Andrew Girle's Blog

Crime and Speculative Fiction Blooking

The return of the chunky serial is nigh!

Posted by Andrew Girle on September 20, 2010

My first experiment in serialising a story was a three times a week, 600 words each time, serialisation of my novel “No Working Title”. I settled on the 600 word level based on the reading of my favourite web-comics, which use one strip of three or so panels a day to progress their story arc. Now, I am thinking I may have pitched it a little too short.

According to ” Lucas ” over at the rise of the ebook is going to lead to the re-emergence of the novella (go read the article, it is very interesting!). I do disagree with his argument that modern writers are less productive than those of the pulp era, mainly on the basis that an epic fantasy tome is often 350-400,000 words coming out every two years, while the pulp writers were pushing out 60,000 word short novels three times a year…. roughly the same word count, so their individual productivity is the same even if their book output is down.

But I digress. For me, an interesting thing about the novella is that it is a short story on ‘roids. It can really only incorporate one or two plot lines and a handful of characters. Gee, now let me think where I regularly see books that are like that… oh yes, on the children’s and YA shelves. And each of THOSE links to the next, then the next, until the target audience grows out of them. Because they are so very ‘time specific’ those series of books have a limited shelf life before they become dated. But they still get published… they are the modern equivalent of pulp novellas.

Maybe the serialisation should be by chapter, with solid hooks leading to readers returning for their next fix like puppies to the bowl of soggy biscuits.


Maybe I should just get my finger out and write!

ps if you got this by email subscription, feel free to forward it to all your friends and beg them to come and sign up! 🙂


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