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Jul 19, 2015

Going Back For Your Future

SerialTeller began in 2011 as a site devoted to showcasing original serial fiction with thehope that some day those relatively short installments would find their way into the form of a novel. Now we’re not talking about collecting all of your serial installments and publishing them as an e-book or paperback — for that, you likely don’t need advice. We’re talking about taking a serial of many installments that is either completed or still in progress, and deciding to re-craft that collection of characters and story lines into a standard format novel.

Candidly, not everyone who writes serial fiction wants or should want to turn their work into novels. However, for those of you who do, this new blog will aim to show you the ins and outs of getting the maximum use out of your own work.

It all starts with an outline. Whether you chose to write that outline down or keep it embedded inside your head, there should be a blueprint that is steering the direction your serials are taking.

As many of you who have written serials are aware, there can often times be a large number of characters in a serial. This plethora of different personalities makes the use of an outline ideal because it allows you to keep better tabs on not only all of the twists and turns in your plot, but also the many voices you are generating from inside your head.

FORWARD ——> TIP 1: Where to cut a serial can often times be challenging when working on your novelization. If you have an outline you should be able to see where the natural break in your story occurs and where you may want to take your story next in the event that you chose to write multiple novels from the same serial.

Again, the outline is a useful tool here because it allows you to view your story in condensed form as you prepare to either translate it directly into a novel or cut it differently from its existing serial fiction form.

FORWARD ——> TIP 2: If your serial has a large number of characters, you may want to take this into consideration as you begin your translation into a novel.

Think about how many primary and supporting characters you wish to keep for use in your novel. In many ways, writing serials can serve as a “writing workshop.” It allows you the opportunity to experiment and see which characters belong, which ones really should be cut, and even which characters you thought were bit players should have larger parts in your story.

FORWARD ——-> TIP 3: You have now finished your serial and you are now intimately familiar with your story. Is there enough material for a full length novel?

One of the most challenging aspects of writing a novel, of which there are many, is having a story which is as compelling on the last page as it was on the first. Often, what we start with seems like a great idea, but it just doesn’t possess enough substance for it to remain compelling for hundreds of pages. Your outline should trace out your various story lines and key moments that compel the reader to keep turning the page. Are there enough? Too many? Any dead ends or weak threads that should be cut? Be critical. Trim or beef up the story wherever needed.

NEXT: FORWARD & MAINTAINING AUTHOR VOICE BETWEEN SERIALS & NOVELS