I have a little writers’ club within my family, as every one of us is a published author, though granted, all working in different mediums. During our get-togethers/meetings, we often have long discussions about movies, television series, books, short stories, video game plots, limited series — pretty much everything under the sun that has to do with writing in some aspect. We analyze what works, what doesn’t, and what we can learn from it all.
And turning back the clock even a bit further, I used to appear in a number of stage plays while I was in college. During that time, I came home one summer and agreed to take part in a locally produced soap opera. It was the era of the over-the-top nighttime soap-operas like Dallas and Dynasty, so our little production on the local open channel was a bit of a parody of these sudsy offerings. What I did find interesting was that coming from a background of stage performing, it was important I adjust my acting and dial it down quite a bit for the subtlety of the small screen. On the stage, you are always encouraged to go bigger so the people in the back seats can see you, but the camera, being so close up, catches all the small nuances. And if you don’t adjust, you seem to be overacting.
Getting back to writing, just like acting, working in different mediums of writing demands its own rules. A short story is very concise and focused on perhaps one element of the narrative. A novel is a different beast, depending on its length. It can be very focused if short, though needing usually more complexity and more characters, and several threads or layers of plot — maybe more if an exceptional length. Now a book with intended sequels is really just a piece of a book, a part of an overarching narrative — big picture and little picture stuff. And of course, all of these loose rules are made to be reinvented and broken at times by a skilled writer.
In my writing, I’ve primarily come from a background of short stories and novels. Some of my novels are longer, but I would say predominantly on the shorter side. I usually have a plot worked out or at least the endgame of a book, though I have found some narratives like to take a twist and turn that is unexpected. I did write one series of books, The New Orleans Paranormal Mysteries that weren’t hard sequels as each book focused on a different character.
And this meandering brings me to my point — Kindle Vella. As you might know, the last three books I’ve been working on have been in the Kindle Vella medium, a sort of episodic/serial format. It is really up to the author how long the story goes on. For me, as I’ve said, I like to have an end game in mind. This format has brought its own “gifts” for me so to speak. As well as developing some narratives that needed to get jump-started it has also taught me patience. These stories I’ve found have to unfold at their own pace. Some episodes are character-driven, fleshing out that aspect of the narrative, and some plot-driven. There has been an interesting flow in writing this sort of episodic tale, definitely trying to always leave the reader with a reason to return as well as taking my time with developing the story without overstaying my welcome. It really has been a gift working in this medium. I suppose the old adage there are lessons in everything is true. I am about to begin the final arc in my paranormal romance, Dumaine Street. I confess, when I began, I couldn’t clearly see where this story was going but now, I see the path home. Of course, there are always opportunities for unexpected turns. And I, as well as the readers I hope, look forward to those.
Thanks for Listening,
Voices in her head, catastrophic emotions, hallucinations, Rebecca Wells is more than convinced that she is losing her mind. And as a last-ditch effort, she contacts a self-professed counselor who seems convinced that he can help. Gabriel Sutton has abandoned the world of medicine to navigate a realm filled with psychic phenomena. Diagnosing Becca with extreme empathic abilities, he struggles to help her stabilize her gifts while trying desperately not to fall in love with his patient.