Monday, July 22, 2013

Serial Writing

I'm currently reading my first Kindle Serial: INDEXING, by Seanan McGuire. I'm enjoying it tremendously. The Index of the title is the Aarne-Thompson Folktale Types and Motif Index, which I remember well from a folklore class I took some years ago (about the time I wrote the short story Shadowlands, my version of the Orpheus myth). It's surprising how many variations there are for  the common fairy tales we grew up with--and that's before Disney gets hold of them.

So far I've received five out of an estimated twelves episodes (I can always hope that she'll write more). I love what she's doing with the story; the biggest problem is that I reach the end of each episode asking "what happens next?" and have to wait two weeks for the answer.

I wrote my first novel, CHANGING FATE, as a serial, but it was nothing this formal. I had a short story that I wrote for Marion Zimmer Bradley's anthology SWORD AND SORCERESS 3,  and I was writing "what happens next" in the hopes of turning it into a decent novel. I'm better at short stories, but I had a reason to write a new chapter each week. Madeline L'Engle was a friend of mine, and this was the summer that her husband was dying. So I mailed her a chapter every week, hoping they would serve as a pleasant distraction from her daily life. By the time he died, I had a novel. DAW Books published it in 1994, and I dedicated it to Madeleine and Hugh. Since then I have written and sold 29 short stories and edited 11 anthologies, but I am still trying to finish MENDING FATE, the second novel in the series. I think I'm on my sixth draft. I wonder if it would work better if I wrote it as a series of short stories....