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Open discussion:Writing serials or continuing stories Options · View
Regnadkcin
Posted: Wednesday, October 25, 2017 10:47:33 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 5/11/2017
Posts: 97
Location: Beach, United States
I started a discussion on the nature of story writing on another site. I started to have a conversation about practices of writing with an author I respect via PM. He wisely suggested I put it on the forum for a broader discussion. There will be several of these relative to particular actions / activities. So, here goes...

First, I believe that to be classified as a story, someone or something has to be changed by the end.

I am writing a “series” of interlinked stories featuring a common protagonist (The Wanderer). Each story is meant to be stand alone and not dependent upon having read the others. Mine are also not necessarily sequential.

Others write stories that are “chaptered” and largely utilize the same characters from chapter to chapter. So as I was trying to understand other’s practices I thought of some questions:


1.) When writing something like this, do you outline / block out the story arc for the whole thing first? Do you write a draft of the whole story, break it into chapters and then complete / submit chapter one?

2.) Do you plot out the biographical details character eleements before starting? Keep notes on the character?

3.) Did you start with the complexity of characters, plot elements, etc (love triangle, KKK, off to college, preachers’ kids, etc.)... determined to mix them in, or did they evolve during the writing?

4.) Do yo incorporate details that are personal and based upon your experiences? Are they always in your protagonist?

5.) Did you intend to break it into chapters? Would you make it a novella if you didn’t have to break it up?

6.) How far ahead of the latest published chapter is your writing?

This is obviously not all inclusive. I’ll leave off my practices lest I bias others’ responses.

My wanderer series
http://www.storiesspace.com/stories/drama/morning-air.aspx
http://www.storiesspace.com/stories/drama/open-road.aspx
http://www.storiesspace.com/stories/drama/plains.aspx
http://www.storiesspace.com/stories/drama/fishing-boat.aspx

http://www.storiesspace.com/stories/memoirs/obituary.aspx A recomended read, believe it or not



AnnaMayZing
Posted: Wednesday, October 25, 2017 3:29:55 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 9/1/2015
Posts: 5,577
Not sure if my work comes into this category but, for what it's worth, I write each chapter and publish it when it is ready.
My story has been one continuous tale from Chapter one which evolves along the way.
I completed part one at forty-one chapters as the first book and am now working on part two in the same way.
Hope this helps. read2

The third part of this epic journey starts here... https://www.storiesspace.com/stories/drama/the-long-road-home-chapter-1.aspx


"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana
Rumple_deWriter
Posted: Thursday, October 26, 2017 9:55:34 AM

Rank: Story Moderator
Moderator

Joined: 8/24/2011
Posts: 569
Location: lost in the ozone west of Apache Junction
Good thread, Reg. Here's my FWIW replies.

1.) When writing something like this, do you outline / block out the story arc for the whole thing first? Do you write a draft of the whole story, break it into chapters and then complete / submit chapter one?

RdW: I've never done anything similar to your project. However, I've always done a rough outline for long-form fiction, including my two finished novels. For short stories, I've never used outlines. It would be interesting to get Verbals's take on this subject since his 'Shard' series of flash fiction involves the relationship, both sexual and emotional, between the same man and woman.


2.) Do you plot out the biographical details character eleements before starting? Keep notes on the character?

RdW: For my novels, yep. This was especially true for my second one which, unlike my first one, contained no auto-bio elements.

3.) Did you start with the complexity of characters, plot elements, etc (love triangle, KKK, off to college, preachers’ kids, etc.)... determined to mix them in, or did they evolve during the writing?

RdW: For the primary characters, I did a fairly extensive 'rap sheet' of their looks, quirks, personality traits, history, habits etc.. None of that was chiseled in stone. Elements were added as the story developed others were never used.

For secondary characters, I tried to come up with a distinctive feature to set each one apart from all the others.

4.) Do yo incorporate details that are personal and based upon your experiences? Are they always in your protagonist?

RdW: Yes, but that's not a goal, it just happens.

5.) Did you intend to break it into chapters? Would you make it a novella if you didn’t have to break it up?

RdW: Can't help you with this one since I've never set out to write something in this form. That said, I tend to be an almost instinctive user of chapters.

6.) How far ahead of the latest published chapter is your writing?

RdW: I've only intentionally written one set of stories that were posted as a 'series'. It's on another site. I wrote it on-the-fly, one chapter at a time and don't plan on ever doing that again. If I ever do tackle another series, I'll write the entire thing first, them submit it one chapter at a time, making any needed edits along the way.

glasses8


Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwords.[/ - ROBERT HEINLEIN

Schemers Scheme -- young women talking about young men

OF WAR, AND PEACE, AND MARY BETH: my contest winner, honest

For Whom the Good Tolls an 'RR' and it's short, no kidding

Regnadkcin
Posted: Thursday, October 26, 2017 12:51:22 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 5/11/2017
Posts: 97
Location: Beach, United States
AnnaMayZing wrote:
Not sure if my work comes into this category but, for what it's worth, I write each chapter and publish it when it is ready.
My story has been one continuous tale from Chapter one which evolves along the way.
I completed part one at forty-one chapters as the first book and am now working on part two in the same way.
Hope this helps. read2


Wow. Very interesting. I don’t think I could work that way. I would want to go back and drop in a detail or element that I need a few chapters later. It works for you though. I may need to consider.

My wanderer series
http://www.storiesspace.com/stories/drama/morning-air.aspx
http://www.storiesspace.com/stories/drama/open-road.aspx
http://www.storiesspace.com/stories/drama/plains.aspx
http://www.storiesspace.com/stories/drama/fishing-boat.aspx

http://www.storiesspace.com/stories/memoirs/obituary.aspx A recomended read, believe it or not



Regnadkcin
Posted: Thursday, October 26, 2017 1:01:32 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 5/11/2017
Posts: 97
Location: Beach, United States
Rumple_deWriter wrote:
Good thread, Reg. Here's my FWIW replies.

