Ray Gun Revival Issue 07,
October 01, 2006
I was just wondering if you serial writers had aminute to share your experiences about writing astory over several episodes.Did you have the entire story arc in mind fromthe start, or are you writing episode by episode? Do you use any tricks to stay organized (with
How are serial stories different to write thanregular short stories? Deadlines must be fairly killer for serials. Do youhave a couple of episodes written in advance, or do you struggle to deliver them on time? Anything you guys could add here would bereally cool. I’m tempted to write a serial myself (provided I can find a market for it <wink> ), but it seems like it’s way more challenging than regular fiction.Thanks!
L. S. King (aka Loriendil):
Hm, Jordan, I think you’ll find we each havedifferent answers for your questions.I’ll start with deadlines. I’m familiar withthem due to my background in journalism, sothey aren’t a problem for me. And I know myself enough to know I can procrastinate, so yes, I havewritten episodes in advance. In my writing journal,
, I er, sorta, document mywriting. I was planning on using the journal asa way to track my personal progress in all of mywriting endeavors but I’ve slacked off and don’treally track much at all. However, there is sometracking of
in it. I’ve got next month’sepisode done, and November’s almost done.As far as organizing characters, there are manymethods for writers to do so. With Slap and Tristan,much of their background is in place, and I’vewritten out a narrative backstory for each of them.As for those they cross paths with, well, some of them are old adversaries or *ahem* friends, andsome are new, but as each shows his or her face, Ikeep notes on them, for future reference.Each of us is handling our serials in a differentway. Some use cliffhangers, such as one woulduse in a book—chapter ending hooks.So far, I haven’t done that. Each story is afinished tale unto itself, yet they can all be woveninto a tapestry, and are told in chronological order.That’s not to say I might not cliffhanger somestories; I just haven’t so far.As for story arc, well, yes, I have a general onein mind, in the long term, but it’s based more oncharacter development than on external plots. Ihave many adventures racing through my head formy two heroes, and the only reason they aren’tall written yet is that I—heh—procrastinate.
Paul Chrisan Glenn (aka reyfellow):
I began with a theme for my serial—anunderlying idea that would run throughout theentire series and hopefully be touched upon ineach episode. It’s not overt, but hopefully it willresonate by the time the series is finished.Next came the outline. I worked out the entirestoryline from episode one all the way to the con-clusion of the series. It was in broad strokes, of course, but I know where it’s going, how it willtwist and turn, and what will become of eachcharacter. It was important to me that the entireseries have a unified narrative, and I simply don’ttrust my instincts enough to try to maintain thatwhile writing episode-to-episode. It also allowsme to plant plot points in early episodes and then
Dissecng the Serial
, by the Ray Gun Revival serial authors