This week I am on the Blogger Book Fair Tour. For more information on the fair, you can visit their site to learn what it is, who you’ll meet, and the great giveaways and sales on our books. I wrote my introduction for it, so the rest of the week we’re diving in to meet my new friends and authors!
Writing An Online Serial Novel – Don’t Sweat the Screen!
Rain poured in sheets from a heavy sky of smoky gray clouds. Time cracked by with each lightning strike and shook the panes as thunder clapped.
They weren’t clapping for me. I sat at my desk, computer screen blank and trying to figure out what to write….. What to write…
As writers, we all face the blank page with a hint of trepidation. Fingers hovering over keyboards with nothing to say… Oh, look a new email. A new Facebook like, and a tweet! They distract like virtual shiny objects for the A.D.D. in all of us.
So when contemplating writing a serial novel, your palms may sweat, shorting out your electronic devices just thinking about the prospect. Don’t sweat the screen! Here are some tips to get you started.
I knew someone was going to ask that question. Why write an online serial novel? Why start something you may not know how it’s going to end? Why, why, why?
Because you can! And it’s freaking fun to do!
The hardest part is the first word. I’ve done it twice an am loving the challenge and the drive to continue. Here’s my story.
I love writer’s prompts. I LOVE writer’s prompts. LOVE THEM! I found a website to feed my addiction and I wrote cute little flash fiction pieces using the ten random words the prompt provided. My brain rushed through the ten words and crushed then into a coherent short story. A few times I would link the stories together. Sometimes flash is too short, so I would continue the story on the next prompt and the next prompt and so on and so forth. Someone noticed and said it was the perfect way to create a serial novel. LIGHTBULB! So I kept the story going. I write YA fantasy by the way, so when they threw words at me like ‘thermonuclear’, ‘tank’ or ‘ephemeral’ I’d panic for a few seconds. Not to fear, the words got shanked! So here’s the first bit of advice…
1. Don’t Be Scared!
Find your story, find your motivation, write the first word and let the rest fall into place!
2. If you want people to continue to read your online serial, leave them wanting more! And by more I mean, cliffhangers!
The end of each chapter should leave your characters in peril, hanging by a thread, clinging to a cliff, watching a beast descending upon them with no escape! Your readers should first, curse your name for leaving your character in deep doo. But then they will come back to make sure it worked out.
3. Don’t limit your imagination. Let it guide you like the force, my young Jedi!
Most people like to have the whole story outlined and ready before they begin. What’s the fun in that? The fun part about not knowing is what your imagination dreams up along the way.
Example: My current online serial started as two separate shorts. The first was about a mermaid returning to the sea. The second, a time traveling girl who fights gladiators in the coliseum and rescues two lions and brings them to the future to repopulate the species. Two separate stories. Or are they? I smashed those two shorts, creating chapter 1 and chapter 2 of a serial including both mermaids and time travel!
4. Ok so having a plan doesn’t hurt but you don’t have to start with one. I wrote at least five short chapters before I had a complete idea of where I wanted my story to go and how I wanted it to end. Sometimes waiting it out makes for a great adventure in itself.
5. So the final objection raised is… What if I don’t finish it?
Boy these questions are tricksees! But so what? You give it a shot; you don’t know how to finish it. Let it go! Remember you are writing it for you. Sure you post it on your blog and hope for readers but you know what? There are no Unfinished Serial Novel Police! Chances are though, you will find your story and you will finish. But you never know unless you try.
The most important part about writing an online serial novel…
Is To Start Writing!
About the Author:
Liss Thomas currently lives in sunny Florida when tornados and water spouts are not popping up in her backyard. She loves Young Adult Fiction and writes fantasy in that genre. She released her debut novel Finding Monsters in October of 2012 and is planning to release the sequel, Becoming Monsters in October 2013. She also plans to release a novella from the same universe entitled, Hidden Monsters sometime this year.
Get to know her characters and her style at www.lissthomas.com
MY ONLINE SERIALS
HIDDEN MONSTERS: http://lissthomas.com/serial-novels/hidden-monsters/
BEYOND PACIFICA: http://lissthomas.com/serial-novels/beyond-pacifica/