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To Perform Surgery.... (1 Viewer)

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Mark Twain't

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...or not!

I got into this writing malarkey last year (and really regret not doing it 40 years ago but that's a whole other thread). I've had the ambition for a long time to write a novel and I'm not a million miles away from completing it.

Now here's the thing. I've started reading the Nameless series of books by Dean Koontz which are bite sized 'episodes' of around 60 pages each. Looking at my novel which is around 100k words, it would lend itself quite well to that format so it's rather tempting to carve it up but then I still won't have fulfilled my my ambition and written a novel!

Decision, decisions.
 

KatPC

Senior Member
Looking at my novel which is around 100k words, it would lend itself quite well to that format so it's rather tempting to carve it up but then I still won't have fulfilled my my ambition and written a novel!

Decision, decisions.
I think your own quote answers your very question. In writing, in anything, if you think there maybe improvements... simply do, at worst you waste time and effort but it was for the greater cause for your story.

A suggestion would be to read the novel all the way through, see if you are happy with it. Make notes and mistakes as you go along but at the end, if you think something is missing, then your hunch is correct in a change of format. Always give your novel, your story the best chance at the expense of effort and time, unless you have a deadline but a read through will give you all the evidence you need to decide what to do next.
 

Taylor

Staff member
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I'm not sure I understand. If you've written something as a novel, why would you consider making it something else? What is the temptation and how does it relate to your work? Are you thinking people would enjoy it more?
 

Mark Twain't

Staff member
Board Moderator
I'm not sure I understand. If you've written something as a novel, why would you consider making it something else? What is the temptation and how does it relate to your work? Are you thinking people would enjoy it more?
It's just that I'm thinking that the way the novel is laid out, it might lend itself to an episodic format. I'm enjoying that format with the Dean Koontz books and it just made me look at my novel in a different light.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
It's just that I'm thinking that the way the novel is laid out, it might lend itself to an episodic format. I'm enjoying that format with the Dean Koontz books and it just made me look at my novel in a different light.
I don't mean to squelch creativity, but that sounds treacherous to me.

I use to be a fashion designer, and it took one year to put out a collection. In that time I would see many other new inspirations, and many times, I would make my team mid-development change our direction. Thinking back on it now...I regret all of those changes. I'm not sure it applies here...but it's what comes to mind.

You are almost finished the novel. Can you plan to do write in this new format for the next one?
 

Mark Twain't

Staff member
Board Moderator
I don't mean to squelch creativity, but that sounds treacherous to me.

I use to be a fashion designer, and it took one year to put out a collection. In that time I would see many other new inspirations, and many times, I would make my team mid-development change our direction. Thinking back on it now...I regret all of those changes. I'm not sure it applies here...but it's what comes to mind.

You are almost finished the novel. Can you plan to do write in this new format for the next one?
TBH, I'm not sure about writing in that format from the off. I think I'd rather start a new novel.

I understand what you 're saying regarding your time as a fashion designer but I'm not sure it's comparable as I'm only writing as a hobby so there's no jeopardy.

I'm not saying I will do it, just that the idea is currently lodged in my brain. I do have a couple of other projects that are roughly midway so it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to develop those.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I understand what you 're saying regarding your time as a fashion designer but I'm not sure it's comparable as I'm only writing as a hobby so there's no jeopardy.

True, but I was just comparing how the creative mind works. That part's the same. And there is some jeopardy...

I've had the ambition for a long time to write a novel and I'm not a million miles away from completing it.

The loss of a dream fulfilled.
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
I'd have to sample the book you're talking about. From my perspective, scenes and chapters are "episodes" in the first place, so I'm not comprehending the differentiation.
 

Mark Twain't

Staff member
Board Moderator
I'd have to sample the book you're talking about. From my perspective, scenes and chapters are "episodes" in the first place, so I'm not comprehending the differentiation.
I agree but in this case, they could be self contained stories. A lot of the chapters are 'missions' if you will, very similar to DK's Nameless series.
 

Terry D

Retired Supervisor
First, the Koontz stories are not an episodic novel. They are a string of novelettes sharing a protagonist. There is no overarching story (except the protag's backstory), so you could read them in any order and be just fine. The Nameless series aren't a good comparison for an episodic novel.

That being said, there is ample history of success for novels written and published in the format you are talking about. Hugh Howe's tremendously popular self-published Wool is a recent example. Stephen King first published The Green Mile in segments, and almost everything Charles Dickens wrote were first published in a serial format. There are hundreds of other examples also. Serializing your story doesn't make it any less of a novel, it's simply a publishing choice -- a business decision.

Right off the top of my head there are a couple of things you might want to consider before making the final decision:

1. Are you ready to take the time to proof, edit, and polish each section as you publish it? Or would that disrupt your writing flow?

