When Is a Serial Just a Tease?

To be continuedThe serial has had a long and distinguished career in the annals of publishing. Its heyday, arguably, was the 19th century. That’s when a host of factors – a more literate public, improved printing techniques, and better distribution – came together to create a market for popular weekly and monthly publications. Editors had to fill the paper or magazine somehow, and often turned to writers of fiction, who would then write a segment of a continuing story for each new edition. A surprising number of books that we consider classics today first appeared in installments, among them Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers, Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Amazon instituted a program in 2012 that was intended to bring back the serial novel. With Kindle Serials, readers pay upfront for the whole book, and installments are delivered to the customers’ devices as they become available. (Don’t bother looking for information on submissions; they’re not taking any right now.) Continue reading “When Is a Serial Just a Tease?”

Watch Out for the Cliff!

cliff signBack when I was a little teeny writer, I read a lot of Nancy Drew books. I loved them – they were stories about a smart and resourceful heroine who faced a little bit of danger that wasn’t too graphic, and she always caught the crooks in the end.

But they aren’t terribly well-written. Here’s an example from The Bungalow Mystery. Nancy and her friend Helen are picked up by a girl named Laura, who is rowing them to safety in a storm when things take a dangerous turn:

Another zigzag streak of lightning disclosed the shore line more distinctly. A short distance out from the land and directly in front of their boat stood the ugly protruding nose of a jagged boulder!

End Chapter 1. What a cliffhanger! I need to keep reading! So I flip to Chapter 2 and – hey, look! They’re still in the boat: Continue reading “Watch Out for the Cliff!”