1.) When writing something like this, do you outline / block out the story arc for the whole thing first? Do you write a draft of the whole story, break it into chapters and then complete / submit chapter one?

RdW: I've never done anything similar to your project. However, I've always done a rough outline for long-form fiction, including my two finished novels. For short stories, I've never used outlines. It would be interesting to get Verbals's take on this subject since his 'Shard' series of flash fiction involves the relationship, both sexual and emotional, between the same man and woman.


2.) Do you plot out the biographical details character eleements before starting? Keep notes on the character?

RdW: For my novels, yep. This was especially true for my second one which, unlike my first one, contained no auto-bio elements.

3.) Did you start with the complexity of characters, plot elements, etc (love triangle, KKK, off to college, preachers’ kids, etc.)... determined to mix them in, or did they evolve during the writing?

RdW: For the primary characters, I did a fairly extensive 'rap sheet' of their looks, quirks, personality traits, history, habits etc.. None of that was chiseled in stone. Elements were added as the story developed others were never used.

For secondary characters, I tried to come up with a distinctive feature to set each one apart from all the others.

4.) Do yo incorporate details that are personal and based upon your experiences? Are they always in your protagonist?

RdW: Yes, but that's not a goal, it just happens.

5.) Did you intend to break it into chapters? Would you make it a novella if you didn’t have to break it up?

RdW: Can't help you with this one since I've never set out to write something in this form. That said, I tend to be an almost instinctive user of chapters.

6.) How far ahead of the latest published chapter is your writing?

RdW: I've only intentionally written one set of stories that were posted as a 'series'. It's on another site. I wrote it on-the-fly, one chapter at a time and don't plan on ever doing that again. If I ever do tackle another series, I'll write the entire thing first, them submit it one chapter at a time, making any needed edits along the way.

glasses8


Thanks for the answers. I discussed this with a friend on the other site (we were collaborating at the time). She was surprised how much I fleshed out a character’s back story and then didn’t add these details into the final product. I typicalky use the biography as a litmus test as to whether the character’s actions follow the traits of the characters.

In my last submission, the story is a clear follow-up to the previous. I wrote it intentionally to leave people hopeful and caring for the characters in the first. The second was resolution of the conflict in the first. But that is the only time I made anything linear and beyond a single short story.

Most of my stories have a very limited cast of characters. For longer or chaptered works, I can see a need to track and block out character profiles. I’ll need a white board.

My wanderer series
http://www.storiesspace.com/stories/drama/morning-air.aspx
http://www.storiesspace.com/stories/drama/open-road.aspx
http://www.storiesspace.com/stories/drama/plains.aspx
http://www.storiesspace.com/stories/drama/fishing-boat.aspx

http://www.storiesspace.com/stories/memoirs/obituary.aspx A recomended read, believe it or not



Rumple_deWriter
Posted: Thursday, October 26, 2017 11:12:19 PM

Rank: Story Moderator
Moderator

Joined: 8/24/2011
Posts: 569
Location: lost in the ozone west of Apache Junction
Reg, the 'Dancing To Ray Charles' I've been posting is an abridged version. The full-blown novel is about 50% bigger. In that one, there are just under 100 characters who appear on or off screen. Less than a third have 'speaking' parts.

My goal in creating an 'image' of those with speaking parts was to keep them consistent. No writer wants a character's blonde bimbo girlfriend in chapter one to re-emerge as a classy brunette near the end of the story.

While an extensive background probably isn't needed for most short stories, I'd think it could be of some help with continuing characters in a linked series.

glasses8


Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwords.[/ - ROBERT HEINLEIN

Schemers Scheme -- young women talking about young men

OF WAR, AND PEACE, AND MARY BETH: my contest winner, honest

For Whom the Good Tolls an 'RR' and it's short, no kidding

Mendalla
Posted: Friday, October 27, 2017 7:10:02 PM

Rank: Forum Facilitator

Joined: 4/23/2014
Posts: 588
Location: Somewhere amongst the trees
Regnadkcin wrote:


1.) When writing something like this, do you outline / block out the story arc for the whole thing first? Do you write a draft of the whole story, break it into chapters and then complete / submit chapter one?

2.) Do you plot out the biographical details character eleements before starting? Keep notes on the character?

3.) Did you start with the complexity of characters, plot elements, etc (love triangle, KKK, off to college, preachers’ kids, etc.)... determined to mix them in, or did they evolve during the writing?

4.) Do yo incorporate details that are personal and based upon your experiences? Are they always in your protagonist?

5.) Did you intend to break it into chapters? Would you make it a novella if you didn’t have to break it up?

6.) How far ahead of the latest published chapter is your writing?

This is obviously not all inclusive. I’ll leave off my practices lest I bias others’ responses.


I have only done one serial story so far and it is on the red site. I didn't really do much planning because I started off with a pair of stories about a couple whose wedding day goes awry (I think you might have read them before you left that site), then realized I could continue both characters' stories and just kind of winged it to see where they took me. In retrospect, I kind of wish I had planned it out more because I'm now stuck on how to end it or how much longer to carry it on.

OTOH, I have copious notes on characters and plot for another lengthy story (that could go here or red depending on how much I focus on the characters erotic lives) but have kind of lost interest in actually writing it. The act of planning it out seems to reduce my interest in it.


I like to write something a little eerie or spooky for Hallowe'en every year. "Haunting" is what I went for this year.

Lady In The Lake
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