The Serial Novel: A Brief History with 30 Examples [Infographic]
A serial novel is a work of fiction that is published in installments, which can be published at nearly any interval and for nearly any length of time. Serialization was a very popular form of publishing in the 1800s and early 1900s.
History of serialized publishing
Charles Dickens established his now-iconic humorous voice, exaggerated characters, and piercing gaze into Victorian society in The Pickwick Papers, which was published over 19 issues from March 1836 to October 1837. The entire text can be read for free on Project Gutenberg, one of our favorite literary websites.
A brief history of serial novels
Many of these authors published their works in serial form, but for the sake of brevity, we only included one work from each author in our timeline.
Limitations of serialized novels as a form
Many criticisms of serial fiction are criticisms of the form itself; for example, Charles Dickens’ magazine All the Year Round serialized Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White in 1859.
Modern serial publishing
Andy Weir’s The Martian was self-published online, while Stephen King’s The Green Mile was published in six paperback volumes, and Michael Chabon’s Gentlemen of the Road appeared in the New York Times Magazine.
Future of serialization
The serial novel is making a comeback, with more successful cases like Andy Weir’s on the horizon as publishing shifts away from centralized traditional publishing houses and toward self-publishing, particularly online, with the rise of online literary magazines and sequential publishing platforms like Wattpad.
What is a serial book?
What Is Serial Fiction? Serial fiction is literature that is published in installments, similar to an episodic television show.
What is a serial narrative?
It’s the story, if you will, of a writer’s ideas and the reactions of his or her audience; if it’s good, it’ll have a voice, a cast of characters, and some action moving.
How do you write a serial story?
How to Write a Serial Novel
- One of the best things about writing a serial is that you don’t have to worry about the entire story.
- Keep your stories moving forward.
- Don’t info dump.
- Prepare to improvise.
- Create memorable characters.
- Keep it consistent.
How long are serial novels?
First, serials can help you improve your writing and publishing process in a few ways. While a typical novel is 50-100k words, each episode of a serial is typically 17-25k wordsu2014sometimes even less!
Where can I post serial fiction?
Websites that publish serialized fiction
- Webnovel: From the Chinese giant Qidian.
- Tapas: This is one of my favorite sites interface-wise, but it appears to be heavily oriented towards comics rather than novels.
What are the types of serials?
Serials include periodicals, journals, magazines, annuals, and irregular serials. A periodical is a type of serial with a fixed interval between issues; journals and magazines are examples of periodicals.
What was the first serial novel?
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, was one of the first significant American works to be serialized. It was published over a 40-week period by The National Era, an abolitionist periodical, beginning with the June 5, 1851 issue.
How do you outline a serial book?
8 steps to plotting a series for multi-book arcs
- Find your central idea.
- Brainstorm key plot points for each book.
- List ideas for each book’s end goal and the series.
- Choose your series’ broad setting.
- Study successful series’ plot structure for inspiration.
- Brainstorm characters who will carry your series.
What is the difference between a series and a serial?
Simply put, a series is a collection of books that all belong to the same “franchise” but can be read in any order (because they’re each a separate, self-contained story u2013 even if they’re connected), whereas a serial is an ongoing narrative that the audience must read in the correct order to understand.
How do you write a romance serial?
A Successful Romance Series Has Four Key Elements
- The Theme. Usually, a story idea comes to me with a theme.
- The World. The more intricate the world, the more deeply readers will be immersed, and the more likely they will want to return.
- A Goal. Every hero, and every series, has a goal.
What is episodic story?
A story is created from a series of related episodes; a fiction is said to be episodic if the episodes fall into no logical relationship. Episodic narrative – describes one of the oldest types of literature, often used in the epic. and/or A story composed of separate incidents (or episodes) tied loosely together.
What is Dickens best selling novel?
Spreading the Words In 1837, his next serial, “The Pickwick Papers,” was published as a best-selling novel under his own name.
How many books should my series have?
Within an episodic book series, characters can fall in love, have children, or change jobs without confusing the reader, especially if it makes sense. A book series can be two books or 50 books and counting, depending on the type of story you’re telling and how long it takes you to tell it.
What is a serial novel and when were they popular?
Serialization was a very popular form of publishing in the 1800s and early to mid-1900s, because it allowed authors to reach a much wider audience because even the poorest readers could afford short volumes, and publishers, of course, reaped the benefits.
Can novels be series?
A novel sequence is a group or series of novels that share common themes, characters, or settings, but each novel has its own title and storyline, allowing it to be read independently or out of order.