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#Tuesdayserial Report – Vol 5, Week 25 – October 28, 2014

October 30, 2014

Thanks for joining us this week for Tuesday Serial! We have 35 new serial fiction episodes for you including 2 debuts:

  • “Pacified” by Venya
  • “Quarantine” by Dan Evon

#TuesdaySerial is brought to you each week by the team of PJ Kaiser, Tony Noland, and Larry Kollar.

No matter what genres you love, there’s something for you in this week’s offerings. If you’d rather read only completed serials, you’ll find some in our Graduates section (above). In our Hall of Fame, you can find serials that have been subsequently published – make an author happy and go buy one! As always, if you have questions, just let us know!

WRITERS: Do you have news to share in next week’s report? Have an idea for a guest blog post? Did your serial get published? Have some other news for everyone? Shoot us an e.mail (tuesdayserial@tuesdayserial.com) or a DM (@tuesdayserial) so we can share the good news!

As always, if you happen to spot any mistakes or broken links in this week’s TuesdaySerial report, let us know! Happy reading (and writing!).


This linky list is now closed.

#TuesdaySerial Report – Vol 5, Week 24 – October 21, 2014

October 23, 2014

Thanks for joining us this week for Tuesday Serial! We have 26 new serial fiction episodes for you including two debuts:

  • “Columbia” by E.T. Mays DEBUT
  • “Fall: Future Worlds” by Brian Guthrie

Also…

SPECIAL GUEST POST ALERT We have a terrific guest post this week, contributed by Bradford W. Wendel: “Using the Cliffhanger in Serial Fiction: A Primer”. It’s filled with practical tips for how suspense and careful breaks in the story will have your readers coming back for more. Go check it out!

#TuesdaySerial is brought to you each week by the team of PJ Kaiser, Tony Noland, and Larry Kollar.

No matter what genres you love, there’s something for you in this week’s offerings. If you’d rather read only completed serials, you’ll find some in our Graduates section (above). In our Hall of Fame, you can find serials that have been subsequently published – make an author happy and go buy one! As always, if you have questions, just let us know!

WRITERS: Do you have news to share in next week’s report? Have an idea for a guest blog post? Did your serial get published? Have some other news for everyone? Shoot us an e.mail (tuesdayserial@tuesdayserial.com) or a DM (@tuesdayserial) so we can share the good news!

As always, if you happen to spot any mistakes or broken links in this week’s TuesdaySerial report, let us know! Happy reading (and writing!).


This linky list is now closed.

“Using the Cliffhanger in Serial Fiction: A Primer” by Bradford W. Wendel

October 23, 2014

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This week we are pleased to welcome Bradford W. Wendel to Tuesday Serial for a guest post that explores the intricacies of a mainstay of serial fiction: the cliffhanger. This is the second post in our fall series of monthly guest posts. We still have room in the schedule, so if you’re interested in writing a guest post, send us your pitch. Welcome Bradford!


“Make them cry, make them laugh, make ‘em wait.” – Wilkie Collins

As writers of serial fiction we all want to accomplish two key goals with our stories.  First, we want to evoke an emotion in the reader as they read our work.  Second, we want to create an endearing story that the reader will want to return to with each new installment we publish.  When we write serial fiction we willingly place a restriction upon ourselves by limiting what our readers will digest in a single reading.  Our hope is that we have established a strong enough connection with them that they will eagerly turn the page of our story by reading the next installment.  There are numerous literary devices available to the serial writer to accomplish both of the goals I’ve described, but none of them succeed quite as effectively and singularly as the cliffhanger.  Here I will explore the nature and uses of cliffhangers in serial fiction and hopefully provide you with a few ideas on how to enhance your own cliffhangers.

Goals of your cliffhangers

Put simply, a cliffhanger is a deliberate break in the narrative specifically designed and placed by the author to create ambiguity that will not be resolved immediately.  Done properly, the reader is enticed to continue reading the story in order to learn what will happen next.   When you include a cliffhanger at the end of an installment of your serial work, there are many goals that you can aim to achieve in order to ensure your reader will come back for more:

