Posted in Origins

Origins: Serials?

Photo Cred: Global Trade Review

Isn’t that superhero story you keep promising updates about supposed to be a serial?

Why a serial, of all things?

Are serials really a thing anymore?

Do you actually have any updates on that superhero serial you keep talking about?

All great hypothetical questions from the Hypothetical Reader in My Mind. Let’s answer them!

Isn’t that superhero story you keep promising updates about supposed to be a serial?

It is! In case you’re unfamiliar, a serial (or serialized fiction) is a larger story that is broken down and disseminated in small chunks, rather than a single setting. Think of the difference between a cable TV show and a Netflix series (where, in the former, you have to wait for each episode week by week, while the latter often releases the entire season at a time). It was a popular way to garner interest for novels back in the 19th century. Mark Twain is famous for having published several of his works incrementally in magazines. So, all that to say, yes. Casters’ Court was originally conceived as a serial work, meant to be doled out in small chunks.

Why a serial, of all things?

I mentioned this in a former post about the origins of this story, but, at the time Casters’ Court came about, I was really into a few webcomics. (I’ve kind of fallen off that beat lately, but not from lack of interest, just from a lapse in it being part of my daily routine). The format for web-published graphic novels is satisfying. The author posts 1-3 pages a week, leaving readers waiting breathlessly for the next installment. Story arcs form volumes, of sorts, that link together into a larger story. That larger story can last years– even decades. Also around that time, I stumbled into the world of fiction podcasts (and spent a good year living and breathing Welcome to Night Vale). Same concept. Short episodes. Longer seasons. Ultimate overarching story/world. So why hadn’t I seen this around in print recently? Why weren’t people with wild, seemingly neverending, unwieldy story ideas like mine jumping at this opportunity? That brings us to the next question.

Are serials really a thing anymore?

Aye, there’s the rub. For a good while during the time that Casters’ Court was taking shape in my head, I didn’t care. I was determined to make it a thing by hosting the story myself if I had to. Fortunately, I found other outlets, paid and unpaid. I toyed with the idea for a long time, given that writers generally use these platforms to break down encapsulated novels, not potentially-decades-long serials. Still, the existence of such platforms proves that the art is far from dead. Given ever-growing mobile accessibility, coupled with binge-watch culture, treating a long-form story like a TV show could be a popular change of pace.

Do you actually have any updates on that superhero serial you keep talking about?

My application for one of the above-mentioned serial-hosting sites is nearing completion after a wild couple of months. I’m almost there! Stay tuned!

Got any other questions about serials or my crazy plans for them? Feel free to ask!

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