Tag Archives: plot

Deadlines, plot, and action

July 18, 2011 11:13 am by MRM in Uncategorized

Epublishing is a funny game. At the moment I have a certain amount of freedom in my "deadlines." I consider my web site as being in beta, although it is certainly available for all to read. Without anything in the market, though, I can safely assume that changes aren’t going to be noticed. My original slide said that Shelter From the Storm would be out on July 14th. As you may have noticed, it now reads August 2nd. I expect to actually meet this one.

It’s a bit terrifying to realize that once it’s out there, I’ll actually have to stick to it. People might even care. If I do my publicity right, people will really care.

So why did I change? My target for what’s important in a serial changed. I was okay with the pace of the story. It was roughly equivalent to the pace of my novel, and in many ways was a fun and action-filled introduction to my characters. The problem was that in that first issue, the big plot of the story didn’t get advanced very much. You met people. Stuff happened. It was interesting. But I realized that the ending of just that section wasn’t particularly satisfying. You didn’t get to see the really big plot point move forward. It happened about 7000 words later.

The solution, of course, is that I needed to move those 7000 words into the first story. Stuff the reader needs to see now happens in that part of the story. And that’s what I’ve decided is a key to serial fiction. Every single part absolutely needs to have a portion of the central plot of the whole story. Just because a section is interesting, funny, or action packed isn’t enough. It needs to move the story forward. This is the difference between chapters in a book and issues in a serial. Chapters in a book should move the plot forward as well, but you have more time to expand upon your characters. You can be forgiven for showing this really interesting part that truly defines the protagonist because the plot-moving happens only a few pages later. If something happens in the next issue of TWDY, the reader might decide that it isn’t worth buying and never find out. With a book, you have that same reader “captured,” in that she already has the whole thing. You’re not counting on her to keep coming back to the well.

You also need to treat your readers differently. I’m not just chopping up a book and selling the chapters the at a time to make more money. Each issue has its own arc, tells its own story, and could (in theory) stand on its own. A serial has the added advantage of being able to change directions mid-stream. Reader feedback could very well change the outcome – I don’t know how it ends.

That’s the big one. I know the future of the tale, but nothing is written in stone. A hundred comments for more Quinta and Roland could result in more Quinta and Roland – it’s interactive in a way that a full-length novel never could be, and I hope to connect with my readers that way. That’s what this story is all about, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


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