15 Years of Serial Fiction: ASF’s Anniversary Podcast, Part 2b (second installment)
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 33:02 — 30.2MB)
And now for part 2 of my second podcast, with two thoughtful and juicy questions along with some digression (naturally enough).
Like yesterday’s installment, this half touches on some plotting dilemmas that occur when one is writing a serial like ASF, especially when said serial happens to take 11 years longer than expected to finish a bleedin’ season. I discuss a unique issue related to this time dilation problem thanks to a question from Michael, he of the wonderful webserial Footprints, who grabbed on to an offhand remark I made on the ASF forum and asks me to explain myself: which plot had to change as a result of the series now taking place in 2012/2013, rather than 2002 when the story was originally planned? Gulp. Cornered, I admit my shame. Well, partially. Y’see… spoilers are involved.
Next comes a question from Andy*, and here’s where I’m forced to get rather autobiographical. He asks the age-old question: which characters and situations, if any, are based on my real life? This touches on some deeper emotions for me because I chose to respond in a pretty honest way about the good, and the bad, influences in my life and ASF as well. The good stuff includes characters based on disparate people such as my oldest sister’s best friend, my dearest college friend’s father, and my own late pop as well, though this last is a bit of a mixed blessing. You’ll hear it all inside.
Along the way there’s a bit of a digression about some serials I’ve admired that, sadly, are no longer available on the web, and my own plans for ASF and whether it too will disappear one day, Keyser Sose-like: “And like that: poof!–he’s gone.”
Again, the theme music is ASF’s theme (from 2001 – 2012), “Hell’s Bells,” by Dennis M. Reed, as seen in our opening trailer. This may be one of the last times I use it, as I’m about to switch over. In twelve years I really should’ve come up with lyrics to this thing… the final three notes are so clearly perfect for the lyrics “…in Schuyler Falls” that I can’t believe I never sat down and wrote the rest. Ah well.
The next podcast will focus on the remaining questions, all of which have to do with writing, writer’s block, editing, and other backstagey stuff. Look for that soon! And thanks to Sara, Michael and Andy for your questions. Please let me know what you think here or on the ASF Forum or on the Mailing List or just via email.
* Erratum: I mentioned The Blackthornes when describing Andy’s own serial, but erroneously thought it ended in 2010. It actually ran from 2005-2011. Sorry about that!
Links mentioned in this podcast include:
Hope you’ll check them out!
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About Kira Lerner
I'm the co-creator and writer of the webserial About Schuyler Falls, as well as other works filled with suspense, romance, rich characterization, and a dash of (usually dark) humor. My published novels are Fierce Moon, Night Wolf, Tropical Treasure and Seduction Games, with two upcoming book series in progress: a YA fantasy quintet and a trilogy of paranormal romantic suspense novels. I'm also a developmental editor, copy editor/writer, and web designer; I administer the EpiGuide community for webfiction and webseries, co-host the EpiCast podcast focusing on serialized webfiction (available on iTunes and Stitcher), and run WeSeWriMo, the annual writing marathon for web-based serials.
Another great couple of podcasts, Kira. Great inside info into your planning process. And yes, I was very surprised by some of your admissions about story or character twists and beats not being thought of until so late in the game! Couldn’t tell! Seriously, it always appears that your story arcs are so carefully thought out that you could have omitted this fact and I would have never known. I do the same thing. Most of my “good” story developments were thought of very last minute. Never adhere to stringently to the story bible, I say. It was interesting to hear about the stories that you changed due to reader feedback.
Thank you for answering the question I submitted. I know it’s hard to talk about some personal things in a public forum, and I appreciate your candor. I always like asking this question because for myself, many characters and situation, even attitudes and feelings that I depict in my writing are often taken directly from myself, someone I know, or experiences I’ve had or others had had. In college writing courses it was always drilled into me that you should ‘write what you know’. First rule of writing, they’d say. Anyway, your response was apprecaited and very thought provoking.
Also, thank you for the kudos to Storm Lake. I’m sorry, sorry, sorry for yanking it away from you! I so appreciate your enthusiasm for the series and I hope you download the e-book when it’s available (no date yet but it’s definitely a work in progress). Meanwhile, I hope you give The Blackthornes another try when it returns this year. I think you’ll find a lot of that tone I created for SL will transfer over in some ways.
Anyways, fun and insightful podcast. I love hearing about your writing processes and can’t wait for another installment.
Hi Andy and thank you for the comment! And the question too, and while I’m at it, for SL (while it was available, heh).
I’m glad the plot points don’t seem to come out of nowhere even when they kinda do. 🙂 Probably, in fairness to me, what helps is that I get a lot of my final lightbulb-moments by rereading old material, so the nuggets of the solutions to my plotting issues are often already planted in the serial. This may give the impression that I planted them purposely. Which I so didn’t.
In one of the umpteen takes of this podcast (I mentioned on the ASF forum that this took 4 takes to get a final version I was happy with), I mentioned another improvised solution that I’m almost *certain* everyone thinks was intentional because the solution is so dang obvious. In fact I mentioned in the ASF forum several months back that I was embarrassed about not having thought of it, and Michael himself asked me what I was talking about; I was going to tack this trivia onto Michael’s other question in this episode. But instead I’ll save it for the next podcast. So this whole paragraph is basically a teaser. Sorry about that. But trust me, it’ll be surprising to hear which plot twist was totally unplanned, especially considering how it seems to have been set up.
Anyway it’s always good to hear another writer admit to not adhering too closely to his/her bible and writing somewhat on the fly! It’s so tricky to do that and make it seem natural, but when it works, it’s a lot of fun.
Your question was definitely thought-provoking, so I was glad to include it. I’ve always taken the “write what you know” advice as meaning two things: write from your own history/experience, but OTOH, if you want to write about something that you *haven’t* experienced, then make sure you learn about it and do your research. So I guess it’s both “write what you know” and “know what you write.”
But anyway, you’re definitely right, I think most of us put ourselves, or others in some way, into our characters and plots, at least to a tiny degree. Obviously not 100% of the time, and hopefully not 100% of ourselves (unless we’re doing autobiographical stuff).
Do you have any ideas about when the SL book will be out? Is this going to be an open-ended book (like Bex’s “Independence Day”) or a single novel?
Ah so you’re definitely going to return TB? That’s very cool. Now are you rebooting it or is it a continuation?
Many many thanks for listening and for all your enthusiastic encouragement!
And I should mention that it cracks me up to see how “Kira wears a hairshirt” is tied for the biggest (and thus most common) tag in the blog’s tag cloud. Not surprising, but funny.
Well now I’m very curious as to what this unplanned plot twist was! Tease! Excited for the next podcast!
I do not know when SL will be done. Part of the appeal for me in retooling it as an e-book was so I could take my time on each chapter and not feel rushed to put something out. Later this year hopefully, but I can’t even promise that. It’ll be a series of books, ideally.
Yes, TB is returning. Since I yanked SL from the web, I still crave that webseries style of writing and production. So this was my fall-back to make that happen for me again. It’ll be a continuation.