We are pleased to welcome Tuesday Serial contributor Emily Ann Imes to the Tuesday Serial site today for the third installment in our guest post series. We will be featuring guest posts every other week from now through December 20. You can view previous posts in the series here. Welcome, Emily!
One of my good writer friends in college had a serial that ran every week, consistently, during his years in school. I envied every writing bone he had in his body. I could certainly write while plagued by papers, tests, and recitals (I was a music student). I could even complete National Novel Writing Month just fine. So why couldn’t I write a “measly” chapter a week like my friend could?
I tried three or four times to write a serial, giving up each time about ten chapters in. I then pushed serials to the side and focused on full-length novels…until this past April, when I decided that I would write a book as an experiment, uploading a chapter a day for a month, with no plot except what the (prospective) audience would give me.
It didn’t occur to me that I had written a serial until people started asking for a sequel. Today, Dvorak is available for sale on Amazon; its sequel, The Dealey Five, will end on October 18th. A third book will begin in late December.
The series is a true serial in that each chapter is written fresh each week, and I have no clue what’s going to happen until I sit down. So what keeps a planner like me going? How did I break the cycle of failed serials? Simple: I took some tips from my college friend. Here are some of them:
- Get to know your characters like they’re your best friends, just in case they’re sent on a high speed bike chase with a cricket bat (per reader request). You need to know if they’ll land on their feet or not.
- Publicize everywhere and meet other writers. The more people who read it, the more you’ll want to write. I’ve found interaction with other serial writers is key, because they’ll often recommend your story to their readers. Plus, you’ll get to talk about how hard it is with someone who gets it. You are not alone in your 3 AM sufferings. In addition to Tuesday Serials, I’ve found Wattpad is a good place to publicize. If your serial is on Wattpad, I can sync it with my iPad and take it anywhere, Internet or not, and read it. (To be fair, the rabid teenage fangirls seem to have taken over the site, but that’s my demographic, so I’m fitting in over there.)
- If advertising scares you, find at least one reader you can count on installment after installment, your mom or significant other, someone who has to read it because they love you. They won’t give you criticism, but their praise and love will give you a boost when nobody else will.
- A guilty pleasure, most hopefully a food item, is necessary for those 3 AM procrastinated deadlines. Nothing gets me writing like peanut butter M&Ms.
- The most important thing you need is your confidence in yourself. When you’re done with an installment, sit for a minute and look it over. Savor the fact that you just wrote these words, and they’re yours and beautiful, and they’re going out into the world. That is something to be proud of, no matter if you’ve in JukePop Serials’ Top 40 or your mom is your only reader. It means you’re a writer.
Good luck! And if you ever have questions, feel free to ask.
Emily Ann Imes is a connoisseur of words, a roller coaster enthusiast, a broadcast disc jockey, a fierce warrior of power and light, and a music composer who writes in color. She currently lives in New York City.
The Dvorak Series can be read at its website, whatisdvorak.emilyannimes.com.