Well it’s been a bit wet here over the past few days, with some seriously heavy downpours for what seems like hours on end for the majority of the week. Now I say this, despite unusually having managed to avoid the worst of the deluge while I’ve been out and about.

Now being an Englishman I like few things more than complaining about the weather, but this is balanced in large measure by my equal enjoyment of bad weather when I’m tucked up indoors with no need to venture out into said bad weather.

As such the heavy rain we’ve had over the past few days has been doubly enjoyable, because I’ve not only managed to navigate my way home from work in the evenings without getting soaked, but once ensconced at my desk with my writing I’ve had nowhere I really needed to go (though picking some herbs from the garden to go into my dinner the other night turned into and unexpectedly soggy expedition.)

I also like the sound of the drumming rain when I’m writing. I don’t know whether it’s just the fact that rain drowns out a lot of other everyday sounds that might otherwise distract, or if it just makes me appreciate the shelter of a comfy home all the more.

Irrespective of the reason, the end result has been a pleasantly productive last few evenings at home working on my new ‘Through Glass Darkly’ storyline. This story is completely unrelated to my Flames of Time series, though it is similarly set in the 1920s/30s era, and a similar Western real world setting, it does in contrast include my own reimagining of some distinctly Steampunk themes.

This story is also a little more action oriented than mystery, and it’s going to be released in a serialised form of four 20,000 to 25,000 word episodes, once a quarter for the next 12 months, after which I’m planning to compile these four episodes into a single ‘Season 1’ novel.

Unlike my Flames of Time series, which is a strict three book series, this Through Glass Darkly series is likely to be five or six seasons, possibly more if the long range story arcs go down well.

Why release this story as episodes within a season rather than just releasing the story as a single novel each year?
Well, like all things in life it’s because of several things:

  • Its what readers want
    Well maybe, i’m still not entirely convinced on this one yet, but there are quite a few authors trialling this style of story development and release based on the hypothesis that most readers would prefer to get material sooner, even if that means releasing it gradually, rather than all in one lump every twelve months.
  • It’s better for new authors
    Well, also maybe. Yes it has the advantage that by releasing little and often it makes promoting a story a lot easier, print copies of just on hundred pages are obviously much cheaper to produce than three hundred and fifty page copies, both of which allows readers to ‘take the plunge’ with a new author without having to commit as much time or money to find out whether they’re going to get along.
  • It’s more enjoyable to write and edit
    This one i’m fairly sure about. Writing in episodes of 20,000 – 25,000 words is nice and quick, more like a series of short sprints than longer marathon’s, it makes the editing easier, as everything is still very fresh, and in general it requires a lot less endurance.

Now, it doesn’t quite fit with the above points, but i do also like the fact that writing in these shorter episodes has a nice parrallel with how some of my favourite novels and stories were written back in the day. From ‘The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas, which was published in serialised form in the ‘La Siecle’ newspaper in Paris, to the early Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthour Conan Doyle which were famously serialised in The Strand Magazine.

As i write this now, there is a significant part of me that would love nothing more than to have a modern day equivalent of The Strand or La Siecle whisking it’s way to my front door for my own lazy consumption on soggy Autumnal afternoon, and yes, the modern day equivalent might be electronic and whisking its way to your device of choice, but the need for something to laze around with on a soggy day is still with us.

Note to self, must get around to doing a search for just such a periodical.

Or if anyone reading this at any point in the future happens across such a periodical, do please drop me a line to let me know.