Challenge and excitement seem to sum up the process of not only writing a serialised story, but doing it collaboratively. Two people who relish the process are Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross. Thanks for joining me!
1. What is the attraction of serialised stories for you, and for your readers?
Our attraction to serialization is that it’s very immediate, seat-of-your-pants writing. This makes it very exciting and spontaneous for us and it’s wonderful knowing that readers don’t have to wait a year for something new. What we are working on today will be in readers’ hands a month from now.
2. Why did you decide to co-author Belinda?
Because Belinda is a wild girl with a very busy and extraordinary life, there’s really no way only one person could accurately chronicle her adventures. Also, because of the subjects we are exploring, we felt that the influence of both male and female perspectives would give the story the kind of reality and presence it deserves.
3. What factors need to be taken into account when considering a collaboration? The first consideration must be your ultimate visions. You can’t write with someone who doesn’t want the same outcome as you. Having good senses of humor is vital, too. Most importantly, there must be a firm respect between collaborators - not only in terms of writing and business but regarding personal lives. Drama belongs on the page and that’s where it goes.
4. How do you manage the practical aspects of collaboration such as planning, different writing times, editing etc?
We meet every morning, Monday through Saturday, on Skype and in the Cloud, and spend anywhere from 8 to 10 hours working. We spend the first hour or two brainstorming and discussing, and taking care of writing business. Then we move into the actual writing which takes up the rest of the day. You might say we save the fun part for last.
5. You can’t go back and feed in a clue or details once each part of the story is published. How do you manage a problem of omission?
We have to be meticulous about our outline, making sure we are in full agreement on where we want the story to go. It is a lot different - and in many ways, more difficult - than writing a full novel because of that. We must also have firmer grasps of minute details than we ordinarily would if writing solo in order to avoid mistakes and omissions. For example, we must know what our characters are wearing, how they comb their hair and what perfume or cologne they are partial to in case we both happen to mention it. We must both know furniture and architectural details in advance, too. When writing our regular novels we are exacting in our character and location profiles, but we can go back and make corrections if necessary. Not so on a serial novel. That’s why our method of writing - literally together in the Cloud - works so well for this.
6. Please explain the level of planning required when creating a serialised story.
With a traditional novel, a writer is allowed more freedom - the story can shift direction a little more because you’re able to go back and add changes before it reaches readers. With a serial, you’re committed to what has already been published; there’s no going back. Because of this, the required planning needs to be quite a bit more thorough. We aren’t able to deviate from our outline as much.
7. Do you have any advice for writers considering a collaboration/serialisation?
Again, if you’re going to write with someone, keep the drama on the page where it belongs. When you collaborate, you are going into business with another person. You must make your goals - and your boundaries - very clear from the beginning. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with the person you’re writing with, so you have to be compatible, respectful, and professional. As for advice on writing a serialized novel, we would say, clear your schedule. It’s time consuming - but well worth it. We both feel fortunate in having found each other. We are each the other’s perfect collaborator and we’re having a blast with our serial novel as well as the thriller/horror novel we are simultaneously writing. We plan on doing many more of both.
What do you enjoy most about serials? Leave a comment or just say hi!
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7/26/2014 01:59:00 pm
Thanks for sharing your experience on collaborating in the serialisation of a novel, Tamara and Alistair. It is enlightening and comments on FB post indicate people are interested in your work. Best wishes.
Tamara and Alistair
7/27/2014 03:58:57 am
Thank you for having us; it was a blast. Here are the links for Belinda: The New Governess and the second installment, Awakening.
7/29/2014 12:39:00 pm
Great article, thanks. It's a concept I'd never really thought about, but certainly sounds worthy of another look. Thanks.
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Story elements surround us every day, from new places to a favourite piece of music or an odd moment witnessed in passing that becomes a scene in our work. On this weekly post, fellow authors will share some of what inspires their stories and their lives. Sit back and make yourself comfortable with the drink of your choice as the curtain rises.