For the past six weeks I have been writing a serialized fictional piece. Once a week I have posted a part of the continuing story here. If you have been following along, you know that I am a novice fiction writer.
As I mention at the beginning of each post, "During the month of April I participated in the A to Z blogging challenge. A first for me, I attempted fiction for the first time. I had such fun with it that I decided to give it another go. This time I will be writing a serial type of story.”
It’s been an interesting project. The process has certainly been enlightening for me.
As I was instinctively calling this a “serial”, the first thing I did was look up the meaning of serial fiction.
I wanted to make sure that I was using the correct term by calling it a serial.
According to Wikipedia:
literature, a serial is a printed format by which a single larger work,
often a work of narrative fiction, is published in sequential installments. The
installments are also known as numbers, parts, or fascicles,
and are either issued as separate publications or within in sequential issues
of a single periodical
Yes, that’s what I was intending.
Part One was easy. I had an idea for a beginning, the introduction of a few characters, a vague idea of suspense, and a tease at the end.
When I started writing Part Two, I instantly became aware that logistics were crucial to the story line.
Questions like, “Wait a minute, where did I leave Rachel in part one?” “How old are Rachel and her sister when the story takes place?” “When were they born?” “Let’s see that must make their mother…”
I couldn’t keep all this straight in my head, especially if the story was going to continue for weeks, so I started a word doc with a list of characters, their birth dates, relationship to one another, etc. Like I said, I am learning as I go and this one was an important lesson. As I continued on with each part, my word doc became more detailed and a reference document.
One of the most fascinating experiences for me was how immersed I became. As I was writing, and thinking and plotting, my imagination grabbed me and plopped me right into the middle of the story.
I promised a six week (or maybe more) story. A challenge to be sure. Where was this story going? More importantly, how would it end? Didn’t I owe an ending to my reader(s)? Which by the way, includes me.
But then I remembered an incident that happened when my mother was living with me. It was during the last months of her life. The incident proved to be a revelation for me and it had an impact on how I thought about life.
One of the things that would have brought peace to my mother was to know that her son, my brother, was going to be okay.
The last hours of her life were spent in a non responsive state. The hospice nurse told us that it seemed as though she was hanging on, not wanting to let go. “Perhaps she was waiting for someone?” the nurse asked.
We immediately thought it must be my brother. We called him. We put the phone up to her ear, and he told her that he loved her and that he was going to be okay. She passed a few hours later.
Of course, I knew that he wasn’t okay. And that’s when it struck me.
I thought about all the worrying I do, especially about my own children. But truly, none of us ever really gets to know the end of every story. You know, Life Goes On. That became starkly evident to me after my own son passed away. There should have been so much more to his story. After all he was one of the main characters.
Perhaps that’s why I chose to do a serial. I, at least, have control of how this story ends, or not.
By the way, once I publish a part, I have difficulty not going back and editing it. I will re-read a section and think, Darn, I should have had Rachel go here instead of there.
But, that’s life!
Stay tuned for Part Seven of “The Red Sweater”.