04 April 2012

The Whys and Wherefores of Serials

Today I have the most wonderful Danyelle Leafty, author of The Fairy Godmother Dilemma series, here to talk about serial novels. Why? Nothing, no reason at all, and certainly nothing to do with this or this. O:)

Dani wrote Catspell last year as a serial novel. It was released on her website, two chapters a week, and subscribers got either an ebook or hardcopy at the end, depending on their level of subscription. I thought it might be interesting to look at the idea of a serial novel from an author's point of view; serials used to be quite common (it was how Dickens wrote many of his stories, for example) and although these days people read serialised webcomics and the like, there aren't many serialised novels around. Which is a shame, because they can be loads of fun!

1) Why did you decide to write Catspell as a serial in the first place?

Publishing is changing its face right now, and it's anybody's guess how it will look a couple of years from now. The reason I chose to write CATSPELL as a serial, was because I wanted to do something different. Something outside the box. I'm always up for learning new things and improving my craft, and it seemed like something I might enjoy doing. :)

2) How frequently did you post chapters, and why did you choose that interval?

I posted two chapters a week. I chose to do this because I can write quickly and it would have taken a little over half a year to release the whole thing if I'd gone any slower. CATSPELL has sequels, and I didn't want to have to wait that long to move forward with this series.

3) What was the best bit about writing as a serial?

The most rewarding thing about writing CATSPELL as a serial--besides people being willing to take a risk on me--was proving to myself that I could do it. Also, all of the things I learned along the way that I wouldn't have learned otherwise.

4) What was the worst?

The worst thing was probably the workload. It was a pain to edit and format two chapters a week on top of everything else I was doing. #multitasking

5) How freaked out did you get about the inability to go back and change stuff, and how did you cope with that?

I wasn't really all that freaked out. I've spent a couple of years getting to know how my personal writing process worked, and feel pretty comfortable with it. And even though I know how I work, I'm still actively learning more things and different techniques to see if anything sticks.

My writing process is kind of different from how a lot of other authors describe their own. The best way I can describe it is that my sub-conscious is the one doing all the heavy lifting while my conscious mind makes sure I hit the right keys when I type. My drafts now, after years of honing my craft, come out fairly clean. In general, I'm a single draft writer, so writing a serial wasn't that scary for me.

This doesn't mean that I don't have to fix grammar and punctuation and awkward sentences and weave threads a little tighter in places. What it means is that I don't have to do anything major to my drafts to make them acceptable. I wasn't always this way, and I have to be very careful and analytical with my work, because sometimes a story *does* creep in that needs more than one draft. I have to be able to tell the difference and have confidence in my decision.

What really freaked me out was realizing that people would actually read my story. >.< So while I had confidence in the story itself, setting it free was terrifying. Kind of like speaking in public. ;-)

6) How different is the final release version to the serial chapter-at-a-time version?

Because of how I write, and how the story came out, the final version was very close to the original version. O:) Again, no major plot re-workings. Mostly just making sure everything gelled together and was cleaned up.

7) And most importantly, did anyone threaten to scalp you because the chapters were 'obviously written in a rush' or any other variant thereon?

*grin* Not that I know of. My natural writing rhythm clips along at a decent pace. (About 2k a day, 6 days a week.) I finished the novel long before it had fully been released.

Basically, this is a terrifying thing to choose to do. WAS IT WORTH IT and WHY?

It was definitely worth it. I learned a lot about myself, my writing, and the business part of being an author. Some of the things I did will change when I release another serial, and some of them will remain the same. Doing this gave me the confidence that I *could* do something different, public, and on a time limit, and do it well. :)

Thanks so much for agreeing to answer my questions, Dani :) Everyone else, don't forget to check out Dani's awesome blog, website, and book :o)


Charmaine Clancy said...

Great interview, Love the cover for this book, have it on my Kindle now :)
Wagging Tales

Amy said...

It's beautiful, isn't it? :)

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