  • Create suspense – Fairly obvious to be sure, but it is still the primary goal of a cliffhanger.  You build up the suspense and mystery to a fevered height and then suspend your story in just the right place and in just the right way to make the reader cry out in frustration because they cannot guess or wait to find out what will happen next.
  • Enhance the readers’ emotional response – Think for a moment how you want the reader to feel at the end of your installment.  Anxious?  Sad?  Happy? Worried?  Excited?  Choosing the circumstances of your cliffhangers should always evoke or enhance the feelings you want the reader to have at that moment in your story.  A well-written cliffhanger can leave the reader with enough concern or elation for the characters that they are driven to come back and see what will happen to them next.
  • Ramp up the tension/conflict of your story – You don’t always have to leave your characters on the edge of disaster.  Instead, you can increase the tension by setting up an impending conflict or confrontation between your protagonist and antagonist that will take place in a later installment.
  • Introduce a twist, doubt or mystery – Just when the reader is comfortable with your story, it’s always good to throw a twist in. So why not do it at the end of an installment?  The “da-duh-DAH!” moment that will make your reader gasp in surprise.  Ideally the reader will not see the surprise coming, and you will leave them uncertain what the full impact of this new development will be.
  • Setup a transition to the next scene – Deciding where to stop each installment is always a challenge for serial fiction authors.  If you reach a point where you want to move on to a new scene, sometimes opening a door, but not letting the reader see what’s on the other side, is a fun way to move forward.  Simply introduce a key element of the new scene or situation to tease what is coming.

Sample situations for your cliffhangers

There are numerous methods and types of cliffhangers out there.  Here are just a few options to consider using when building your cliffhangers:

  • Put a character into greater peril – The original cliffhanger was literally a character hanging from the edge of a cliff on the verge of falling to his doom.  As we put our characters through the ringer in our story, piling on endless problems, conflict and failures, the cliffhanger gives us a great opportunity to make things even worse for our characters and advance the story along.
  • Make a Decision – Events in your story have progressed and reached a tipping point where the characters must make a choice on what to do next.   Line up all the options, perhaps tease which choice a character might make, and then make the reader wait to find out which choice is ultimately made.
  • Unexpected Reveal – Mystery and suspense are key elements to a successful cliffhanger, but the ending of an installment is also a great place to inject a new element to the story that makes the reader question what the truth really is or what may happen next.  Throw in a new piece of information, a new character or a new element of the story that throws the reader’s expectations and predictions into chaos.
  • Setup the Twist – Similar to the unexpected reveal, when you are ready to introduce to a major twist or change in the story, you use the cliffhanger to show the reader that things are about to change big time.  Come back next time to find out where the chips fall.
  • Withhold Key Information – If you watch reality TV shows, you know that the host will almost always go to commercial just before the big reveal of the episode.  Who won the contest?  How much weight did they lose?  Annoying, but effective.  Setup the reader with everything except the single piece of information they really want to know, and then inject it into the beginning of the next installment.
  • Foreshadow – Sometimes cliffhangers don’t have to be about ramping up suspense and tension.  Sometimes it can be dropping a piece of information that the reader should remember for later.  By inserting it at the end of an installment, you place a greater importance on that information than if it had been revealed in the beginning or middle.  It is absolutely required for you to revisit the information and expand on it in a future installment.
  • Interruption – This is a simple pause or break in an ongoing scene or chapter.  Perhaps you put it in because you’ve reached your maximum word count for an installment.  More likely you feel the reader needs to take some time to process the plot up to that point before moving on.  These interruptions can raise the tension, but they can also allow the story and the reader to take a breath.  The next installment will pick up right where it left off with a refreshed reader.  As Mr. Collins suggests, make ‘em wait.

Warnings

Cliffhangers are very powerful and poignant literary tools.  As such, they can be easily abused or misused to a point where the reader can get fed up with us and abandon our stories even at the height of the tension and mystery we’ve created for them.  Remember the television show “Lost?”  How many viewers grew tired of the ambiguity and frustration from endless, unresolved endings in the early episodes and stopped watching?  Consider some of these warnings when applying your cliffhangers:

  • At all costs, avoid frustrating the reader too much. Readers require resolution to every cliffhanger.  Period.  They have to be revealed in a timely fashion and worth the reader’s time to come back and find out what happened.
  • Avoid an unsatisfying or unrewarding resolution.  Make sure each resolution is natural and believable.  Don’t be afraid to let the chips fall where they may.  If the character has to fall off the cliff, then let them fall.
  • Resolve it as quickly as possible. If you setup a cliffhanger, you must resolve it in the next one or two installments.  Otherwise, any tension you created will be lost along with the reader’s attention.
  • Make sure the reader already cares about the characters. One of the key requirements to a successful cliffhanger is that the reader cares about what will happen to the character.  The reader must care for them, worry about them, root for them and feel invested in taking their journey with them.  If they don’t care about what happens to your character, no amount of tension or mystery will bring them back.
  • Do not use a cliffhanger every time.  Cliffhangers are great tools to tell your story and bring the readers back for more, but use too many and your readers will start to hate you.  Think about it.  Don’t you hate all those commercial breaks on reality shows?  Of course you do!  There are plenty of other ways to move the story forward and keep the reader’s interest other than making them crave resolution to a perilous situation.
  • Don’t write “to be continued.”  Serial fiction means we’re giving you our story in installments.  Unless the words “THE END” appear at the end of an installment, your story is going to be continued in the next installment.  Remember, your reader is always smarter than you think they are.  Show some respect.  If you did your job sufficiently, the reader won’t need to read confirmation that their questions will be answered.  Think of it this way, what are the last words that you want the reader to remember as they wait for the next installment?

