Thursday 16 June 2016

A Short History of Serialized Writing

Jo-Anne Sieppert Design
I was recently invited to apply to write for, which is an online serialized writing site.  It was the invitation that grabbed me.  What, somebody wants me to write for them?  After another long spell of rejections, I was intrigued.

In the back of my mind, I had a memory that several classic writers started by publishing their longer works as short excerpts in local newspapers or magazines.  Now that I’ve signed up to serialize my work Taking Comfort, I’m curious to know how many of my favourite writers went the serial route.
Charles Dickens was the first author who came to mind.  A quick search reveals he published at least six of his novels in this form including Little Dorrit and Our Mutual Friend.  It was a way to allow the middle class to access novels, which were generally too expensive, by spreading the novel into 1 shilling chapters over time.  Without the whole novel to give the big picture, the single chapter had to encapsulate an engaging beginning and ending and leave the reader in such suspense that they would spend another hard earned shilling to read the following chapter.

Henry James published The Ambassadors in serial form through North American Review.  Lucy Maud Montgomery originally intended a seven-chapter series about a red-headed orphan for a newspaper series, but instead, it became into Anne of Green Gables.  Louisa May Alcott wrote An Old Fashioned Girl in serial form for the Merry Museum Magazine as well as many other thrillers which she published under pen names.

I was hoping to find Jane Austen amongst the serialized writers, but unfortunately, the technology was not yet available during her time.
A more modern example is Stephen King who purposely wrote The Green Mile in a serialized form so that readers could not skip to the end and ruin the suspense!  He also wrote The Plant as a serialized story in lieu of Christmas card.  (Love it!  May have to try thisJ)

So, with these literary giants in mind, I decided to give it a try.  Will my chapters be intriguing enough to keep readers wanting more?  The Channillo website is based on monthly subscriptions, and as my novel is already finished, I intend to release it as quickly as possible to keep the suspense from killing anyone.  The great thing about the site is, you can also read other authors in many genres, while you're waiting for the next chapter.

It’s a new concept, but it’s given my novel Taking Comfort new life.  I finished it several years ago, but wasn’t yet ready to release it to the world.  It’s been sitting in proof form in a drawer for almost two years.  If nothing else, I’ll have a completed book at the end of this adventure.  If you'd like to give it a try, here's the link Taking Comfort

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