Thoughts on Writing – What does a Serial Episode need?

While waiting for the final round of beta comments on Magic’s Stealing (there are a lot of waiting phases… which is why it is really helpful to have another project on hand), I’ve been working on editing The Multiverse Chronicles.

As I’ve said before, The Multiverse Chronicles is a set of short stories written by my husband, which I then revise and edit. Our current goal is to have twenty-four episodes in the first season, which will be released weekly over a period of six months.

There are a few specific challenges associated with this project. While all the episodes must fit together as a whole (and I’m not sure I’d recommend reading them out of order), they each need to stand alone on some level.

The reason is this: Not everyone who might stumble upon the Multiverse blog will read them from the very beginning, and readers who do start from the beginning may miss a week. While each episode stands alone, Isaac and I must decide how much information to remind a reader of in each episode (since we don’t want to remind them that Alia is the bodyguard of Prince Alfons every episode–that would get monotonous very quickly if they’re reading the full season all at once).

So what do I want us to achieve in our upcoming serial blog series?

Each episode needs to be compelling. There needs to be:

  • A strong sense of character, and relationships between characters.
  • Both humor and serious notes… usually involving some bit of quirkiness.
  • A strong sense of world-building.
  • Conflict and/or tension.
  • A reasonable beginning, middle, and end.
  • Something that propels this episode into the next.

With these core elements, I believe each episode has the potential to draw a reader back the next week, or, if they aren’t interested in serial fiction, maybe get them intrigued by the complete volume of season one (which needs to be complete in itself while opening up questions of interest for season two).

Isaac and I intend to have the entire first season written  (at least a rough draft), as well as the first four episodes polished, before releasing the first episode. This way we have a month’s worth of episodes ready to release without worrying about what happens if we run into a snag while polishing a later episode. Of course, I’m hoping we will have the majority of the season polished beforehand, but we’ll see. I’ve also got to continue writing the rough draft of the second book in The Wishing Blade series.

Will this work? Can we successfully imbue each episode with these elements? Will readers enjoy The Multiverse Chronicles?

Hard to say until we start releasing episodes, but if I think that if we keep the above ideas in mind, I’ll have a decent guide to work from as I edit each episode.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Do you have any serial stories that you’ve enjoyed? Are there certain traits of serial fiction that you like or dislike?

 

Further Reading About Writing Serial Fiction:

http://tuesdayserial.com/?p=2032

http://riptidepublishing.com/faq/all-about-serial-fiction

http://thewritepractice.com/serial-novels/

http://blog.karenwoodward.org/2013/04/how-to-write-episodic-serialized-fiction.html

http://ezinearticles.com/?How-To-Write-Serial-Fiction—The-Four-Keys&id=6243275

http://www.justinmclachlan.com/1948/5-tips-writing-serial-fiction/

http://writerunboxed.com/2014/02/24/serial-fiction/

http://blog.janicehardy.com/2013/04/what-downton-abbey-can-teach-us-about.html

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5 Comments

Filed under Business Ventures, Writing

5 responses to “Thoughts on Writing – What does a Serial Episode need?

  1. You are so right about the waiting phases. If there’s nothing else writing-to-publish teaches us, it’s patience.

    • Oh yes, definitely. Patience is most definitely a virtue in this particular business. Granted, there’s also a benefit of knowing when to jump, but that patience bit can save a potentially good novel from being published far too soon…

  2. That sounds so challenging! You are brave and talented! I’ll be curious to follow and see how it comes together. 😀

    • Thanks. 🙂

      I hope the final stories come out like I’m envisioning them. That’s the real test of it all. I can have all these grand ideas of how it *should* be, but only time will tell whether or not I actually achieve those goals.

      But hey–if we don’t make goals, then it’s hard to know what we’re aiming for. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Thoughts on Writing – Creating Tension | Stephanie Flint - Author and Artist

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