March 7, 2013 by jcfarnham
It’s been almost a month exactly since I announced my blogging hiatus. Rather than continue to leave you guys hanging, I’ve decided to reduce myself to posting regularly “every now and then”. By that I mean, at least once or twice a week, but ostensibly when ever I feel like it.
Having made the acquaintance of one Zachary Bonelli on G+ (who by the way has some fantastic ideas about serials, the publishing industry and much more besides) I’ve become rather enamoured with serial short fiction format.
Those of you who’ve been following me for a while may know I’ve dabbled in this format on and off (including the semi-disasterous attempt at NaNo ’12).
This love seems to stem from the 90s and my childhood. For some reason unknown but one I’m thankful for, my mother either allowed and/or forced me to watch a good amount of the decades wash of TV Science Fiction. It started with Star Trek (in all variations and spin off) and expanded to include Farscape, Babylon 5, Sliders, Doctor Who (which admittedly was off air at the time) and many more. Since my mum never really seemed overly fond of the genre, besides the nostalgia of watching ST:TOS (which she grew up with), I’ve often wondered why I was allowed to religiously watch these shows.
What ever the reason I’m thankful, for its brought me to this year and this moment. You may have heard whispers of a project I’m working on with the aid of a “mysterious” beta reader (aka Mr. Bonelli). That project is of course “Exile that Spurned Fate“. It’s not a revelation of course since it’s been listed under My Fiction for a while, but it’s really coming together now.
I have another serial I’m planning and penning as we speak called “In the Gutter, Looking at Stars”. It’s a series of five episodes, following three characters aboard the giant congolmerate space station Genesis. They are Demi Demitriou, a dectective, Henry Lindsey, a retired USEF colonel and Cmdr. Ray Avila, the station’s Commander-in-chief. These are stories of the seedy underbelly of Genesis and it’s various burroughs and political divisions. It encompasses the daily running of the monster space station as seen by Avila, the revolutionary politics Col. Lindsey finds himself embroiled in, and a good old crime thriller or two courtesy of Demi, but beneath the surface something altogether more eldritch stirs…
And that’s all I’m going to say.
Returning to Zachary for a moment. He has a wonderful deconstruction of the serial format live on his website’s blog, which establishes definitions of the fundemental building blocks of serial fiction (designated Alpha through Omega; from the stand-alone, single episode alpha elements, to the season wide gamma elements, and the overarchingly thematic omega elements)
I truly can’t do it justice (you’ll have to go read about it yourselves).
However, that’s mainly because the format is surprisingly fresh and new (or surprisingly rebooted from the old days of serial fiction in newspapers) and little analysis is possible until more authors produce more fiction of this type. Thankfully the ebook market makes it all possible and infinitely more lucrative than pushing the same material toward the dwindling magazine market.
I can think of a couple of authors doing this at the moment Kevin O. McLaughlin with his Starship series, and more famously John Scalzi and I believe George R.R Martin and fellows in the now republished Wild Cards series. I’m sure there are others out there, many others in fact given the proliferation of self-publishing.
With people like Zachary providing useful deconstruction, and the widening of the publishing bottleneck thanks to e-publishing, it’s something I’m becoming pretty passionate about.
So, all you writers out there struggling with you’re debut novel opus… I implore you give a serial a go. By all means read and much as you can before taking the dive, but I’ve found it to be a very useful outlet for all that between novel creative-ness.
And if reading Mr. Bonelli’s Voyage Along the Catastrophe of Notions series, or Kevin O. McLaughlin’s Starship series doesn’t get you loving the genre then…
Well it’s clearly not for you. No hard feelings haha.