Take a fresh look at some of your favorite cliffhangers.

Take a moment and think of your favorite fictional cliffhanger.  It can be from a novel or television show or a work of fiction, whichever cliffhanger had you screaming at the page/screen as the scene ended.  Picture that scene, the characters involved, how you felt on the edge of your seat when it ended, and finally how you felt once the cliffhanger was resolved.  For me, I always think of William Riker, staring down the mutilated visage of his friend and mentor Jean-Luc Picard, now his assimilated enemy, ready to fire the ultimate weapon that would destroy the Borg and Picard with them.  As the orchestra music slowly crescendoed to a fevered climax, Riker looked stone-faced into the face of his enemy and gave the command to fire.  Then the screen faded to black, leaving me and millions of fans breathless, screaming at the televisions that had denied us the knowledge of what would happen next.

Now, think about your favorite cliffhanger and write down the answers to these questions:

  • What were the key moments/events that led up to the ending?
  • Did you have any clue as to what might happen next?  How?
  • How did you feel at the end and you were left with no more information?
  • Was there peril?  Mystery?  Suspense?
  • Where were the characters?  In distress?  Sad?  Happy?

Go back and re-read some of your favorite serial works and use the information here to see how well the author wrote the endings of their installments.  Did they create overwhelming suspense or tension?  What methods did they use to ensure the reader would come back?  What state were characters left in just before the end?  Ask these questions at the end of every serial work you read.  Then ask yourself if you really want to continue to read their story.  If the author has successfully written a suspenseful and crafted cliffhanger, it’s very likely you can’t wait to find out what will happen next.


Bradford W. Wendel is a science fiction and fantasy writer.  His current serial series, Spaceship in a Box, debuted on Tuesday Serial in June of 2014.  A lifetime lover of science fiction, fantasy and reading in general, he’s always ready to learn new techniques to make serial fiction better.  Feel free to follow or reach out to him on Twitter.

 

#TuesdaySerial Report – Vol 5, Week 23 – October 14, 2014

October 15, 2014

Thanks for joining us this week for Tuesday Serial! We have 31 new serial fiction episodes for you including one conclusion: The Five Kingdoms of Severi by Dora Gonzalez.

#TuesdaySerial is brought to you each week by the team of PJ Kaiser, Tony Noland, and Larry Kollar.

No matter what genres you love, there’s something for you in this week’s offerings. If you’d rather read only completed serials, you’ll find some in our Graduates section (above). In our Hall of Fame, you can find serials that have been subsequently published – make an author happy and go buy one! As always, if you have questions, just let us know!

WRITERS: Do you have news to share in next week’s report? Have an idea for a guest blog post? Did your serial get published? Have some other news for everyone? Shoot us an e.mail (tuesdayserial@tuesdayserial.com) or a DM (@tuesdayserial) so we can share the good news!

As always, if you happen to spot any mistakes or broken links in this week’s TuesdaySerial report, let us know! Happy reading (and writing!).


This linky list is now closed.

#TuesdaySerial Report – Vol 5, Week 22 – October 7, 2014

October 9, 2014

Thanks for joining us this week for Tuesday Serial! We have 35 new serial fiction episodes for you including 3 debuts:

  • “The Law Unto Herself Chronicles” by Jennifer L. Barnes
  • “Babysitting the Taran-Saurus” by Lance Schonberg
  • “Daley’s Eight” by Joseph Kranak

We also wanted to give a special mention to Brian Guthrie who concluded his serial “Rise: Future Worlds” last week. His conclusion was missed in the original version of the Tuesday Serial report and, although it has since been edited, we wanted to make sure everybody saw it. Congrats, Brian!

#TuesdaySerial is brought to you each week by the team of PJ Kaiser, Tony Noland, and Larry Kollar.

No matter what genres you love, there’s something for you in this week’s offerings. If you’d rather read only completed serials, you’ll find some in our Graduates section (above). In our Hall of Fame, you can find serials that have been subsequently published – make an author happy and go buy one! As always, if you have questions, just let us know!

WRITERS: Do you have news to share in next week’s report? Have an idea for a guest blog post? Did your serial get published? Have some other news for everyone? Shoot us an e.mail (tuesdayserial@tuesdayserial.com) or a DM (@tuesdayserial) so we can share the good news!

As always, if you happen to spot any mistakes or broken links in this week’s TuesdaySerial report, let us know! Happy reading (and writing!).


This linky list is now closed.