2. What happens if -- and this happens to me all the time -- plot twists, or character changes occur in the later portion of the book which may affect the earlier segments? It would be impossible to go back and make the necessary adjustments if the earlier sections had already been published.

3. You ready to deal with possibly negative reader feedback? Would that be a problem for your motivation to keep going? Or would you see it as an opportunity to adapt to reader input?

4. Are you planning to self-publish, or to try and publish traditionally? What you are considering can be easily accomplished through self-publishing, but would be nearly impossible to sell to a trade publisher. Howey's, Wool eventually got him a nice contract from a trade publisher, but only after it was completed and successful in the self-publishing world.
 

Mark Twain't

Staff member
Board Moderator
First, the Koontz stories are not an episodic novel. They are a string of novelettes sharing a protagonist. There is no overarching story (except the protag's backstory), so you could read them in any order and be just fine. The Nameless series aren't a good comparison for an episodic novel.
I know, I never said I wanted to turn it into an episodic novel. I don't see any reason why there can't be an overarching story and, if the episodes are clearly numbered, why would you read them out of sequence?
1. Are you ready to take the time to proof, edit, and polish each section as you publish it? Or would that disrupt your writing flow?
See Q2. ;)
2. What happens if -- and this happens to me all the time -- plot twists, or character changes occur in the later portion of the book which may affect the earlier segments? It would be impossible to go back and make the necessary adjustments if the earlier sections had already been published.
As the 'chapters' are pretty much written, I'd publish them simultaneously
3. You ready to deal with possibly negative reader feedback? Would that be a problem for your motivation to keep going? Or would you see it as an opportunity to adapt to reader input?
The same could be said for any published work.
4. Are you planning to self-publish, or to try and publish traditionally? What you are considering can be easily accomplished through self-publishing, but would be nearly impossible to sell to a trade publisher. Howey's, Wool eventually got him a nice contract from a trade publisher, but only after it was completed and successful in the self-publishing world.
Definitely self publish
 

Terry D

Retired Supervisor
I know, I never said I wanted to turn it into an episodic novel.

Isn't that what your original post was about?
I don't see any reason why there can't be an overarching story and, if the episodes are clearly numbered, why would you read them out of sequence?

I didn't say there 'can't' be an overarching story. I simply said the Nameless series doesn't have one, so it's not a novel. If you publish as episodes it's reasonable to think a reader might stumble across 'Episode 3' and read it without reading #1 or #2 since they would exist as individual publications. The Nameless series can be read in any order without missing anything because they are stand-alone stories. In your OP you write about your ambition of writing a novel, novels have a story arc which would be damaged by reading chapters, segments, episodes, or whatever else we would want to call them out of order. I'm not saying every reader would read them haphazardly, but, by publishing them separately, it is likely to happen.
See Q2. ;)

As the 'chapters' are pretty much written, I'd publish them simultaneously

If the book is "pretty much written" I don't see any advantage to breaking it up for publication unless you do what Dickens, King, and Howey did and release the segments one-by-one to generate interest.
The same could be said for any published work.

My comment was written not knowing how you planned to complete the writing and release of the work. I was just concerned that if you were still in the process of writing the book and received negative feedback on the early parts it could de-motivate you. I'm not saying that would happen just that it could.
 

Mark Twain't

Staff member
Board Moderator
Isn't that what your original post was about?
It was about th fact that I was writing a novel but it would lend itself to an episodic series. I never said anything about an episodic novel
I didn't say there 'can't' be an overarching story. I simply said the Nameless series doesn't have one, so it's not a novel. If you publish as episodes it's reasonable to think a reader might stumble across 'Episode 3' and read it without reading #1 or #2 since they would exist as individual publications. The Nameless series can be read in any order without missing anything because they are stand-alone stories. In your OP you write about your ambition of writing a novel, novels have a story arc which would be damaged by reading chapters, segments, episodes, or whatever else we would want to call them out of order. I'm not saying every reader would read them haphazardly, but, by publishing them separately, it is likely to happen.
Again, I never said the Nameless series was a novel.
If the book is "pretty much written" I don't see any advantage to breaking it up for publication unless you do what Dickens, King, and Howey did and release the segments one-by-one to generate interest
I said the chapters were pretty much written in the sense that they could be used in the Nameless style.



In any case, I'm still undecided. I'm in the process of doing rewrites so, at this moment in time, it's still a novel
 

Mark Twain't

Staff member
Board Moderator
I've just re-read yesterday evening's exchanges and fear I didn't come across as I intended and I apologise for that. It seems that I didn't explain things very well and what was in my head didn't translate properly into the written word (yeah, I know).

As I said, I've still got a lot of work to do on the novel and this is something I may revisit if, and it's a big if, I get to the stage where I'm struggling to knit everything together.

Anyway, as ever, thank you everyone for the feedback, it certainly is appreciated.
 
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