Ask Inkitt: What is Serial Fiction?

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This is a great question and one which can be especially relevant for writers on the Inkitt platform. On Inkitt, you can certainly upload a completed manuscript all at once, but many writers choose to upload their work-in-progress as it’s being written.

On the Inkitt platform, readers have an opportunity to interact and provide feedback on stories in real time. Inkitt writers are then able to use their readers as a beta group. Here’s some guidance and tips on how to take constructive criticism and reader feedback: What Should I do With Reader Feedback?

What is serial fiction?

So, back to the question of what serial fiction looks like. Basically, a serial novel is a story released sequentially over time. There is an overarching story, but each episode or chapter will have a more complete feel than an average chapter of a book. Think television episodes from a series.

Your approach…

You may simply want to upload your traditional novel chapter by because you already have the complete story written or that’s simply how you work, but if you are truly trying to create a serialized fiction novel, there are a few more things to think about and ways to approach it.

  • As mentioned, each chapter should have a mini story arc within the major arc of the completed novel. Some of the principles and techniques we use to write scenes may be useful here. Check out this article: Back to Basics: Scene Structure.
  • You’ll want to focus on a character or a main cast of characters and keep the story centered on them. The supporting cast should be interesting and well-developed, but they shouldn’t steal the show.
  • Make sure you leave readers wanting more so they’re inspired to continue reading. A cliffhanger is an obvious way to do this, but don’t overuse the technique. If you create interesting characters, with complex relationships, flaws, and backgrounds, readers will want to follow them on their adventures. Here again, techniques for ending a scene may be transferable. Read more here: How to Write the Perfect Ending to Your Scene.
  • Consider writing an outline for the main arc of the story, so even while your characters are having mini-adventures, your eye is still on the main arc.

A few upsides to writing serial fiction…

First, you’ll have time to develop your author platform and build your audience as you go. Instead of a one-shot release, you’re constantly creating new content and accumulating fans. Here’s more on what an author platform is and approaches to building and maintaining one: Author Brand and Platform: A Lifeline You Can’t Ignore.

Writing regular new content helps keep the creative juices flowing, and, the fact that readers eagerly await the latest installment of your story can serve as a huge motivational factor to sticking with your writing schedule.

If this all sounds exciting to you, a serial novel may be in your future!

Want to know more about the Inkitt platform? We invite you to ‘ask Inkitt’ via email: blathnaid@inkitt.com. We’ll post answers to the most frequently asked questions every Thursday right here on the Inkitt Writer’s Blog.  

Interested in learning more about how to succeed as an author on Inkitt?

Check out our last few Ask Inkitt articles, for insider tips, secrets and advice!

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About Author

Tabitha Lord is the award-winning author of the HORIZON series. She lives in Rhode Island with her husband, four kids, two spoiled cats, and lovable black lab.

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