July 26, 2006

This Ain't Your Great-Great-Grandma's Dickensian Serial Novel

Before I tackle my main topic, I wanted to commend TadMack for her steadfast and fabulous singlehanded maintenance of this blog for the past few weeks while I was lost in conference hell. I really didn't mean to create a scenario in which I said, "Come help me with this blog. Thanks! Okay, bye now! Have fun!" Trust me, it was unintentional. I love this space and I love finding out from my fellow bloggers and our associated blog-links what's going on in the YA world. I can't wait to get caught up and start contributing again in earnest.

On that note, I've just received word in my inbox of a new serialized novel for YA readers, which will be posted chapter-by-chapter (in weekly installments) on the author's blog. Mortal Ghost, by L. Lee Lowe, "will be serialized in weekly instalments for the next 38-40
weeks. Thereafter the entire novel will be available as a free PDF download." I've only just had time to scan it over, but it looks like it will be good fun, not to mention a valuable opportunity for the author to get feedback.

This makes me think of the other major serial form of literature which has historically appealed to a YA audience (and an adult audience - I'm not belittling anybody here): comic books. And, like the author of Mortal Ghost, I do wonder what the response will be from young adults. Will the serial online form appeal? Will they lose interest because they have to wait for the next installment, or will it be addictive, like television?

I have my own reservations about posting my writing on a blog, most of them related to potential theft and copyright infringement. That being said, I think it's a great idea--don't forget that when National Novel Writing Month rolls back around, there will be several people blogging their novels as they go. I've also been posting a little writing on my personal blog as part of Flickr Fiction Friday, which is just a small group of people doing a weekly freewrite in response to a randomly chosen photo on Flickr. However, these are, at most, sketches (for me, anyway) and though they might lead to something larger and more publishable, I don't see them as being particularly appealing to writing thieves, if such exist in real life and not just in my paranoid imagination.


Lee said...

You're so right, that's one of the main questions: will a serial hold reader interest? Of course, it's hard to judge from just one example - after all, it might be that this novel is not enthralling enough, but another might be.

Personally, I'm completely unconcerned about copyright infringement. The real danger for an author - traditionally published or not - is obscurity, not theft. I bow to Cory Doctorow on this one (Boing Boing), since this is his view, and he's done a lot of thinking about the matter.

TadMack said...

Thanks, L.Lee, for alerting us to your work. You have the Baen Publishing vision -- freely sharing stories creates more publicity than copyright issues. More power to you.

(A.F., I'm glad you're back!)