Your Hosts: Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, Peng Shepherd, and Howard Tayler
Guest host Peng Shepherd leads our discussion of “order-less reading order” (after we get past the business of “having too much fun with the episode title”). But what do we even mean by “order-less” or “disordered?” At one level, we mean you can just pick up the story anywhere and start reading. Kind of like TV series prior to the advent of the fully serial series. But kind of unlike it, because how does this work within just one book?
Liner Notes: For good examples of non-order-dependent stories, consider schlockmercenary.com, The Lady Astronaut universe, DISCWORLD, Seventy Maxims (annotated),
Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 21:18 — 15.5MB)
Look at your current work-in-progress. Are there pieces of backstory that you could unpack into a prequel? Can you shuffle your story events for orderless/disordered reading?
Your Hosts: Dan, Erin, Brandon, Howard
Let’s look a the business considerations of whether that thing you’re writing is a standalone story, or part of a series. The factors are complex, and a single factor (like, say distribution channel) isn’t likely to make the decision clear cut.
Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, and mastered by Alex Jackson
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 19:28 — 14.3MB)
Examine your favorite series. What were the questions asked in each installment, and in which installment were those questions answered?
Your Hosts: Brandon, Howard, and Dan, with special guest Jim Butcher
Jim Butcher joined us at NASFIC for a discussion about how we can keep long-running serials engaging after numerous books.
Credits: this episode was recorded before a live audience by Dan Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 17:04 — 12.5MB)
Something we didn’t know was intelligent has been intelligent all along.
Brian McClellan joined us to field questions about writing novels and series. Here are the questions:
- How do you write an ending that is open for sequels, but isn’t a cliffhanger?
- Is it a good idea to take a large novel, and release it instead as serial novellas?
- Can you debut with a series, or should you establish yourself with standalone novels first?
- How do you keep readers coming back for each new novel when there’s a long time between them?
- Should you have more than just one book done before querying agents?
- What do you do if your novel turns out to be too short to be a novel?
- Is it possible to write a series as a discovery writer?
- How do you foreshadow big things that are a long way out?
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 24:59 — 17.2MB)
Take two books or movies, suggested from friends. Those are parts 1 and 3 of a series. Now figure out how part 2 works.