I’ve always been fascinated by serial storytelling, in whatever medium. Whether television dramas like Lost or Fringe, or comics, or podcasts like Serial or The Black Tapes, stories that build over time and refer back to past developments feel deeper, more real, more consequential. Nor is this format a new trend. Some of the great novels of history — Dostoevsky and Dickens used it extensively — were first published chapter by chapter in magazines or newspapers long before their collection in the form of books.
I started to write serial novellas because I felt the basic idea I had for a story, one I’d been carrying around in my head for about ten years, was a good one but not substantial enough to warrant a full novel. I hadn’t even mapped out the plot yet, which I nearly always do. The serial format seemed the perfect solution: a way to get the story out of my head and into the world, but in a way that allowed me to develop it gradually and let it unfold the way it wanted to. Since then, I’ve loved writing and releasing stories in this way, and the unique challenges, advantages, and limitations it presents.
My first serial novella, released one chapter at a time in the year 2014 on a weekly basis. Rumor follows Jay, a young drifter fleeing his past. After falling asleep at the wheel one night and wrecking his car, Jay is stranded in a nameless small town an hour outside Charleston, South Carolina, until he can make enough money to pay for repairs. There he meets Rumor, a secretive young woman, and pisses off a petty, vengeful police officer whose enmity has grave consequences for Jay and Rumor alike.
Chapter I: Drifting on Sixty-one
Chapter II: Ed Clinkscales Has a Headache
Chapter III: Rumor Whispers
Chapter IV: A Different Ira Glass
Chapter V: Rain on River Road
Chapter VI: Mosquito
Chapter VII: Home, In This World
Chapter VIII: Idle Speed, No Wake
Chapter IX: The Land Tax
Chapter X: Jay Dreams of Foxes
Chapter XI: The Fire in Glass’ Eyes
Chapter XII: Of Ash and Charred Brick
Epilogue: The Buick Again (Under a Christmas Moon)
* * *
Written one chapter at a time over the summer of 2015, under the title Southern Skies, my second serial novella will be re-written in 2018. The chapters will be re-released on this site as work on them is completed.
Chapter I: A Salt-edged Blade
Chapter II: Not a Ghost, But an Echo
Chapter III: The Roommate
Chapter IV: Haint Blue
Chapter V: The Shape in the Sand
Chapter VI: Rosebank
Chapter VII: Taurus Runs Away
Chapter VIII: Stranded
Chapter IX: Drifting on One-sixty-five
Chapter X: A Scent from Beyond the World
Chapter XI: Ron Holbrooke Gets Lit
Chapter XII: Epithalamion
Epilogue: The Patients of a Saint
* * *
Currently in development.
Chapter I: A Missing Pixel