Fiction Serial Overview: The River

I have just published my most recent serial in one complete story. As usual, I am looking at how it was received, and explaining something about the process for those of you who may be interested.

This was my first attempt at writing something from an American perspective. Using my experience of watching many American films over almost sixty years, as well as my memories of books like ‘The Catcher In The Rye’, I tried to capture the feel of life in small town America over a period from the early 1970s to the turn of the century.

Looking back, I was only partially successful. I notice that I varied spelling between the English and American versions, failing to be consistent in either. I received encouragement from many American readers who assured me that I was getting most of it right, as well as valuable help from David Miller, who kindly pointed out differences such as ‘Filling out’ a form, rather than the English ‘Filling in’ a form. Although I looked up the policing structure in most American states, I made an error with ‘County Police’, but decided to leave that in the story to add to the fictional element.

I tried for shorter episodes this time too, as some of my previous serial parts ran close to 2,000 words. In terms of readers, each episode exceeded 80 views, with a total of more than 1800 views for the whole serial, and more still coming in. Comments were up on some other serials too, so that was very rewarding for me.

As I normally do, I thought of the ending, and worked back. I had to use notes to remember the various characters, and I did some research into two genuine American locations too. For the names of the characters, I looked up some common American surnames, many derived from the European original names of course, and tried to place the first names in some historical context of when such names would have been popular.

My thanks to everyone who stuck with every episode of the serial, and to those of you who reblogged any part, or shared on social media.

I hope you will enjoy the next one, when it arrives in my head!

Best wishes, Pete. 🙂

28 thoughts on “Fiction Serial Overview: The River

  1. I’m going to chime in and say that I prefer the shorter chapters too, Pete. I don’t follow that many blogs, but some days it takes quite some time to go through everything I want to.

    One of the interesting things about this serial for me was the length of time it covered following the characters’ lives. I went down a few rabbit holes, thinking I had it figured out when I didn’t. It wasn’t until the final couple of episodes that I zeroed in on Clay. I’m wondering if that was because I didn’t want that to be the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the shorter chapters too. I have missed a couple of your serials as I got behind with catching up with posts and decided to wait until the end! I’ll try and get to them if you take a breather before starting your next one!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pete, I think chapter lengths between 1,200 and 1,500 words are ideal. Of course, if a reader falls behind a couple of days (as I did when my PC monitor fried due to a power outage), it takes a bit of time to catch up. I continue to enjoy and appreciate your serials. You truly are a gifted storyteller, and I’m looking forward to more well-crafted stories in 2020!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. With your ” when it arrives in my head!” I can envision a fiction control tower(after airport, traffic control towers) in your brain–I can see those stories just circling awaiting room on the “writingway.” Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Looking forward to reading it, Pete, though I realise I am a serial behind! I’ll catch up. I had hoped to do lots of reading over the holidays but actually read less than usual! I’ll be glad to get back into my usual routine 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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