Sunday, March 15, 2009

Serial project season 1 complete

I've finished the rough draft of the entire first season of the project I've mentioned a handful of times. Thirteen episodes long, each about 5k words, so that makes it a very short novel (in terms of length), while a second season of the same length would be a longish novel. Well, longer than most publishers say from a first-time novelist, though plenty of published books end up well over that.

I have my doubts how it would work as a novel, however. The structure is quite different, and definitely the ending of episode 13, while fitting for how TV season-finales go, would be dissatisfying as a novel ending.

I've really enjoyed the project, though, and I'm pleased with the results so far. I've done some minor revisions through episode 9 and shared them for critiques and gotten good responses (as well as good advice for the next revisions). But what to do with the project from here? ...

One option is to continue the things I did with episode 1, designing each episode into a faux-Victorian newspaper layout with period ads that fit the setting. I had fun doing that for the first episode...but I don't think I really have the design skills to get the kind of quality I'd like. Doing it myself, I'd end up with decent documents, but with a definite DIY rough-ness to it. And it would take forever. Then I guess I could try to sell subscriptions to the project, send out a new episode once a week (or whatever). I don't really have either a fan base or the sales ability to get the interest I'd want with that, though. Not without building my name much more first.

Another option is to look into podcasting the episodes. The idea has been playing in my mind since the beginning. I wrote the episodes with a very regular structure, so that I could stick faux-radio ads in at the scene breaks. I've had no reference to radio in the stories and suspect it hasn't quite been invented yet, but I could set the ads up as if they refer to demands and services of the same city, only 50 or so years later. I would likely be making that available for free then (through podio books), but I could conceivably combine it with subscriptions for the pdf's. That would help break down the steep name-recognition barrier somewhat, but wouldn't solve the design issues.

And the last possibility, which is looking most likely at the moment, is to do nothing for now and just keep my eyes out and hope for a publisher or publication that might be a good fit for this. (While doing revisions and such in the meantime, of course.)

I would still like to do a second season. I don't think I'll aim for more than that. I'll be taking some time away from the project (once I do minor revisions of the remaining episodes so they're ready for critiques). But then in six months or so, I'll come back to the project and assess it at that point, decide what exactly to do.


TK42ONE said...

Keep us posted on how it turns out. I'm curious how the whole "write for TV" aspect works compared to the "write for a novel" works. Sounds like there's some adaptation that goes on when jumping between the two (which makes sense seeing as TV shows and movies never really match the books they're based on).

Daniel Ausema said...

Thanks, I will certainly keep you updated.