JukePop: Expanding the Reach of Indie Authors through a Library Near You

October 6, 2014

Our friends over at JukePop have been rocking the world of serial writers and readers and now they are poised to leverage this success and help libraries get the work of indie authors into the hands of readers. We support their efforts and are happy to take this opportunity to spread the word. They have a new project on Kickstarter. You can click through directly to the project or check out some of the overview information below.



Why can’t we download ebooks from library websites to Kindles? Libraries don’t have the infrastructure. We’re here to help – for free.

Here’s the Situation

Libraries want indie authors’ self-published ebooks. Readers love them, and indie books have topped the New York Times digital bestsellers list time and time again.

These books are an important part of our literary culture. But so far, it’s been really hard for libraries to get indie authors’ content. There are literally millions of self-published ebooks out there, and there is no easy way for libraries to sort through them and get the titles into their catalogues.  It’s a time-intensive and complicated process that involves weeding through tons of ebook submissions.  Not to mention most libraries don’t have the infrastructure to store the ebooks.

Meanwhile, indie authors have found that local libraries are a great way to find new readers, compared to online bookstores. And for authors, new audiences are everything. Libraries are a great way to encourage readers to try works by unfamiliar writers.

However, libraries are closed-loop systems that are hard for indie authors to break into. Traditional publishers have a long, complex relationships with libraries, stretching way before ebooks. But with digital books, publishers generally charge libraries more than they charge consumers, while restricting the number of times that a title can be borrowed. This creates long waiting lists of readers.

There needs to be a way to lend ebooks in a more flexible way. A way that’s good for libraries, good for readers, and good for authors.

(Seen on Publishers Weekly, Fast Company, and Library Journal.)

The Solution

We’re computer engineers who love books and love libraries. We’ve built an award-winning beta version of our platform that solves these problems with California’s Santa Clara County library system, which includes 8 branch libraries serving 2 million people. We were named the Urban Libraries Council’s Top 2014 Innovator for demonstrating that libraries can work with Silicon Valley startups. Unlike traditional ebook lending platforms, which are cumbersome and difficult for readers to use, our JukePop system is simple. In our pilot, we made over 1000 books available for curation by librarians and easily downloaded to any device, through a website that proved very popular.

Join Us

If you love books and you love libraries, join us in upgrading your local library to support the discovery of indie authors. Our platform helps local librarians to find and source great indie ebooks. We also let readers download the ebook from library websites and add them onto their favorite reading devices. We need your pledge to make this free for community libraries across the country and who knows — maybe around the world! If we link up all the local libraries, we could create the world’s largest group of readers to discover new writers.

JukePop

Our unique publishing platform, JukePop, solves many of these issues at once. Not only do we make it easy for libraries to implement — the ebooks are stored on our platform so just a few lines of code is needed to add to their website — we’ve already automated and objectified the scouting process through reader votes, chapter-by-chapter publication, and our analytics tools. We ensure that the best titles are prominent and ready to be acquired by libraries. All we have to do is finish developing the software needed to get our authors’ titles into libraries’ catalogs. We plan to make integration of this technology free for libraries with your pledge.

Our award-winning beta version, while simple to use, still requires a fair amount of manual work for both libraries and JukePop. We want to automate as much as possible so we can make it even easier for librarians and JukePop to maintain.

Author’s Stories are accessible and ebooks can be downloaded directly from Santa Clara Library’s website, free of charge
Author’s Stories are accessible and ebooks can be downloaded directly from Santa Clara Library’s website, free of charge
Simple and clean reading experience - no ads!
Simple and clean reading experience – no ads!

With the help of JukePop, your libraries will have easy access to fresh talent, therein better meeting the needs of their community, and authors who use JukePop’s platform will have a means of getting into libraries in an efficient way.

The Goal

Our goal is to get 60 libraries across the country featuring self-publishing authors in their catalogs. We aim to raise $15,000.

$10,000 of the $15,000 will be used to finish the software platform so that we can roll it out to libraries efficiently. The platform will make it more user-friendly for librarians to initially set up our technology and pick which ebooks they want on their site.  The finished software platform will also lower the cost for both JukePop and libraries to implement and maintain.

The remaining $5,000 will be used for JukePop to integrate this technology with 60 libraries. Once we’re done with the platform, it’ll only cost JukePop $75 per library, and only 1-2 hours of work per month for libraries to implement and maintain. This is only possible because our technology platform enables us to remove much of the middleman costs. We will not be passing our cost to libraries; that’s where your pledge comes in.

If you think we can do more, you’re right. Click through to the Kickstarter Project and scroll down for our Stretch Goals – even more ambitious! Information about rewards for various levels of support and further information can be found on the Kickstarter Page. Join us in supporting this terrific project.