Earlier this year, I became fascinated with the whole idea of serial novels. But again, I felt the need to release at least one standard novel before experimenting. Then, a few months ago, I discovered something that is more properly labeled the Episodic Novel.
The episodic novel is written in small segments, much like a TV series. I like Breaking Bad as an example. Breaking Bad ran five seasons, but the writers clearly had an end in mind before the first episode released. Each episode throughout the five year span were continuations of the story. Whereas a series like Supernatural, for instance, doesn’t really follow an overall plot. The thread that connects the episodes is secondary. You can skip around and not really lose track. It’s the Monster of the Week.
#AngelWarz is set up in the same manner as a Breaking Bad type of series. We have the entire story plotted, though roughly, over the next four “seasons.” Each season, of course, must also have its own three act plot structure. It’s a challenge because we’re really writing four novels within one larger novel. True of any series, of course, but we’ve taken it another step.
Each season of #AngelWarz consists of 36 weekly episodes between August and June. Each episode should be a 15-20 minute read for a middle school reader. Our goal was to be the after-school program for our readers every Thursday during the school year.
But that wasn’t enough. We wanted our story to be interactive. Cue the social media. This is where it pays to know your audience. Kids in our age group do not hang out on facebook or twitter. It’s all Instagram all the time. Since our characters are of that age group, they too must have Instagram accounts. So @blackkael and @falynarrow were created. As the series continues, they’ll post, with photos, the events of thier unusual days, using the #angelwarz hashtag of course. Our kids will also receive mysterious messages via Instagram. Our followers will see them as well and have the opportunity to solve the puzzle before our characters do.
The way we read is changing. Thanks to the internet, e-readers, and the new wave of indie writers who are free to experiment, there are no more barriers. No appropriate word counts for a genre. No off-limits or must-have topics. We write our story. We can charge $10 for it or give it away free, which is the case for #AngelWarz. Until, of course, we bundle the series at the end of each season and sell it as a complete novel. Or give it away for newsletter sign-ups. We’ll decide that later.
So that’s the method to our mayhem. If you’d like to follow the story, sign up for the newsletter up there on the right. And bring the kids. There’s even an Author’s Notes section at the end of each episode for our young fledgling writers.
Oh, and if you sign up after the first episodes have been released, we’ll send you the ones you missed. We don’t want to leave anyone behind!