Today, I’m throwing out a straight up warning. Beware the serial novel.
I started writing the first of The Bulletproof Adventures of Damian Stockwell as a serial to include in my newsletter. I wanted to offer subscribers something exclusive. It’s done that but it’s also proved a constant distraction.
It’s a story I always wanted to tell with a character that’s existed in my head for years and I dove in enthusiastically. I’ve lost no passion for the project but it’s proven an irritant to a certain extent.
If I miss a deadline I feel like I’ve let some folks down. So, I often have to drop what I’m working on at the moment to get the next chapter out. This ruins any rhythm I’ve gained on the current project. I’ve talked about focus before and how I struggle with it. The serial doesn’t help.
So will I do another one? Yes. Why? Because I’m a slow learner and it has it’s benefits.
One – I get to work on a second story. And no matter how much it distracts me, I’m still making progress on it. Two – I’ll have another novel to release at the story’s end, so it is not a wasted effort.
However, it robs me of the editing process a little and ties my hands to what I’ve already released. I cannot go back and make changes.
I do intend to do another serial next year, but I hope to have much more of it written ahead of time. The constant catching up adds some serious stress to my life. Who likes stress?
If you’re planning on writing a serial, my only advice is to know what it will involve and try to have the majority of it done before hand.
Note: Stockwell should be back in the newsletter this month as it is my sole focus for the next month or so. I’m looking forward to it and plan to have the entire novel in my newsletter by October.
I know exactly what you mean! I started a serial for my blog because I wanted to get some writing ‘out there’ while I worked on my novels.
It’s been an excellent experience and kept me writing during a time when I’m very involved in editing but on the other hand, it’s stressful!
I will definately plan and write more ahead of time for the next one.
As for editing, I fully intend to edit my serial properly once finished, before I make it into one document for people to download and I have plans of incorporating it into one of my future novels where it will probably be heavily edited. Although it would be better to have the perfect piece before I upload it to my blog, I doubt any readers would mind my changing bits here and there. It may make them want to read it again! So I don’t think you should worry about giving your serial an overhaul if you think it needs it by the end, I know mine does! 🙂
That’s a very good point, Jenny. I intend to finish the book as I started it but have resigned myself to the idea that it could use a reedit before I publish it.
My first novel actually started out as a serial short story. I actually liked the inability to edit it. It kept me from second-guessing myself and forced me to go forward with the (in hindsight, crazy) choices I’d made. I think it actually helped the book. That said, I haven’t done it in the three years since.
I agree that it forced me to move forward. It has a lot of benefits. The monthly deadlines were certainly not helpful.