Structuring A Series
What Would A Series Look Like?
Ever pondered what ties a TV series together?
In the early days, cast or setting bound series together. We watched episodes in any order because each episode stood on its own, and they weren’t connected. Summer reruns simply picked the best and showed them a second time
Recently, series have included over-arching season or series problems. Consider two examples. In Burn Notice, each episode contains a full arc, with several minutes devoted to struggling with a larger story issue. In each episode, we solve the weekly problem…and get a little closer to beating the season problem. With each installment, readers get a complete story…but writers must conjure with new plots for each episode. As to skipping episodes or watching out of order continuity problems might arise.
My First One
Toss that term into a gaggle of writers…but jump back. A religious squabble, much like adverbs, show-not-tell, or dialog tags, will break out…friendships ripped asunder in by slashing tongues.
For the longest time, I resided in the don’t-do-prologues camp, readily admitting to skipping or skimming them. Weird, but no different from reading the final chapter before returning to the story.
Unfortunately, anything written in italics, which includes prologues, aggravates my astigmatism, whether wearing glasses (ugh) or contacts. Fonts with jagged little edges hurt my eyes, and italicized Times New Roman becomes unreadable.
I also distrust prologues for another reason. Somehow, whatever occurs in the prologue doesn’t matter, with an inescapable feeling it already happened. I don’t anticipate adventure or mystery like the real story, and that spurs me to race over them.
Thoughts On A Series
What Would A Story Look Like?
Have I written my prologue and finished off my WIP?
Great question…and no good answer.
Instead, I’m drawn to something I’ve longed to write — a series using an approach similar to those bingish short shows Netflix and others keep trotting out. An overall arc unfolds, often in six or twelve episodes, each less than sixty minutes. By binge watching, we get through them in two or three nights.
So, let’s focus on writing episodes. We can discuss series-arcs another time…when I have an answer. Ha
Consider episode lengths on American TV. One-hour shows typically use less than forty-five minutes of air time. And, if we use an old film measure of one page per minute, that’s forty-five pages. If each page has 250 words, that’s 11,250 words…which rounds to 12,000. Since commercials come on the hour, half-hour, and both quarter-hours, episodes break into four parts. That means 3,000 words for each part.
Life After Editing
My adventure in self editing draws to a close, and I’m relieved I’m nearly done. Not that I haven’t learned a lot. How humbling.
At this point, I have no idea if a market exists for fantasy stories from a Native American’s perspective. Based on best seller lists, not many. Too bad for me.
For fun I tried to make an e-cover, and spent an afternoon realizing I’m less skilled in art and covers that I am with writing. So, I need professional help. Helpful sites suggest starting with an existing pictures. Otherwise, pay a photographer and model. Yikes.
But some would say I should post it to Amazon and hope readers buy it. But that involves marketing, something else beyond anything I’ve done. But, most business experts suggest offering a series. After all, readers binge read, devouring an entire series before moving to another series. No one waits years until another book comes out anymore, if it ever does. Besides, using this WIP as a measure, I might be another Lee Harper, getting my second story out after I’m dead. Ha.
My WIP’s Fifth Revision
Chipping Away The Easy Stuff
I’m still at it.
And it’s taking longer than I wanted.
I’m resisting this and I’m not quite sure why. It’s like a switch clicked and now I’m fighting to do anything with it. I’d much rather do stuff in real life or surf the net. If you’ve got any good game recommendations I’m up for that. Ha.
And no amount of telling myself I’m almost done helps. Who knows, maybe I’m afraid of what comes next…whatever that is. But I think it involves cover art, professional editors, query letters and all things arcane and mysterious to me.
Even now I’m procrastinating finishing this post. Ha.
My WIP’s Fifth Revision
Well, I made my punch list and I’m working stuff off.
I’d like to say I’m having fun, but…
…I enjoy writing far more than revising, which I only tolerate, or editing, which is hard and dull and I can hardly stand it.
…I’m always afraid when I start a new phase of this WIP for fear I’m finally and forever going to ruin it.
…I wonder when I will finally finish this stupid WIP.
Other than that, it’s all good. Ha. Continue reading
Why Would I Want To Write Like A Hack?
Over on Scribophile, someone pulled a quote out of Self Editing For Fiction Writers, Chapter Eleven, where the subject is Sophistication. In their quote, the OP managed to misrepresent the chapter. And, once blood was in the water, sharks circled before tearing each other to shreds.
Was the OP a conscious Troll? Who knows…they didn’t have much of an account. Yet, it’s possible it was an innocent question. Time will tell if they participate in the community and offer up other stuff.