My colleague, Lucy, recently asked me some questions relating to working with writers on their serials – you can check out her blog post here.
I thought I’d take this opportunity to address some other pertinent points relating to serials, which I hope you’ll find useful.
If short stories make up the fleet of fiction, then serials are the flagships. In my mind, serials sum up what the Friend does best – focusing on the creative collaboration between editor and writer; I believe the Fiction Team invests time in its writers, encouraging, helping and sharing ideas.
If Friend writers are proven and successful with short stories, then it’s likely that writing serials will appeal to them at some point. But it can be quite a daunting prospect for new writers to the format, and a little editorial guidance can go a long way. It’s not about holding writers’ hands, but to let them know that they are part of a team and that they can call on their editor wingman at any time.
As for the writing, it’s about bringing characters’ personalities to the fore; capturing real people which the readers can happily relate to over the course of their journey. When writing serials, a balanced narrative is key, including subsidiary storylines featuring other characters.
Look Who’s Talking
There should be a main heroine to drive the serial forward. I often see good ideas from writers, but the synopsis has a plethora of characters, with no-one leading from the front. Or the opposite can happen. There is an interesting heroine, but her voice drowns out all the other characters around her. At least two strong viewpoint characters are required at all times.
Though it can be challenging, writing serials is a fantastically rewarding experience. It’s generally a more forgiving format than short story writing, as there is often more scope available to develop characters and storylines.
It can be a long journey, but with a little editorial guidance, we hope the way ahead is an inviting one from beginning to end.