to write, and publish, than a novel.

It's a quicker read too, and many readers appreciate this. While a reader may hesitate before committing hours to a novel, he can read an episode of your serial in minutes.

If you’re a new author, a serial serves to introduce you to readers. A reader may not be willing to commit to a novel by a new author, but be willing to read an episode of a serial.

More info →
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

eBook: $5.99

Your readers want to enter your novel's world. They want to experience your book -- they want to live your book with your main characters.

More info →
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Apple Books
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

eBook: $5.99

I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly.

More info →
Buy from Apple Books
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Amazon Kindle

Resources to build your writing career

Get daily writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out Angela’s books for writers.

Write Short Fiction: What’s a Serial?

Write Short Fiction: What's a Serial?

As you may know, I’m a huge fan of short fiction. Here’s why. Writing short fiction is both sensible, and profitable.

For new writers, writing a short story is a lot easier than writing (and finishing) a novel. Experienced writers can test ideas with short stories, and can win a new audience for their novels when they release shorter works regularly.

We talked about what a short story was yesterday on the freelance writing blog. Today, let’s look at what a serial might be.

In general terms, a serial publication just means regular installments of a story, or TV show, or magazine. In self-publishing, let’s define a serial as a series of ebooks which tell a story episode by episode.

The story is incomplete, so readers need to read each episode. Some readers enjoy this, others don’t. Tip: make sure that your book description mentions that this is a serial, not a complete story. Readers need to know what they’re getting.

You’ll find writers offering series/ serials as ebooks on the ebook retailers, with various degrees of success. As far as I know, there hasn’t been a breakout hit in serial format, unless you count 50 Shades of Grey, in its earliest fan fiction incarnations.

How to Write a Serial — Write and Publish a Short Story

You can write a serial in various ways:

* Expand a published, successful short story into a serial;

* Chop up an already-written novel into episodes — however, be wary of this. Each of your installments/ episodes should aim to end on a cliffhanger;

* Write a serial from scratch.

I prefer the first method; here’s why. Your aim is to build your readership, so you want readers to look forward to each new release. When you expand a short story which is selling, you know that the story works. Few novels can be sliced into a serial without a lot of rewriting. And if you write a serial from scratch, as soon as you release the first part, you’re committed to writing, and releasing the next episodes on a schedule. What if they don’t sell?

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

eBook: $5.99

Your readers want to enter your novel's world. They want to experience your book -- they want to live your book with your main characters.

More info →
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Apple Books
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

eBook: $5.99

I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly.

More info →
Buy from Apple Books
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Amazon Kindle

Resources to build your writing career

Get daily writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out Angela’s books for writers.