Thursday, September 23, 2021

The Serialized Novel on Kindle Vella--What's Going to Happen Today?

I grew up waiting for the next episode of Star Trek or Dark Shadows or, heaven help me, Bonanza. The weekly episodes of my favorite series have been a big part of my entertainment life. During the time of Charles Dickens, serialized novels were also the standard procedure--sell the novel episode by episode and then publish the novel in its entirety. Alexandre Dumas also serialized his novel The Three Musketeers. In fact, to read the entire novel would take several volumes of reading; the novel we usually read--one book--is an abridged version of the original serialization.

This episodic approach to writing is something I'm trying now on Kindle Vella with a science fiction novel Grav Board. Most of the episodes are between one thousand and two thousand words. Right now, I've written a little over 20,000 words about four teenagers, two Human and two Wolfen, who are a part of negotiations between the two species, which have recently backed off from a bloody war. Grav Board? Well, yes, there is also the teens' implementation of anti-gravity technology to skateboarding.

I have a good idea of how the novel is going to end, but I haven't plotted out each episode. I write an episode, save it, and then come back a week or two later (or more) and read and revise and then publish. To be honest, it's a more casual approach than I usually take with my fiction, perhaps influenced by my years of active blogging. Usually my primary focus is on the story; with this novel, I'm also focused on the process and the enjoyment it is bringing me. Imagine that--not the suffering artist!

I know where I'm heading with the novel, but after completing and saving an episode, I go on about my daily business, the idea of the story in the back of my mind. Possibilities arise, some unexpected and delightful. When I sit down again at the computer to continue the story, that's when I ask myself, "Okay, what's going to happen today?" As I'm writing, new unexpected possibilities arise and insert themselves into the storyline. It's great to have the story to begin to tell itself. 

And so at this time my novel writing is process-oriented. My procedures so far have been to keep a one or two episodes ahead of my weekly publishing on Thursday. I'm enjoying the process, and the weekly publishing provides enough incentive to keep at the writing. With the intense nature of events that surround us right now, I'm finding being able to leave for a while and imagine life in my created reality a great refuge. Am I writing a perfect story? Well, I can "perfect" the story by revision once I complete its serialized telling. 

Until then, you're invited to read along on on Kindle Vella the adventures of Cletus, Kama, Garr, and Daga . . . and Salan, the Chinari . . . and how two space-faring civilizations manage to save themselves from mutual annihilation. 

Grav Board on Kindle Vella

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