Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Time to Get Serial

by Bethany Maines

This week (12/9 – 12/13) one of my short stories, Oh, Holy Night, is being serialized on Frolic – the site for all things romance.  Oh, Holy Night is a Christmas romance involving bank robbery, coffee, and best friends. And while I’m always ecstatic to sell and share one of my stories, I have to say that I’m a little more over the moon about this story because of the significance of serialized stories in the history of writing.

Most people think of Charles Dickens when they think of serialized stories.  And although A Christmas Carol was not serialized, his Pickwick Papers (1836) was written and shared in nineteen installments, each costing a shilling.  Partially, the success was due to the format of bite-size, cliff-hanger segments sold in a time when people couldn’t dash off and find entertainment on their phones.  But, let’s think about that for just a moment.  Now that we can dash off and find entertainment at any moment of the day, wouldn’t now be the perfect time for bite-size, cliff-hanger segments of a story?  The old adventure movies captured this idea in the early days of film with short movies that were meant to keep you coming back next Saturday or at the least for the next reel. Have you ever wondered why some movies (ex: James Bond) will give you a 15 minute opening adventure before cutting to the credits? Thank the early days of film when complete reels were 15 minutes long and the projectionist needed to hustle to change reels. Current television has captured this format with long story lines and cliff-hanger episodes and then broken the mold by allowing everyone to binge watch all the episodes at once. The idea of writing extended stories that leave the reader wanting more with each chapter is a unique skill that is hard to master. One that I’m sure I haven’t mastered it yet, but one that I’m excited to work on. 

If you Pop over to Frolic to read Oh, Holy Night for free and check out my effort at a serialized story!

Bethany Maines is the award-winning author of the Carrie Mae Mysteries, San Juan Islands Mysteries, Shark Santoyo Crime Series, and numerous short stories. When she's not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some serious butt with her black belt in karate, she can be found chasing her daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel. You can also catch up with her on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and BookBub.

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