Discussion · tips · Writing

What is a serial?

Honestly speaking, I am writing serials. From the very beginning serials have always been how I planned out my stories more than novels. Since I always thought beyond just a single book, beyond just a trilogy. I merely thought about the story, where it begins and where it ends.

And here is where I will talk about what is a serial.

#1 Serials are not novels cut into small pieces

Serials in general, the format is very very different from novels. Novels must have a beginning, a middle and end by the end of the book. It might not apply to serials, where a volume of it might have very little to do with the central story.

Serials are more akin to TV shows, anime and manga. In the sense that they can go on for Seasons and years before reaching the climax. They don’t have to do so within a book.

However, it doesn’t mean that a serial doesn’t need progression. It still needs them, even though that is for another time.

#2 Characters

A serial can have a large cast of characters, but most importantly the characters must be compelling. And the characters have to be effectively used in such a serial.

As serials is much more reliant on strong characterization, and character arcs and development as the plot is not nearly as tight as a novel.

#3 Direction

A novel can rely on a simple idea, a concept. For a serial, you need more than that. You need to know the direction of the story in general. You need to have a good sense of where it is going, how to raise tension that is also relevant to the character.

And most importantly, there must be an end goal to them. Somewhere where the story can stop and will stop once it has progressed to that point, or in general it will feel directionless.

How do you think a serial is? And will you write one in the future? Leave it in the comment below


2 thoughts on “What is a serial?

  1. Serials are what I write with Fiction Vortex. “Call of the Guardian” is a serial novel made up of ten episodes. I like the serial format because it allows you to play with many more, smaller arcs. Each episode has a plot arc, and some blend together into a multi-episode arc, and there’s a season arc, which is essentially the novel. And as you say, there is room for more characters and more POVs. Guardian has more POVs than anything other standard narrative I’ve written.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup, even as I wrote my own serials I realized that one allowed me to branch out far more than it would have been tolerated in a novel series. As some characters simply become important in certain arcs and some just lose their importance so I don’t include them. And it taught me a lot more about raising stakes than anyone else has.

      Liked by 1 person

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