This is the post from August 29, 2015, which was the
last working day of August that year, and the first post
in Serial. I’ve basically done what I said I would do.
Starting September first, this space will be home to serial fiction. It will be posted five days a week. (About half way through the year, that became four times a week, matching A Writing Life.)
Serial fiction has a long history. Going back at least to Dickens, it has been used to serve the needs of the publisher. How long each serial installment was, how many installments there were, and how long a time fell between each installment was calculated to fill issues of periodicals and bring readers back. For science fiction novelists, serialization has always been a way build an audience before a book is published, and earn a few extra dollars at the same time.
So what’s in it for you?
Free reads, for one thing.
When I first began to consider website serial publication of the works which will be presented here, I had a particular kind of reader in mind. I envisioned a train or bus commuter, or a bored backseater in a car pool, surrounded by distractions. (Not a driver. If you’re driving right now, turn off your damned smart phone!) I thought that kind of a reader would appreciate a short presentation, half a satisfying read and half a tease for tomorrow’s installment.
When I began to sort each story into episodes, it became apparent that each has a natural rhythm which has to be honored. Some stories have larger blocks of text between natural breaks, and this rhythm varies within each story as well. One size episode does not fit all, but there will still be five (later, four) episodes each week, of somewhat varying length.
Each story will carry a “5 of 12” style notation indicating which episode out of how many, so you can keep track of where you are. (This eventually became tedious, so I shifted to a simpler numbering system.) As in a blog, you can back up to previous posts to pick up any episodes you might have missed.
Shortly after each story concludes, it will be permanently archived on the Backfile page. If you prefer to read a story all at once, just wait. That is, if you can avert your eyes from the daily presentation.
I dare you to try.
Tomorrow, I will list the contents of the first year of Serial.