Monday, February 23, 2009

Serial Fiction

I should have an online gallery to curate of ongoing serial fiction hitting different niches, with a three-quarters-in schedule for dead tree format.


The print industry is currently up shit creek. The economy, in general, is also up the river and possibly trying to use every available drowned or drowning body as an impromptu life raft. Strikes and other complications have temporarily hobbled the television and film markets (though we're drifting out of that one... sort of).

So, recreate the traditional text-with-spot-illustration serial anthology format, for an online venue. Free. Free is important, because entertainment is never product, but lure. The product is format, not content.

Three serials in widely differing styles, hitting very deliberately and shamelessly three alternate demographics. No genre-bending, no reinventing the wheel, just hitting all the buttons on each respective panel and being proud to do so. The exact opposite of aping the Silver Fork and pretending it's the only legitimate genre of literariness. Total different modes, different looks and speeds.

Have a forum for each, and a regular release schedule. Ask questions of the audience early on. Shift gears as necessary. Author, be not proud. Tailor and re-tailor the work release by release, excerpt by excerpt. Release blocks of excerpts via torrent every tenth of the way through. Collect each serial on its own around the quarter-mark of completion in serial form, released as Print on Demand.

The fourth block can be reserved for the periodic one-off piece. Short fiction, poetry, epistolary riffs, essays, what have you.

With an eclectic release on the done-in-one pieces, you can cycle in a new serial three or four releases before one of the others comes to an end. With an abrupt finish, a reader can comfortably drift off or stop cold, but with new serials, new threads, being stitched into the fabric of their habits before the old lines run out they have to come back.

Split the actual sales' money with the writers and artists, try to keep computery concerns to a minimum, to avoid hiring extraneous people, and if something stops working for more than a month, drop it like a hot potato full of horrible eye-bleed diseases.


And, yes, Toy to the World is slowly coming towards something. And it looks very good. It's that intelligent twelve year-old variable market, which simply means it's appropriate for children if the children in question aren't idiots and you aren't the sort of adult who thinks of children as idiots. It isn't fun for adults because we are laughing over the children's heads, or behind their backs, either, but - hopefully - because there are incredible avenues of complexity in the simplest structures. Children aren't idiots, by and large, but they lack the knack for complexity that adults have cultivated over their lengthier stays on the planet. Toy, the story of a mad god who chooses a nebbish engineer to prove himself as his god's favorite and most deserving, sees us through drug abuse, child abuse, child slavery, sexism, the death penalty, friendship, trust, love, and politics. It has a fox, some horses, and a boat. There is dancing. And I promise you it won't pull its punches or telegraph its jokes.

I have no interest in writing fiction that treats anyone like the hobbled, slow sector of readership, be they young or old. Years don't make you passe, after all; that's something you do to yourself.

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