Serial Thoughts

**Spoiler Alert**
If you have not read Part 35 of my recent serial, or intend to read it as a complete story, then skip this for now.

With the final part of ‘Runs In The Family’ now published, and also posted as a complete story, I am reviewing the process of writing serialised fiction, as is my habit.

This as the longest serial in terms of parts that I have published so far, although shorter episodes meant that the word count was similar to some of my earlier ones. Taking on historical fiction in the form of a family saga was something I had long wanted to do, though I underestimated the amount of research that would be involved, and the difficulty of keeping up with such a large number of characters.

Spanning a perod of over three hundred years called for hisorical accuracy at many levels. World events that might have impacted the family, changes in industry and medical practice, and carefully choosing names that reflected those popular at any given period during three centuries.

You may not be surprised to hear that I ran to seven full pages of notes for this serial, as well as countless calculations about ages, and dates of birth. Even with those to hand, I made numerous mistakes that had to be corrected, including transposing the names of some of the characters. I was grateful when Fraggle added a hand-written family tree as a comment in Part 21, as that saved me making more errors for a while.

It began as an idea about writing a story around the events concerning Jack The Ripper, in 1888. I thought I would explore a fictional history of Jack, which might give some idea why he did what he did, and where he had originated from. That ended up with me covering a period from the late 1650s, until 1968.

Believe me when I tell you that was quite difficult. Working out how long people might live, what might happen to various members of a large family, and trying to pace time and events leading up logically to the final ‘reveal’. Then it was apparent that I needed an explanation of how all this would be known, in the 1960s. So I used the diaries and journals to facilitate this, and had to insert Part 35 as an epilogue, to explain how they would have been discovered.

Despite this being a long and at times tiring challenge to myself, I am going to miss the Dakin family.

The serial was quite well-received, with at least 90 views for each episode, sometimes more. So far, the recorded views for the whole serial are around 3,350. This does not include those for Part 35, which I have just published. Comments were much the same as for every serial, and I know that many readers do not feel the need to comment on fiction.

As always, I would like to give my sincere thanks to everyone who read every episode. To those who commented, left a ‘Like’, and shared on social media or reblogged parts or all of it. You are very much appreciated.

Best wishes to you all, Pete.

43 thoughts on “Serial Thoughts

  1. From the standpoint of a reader, this was truly excellent. I do hope you pursue this as a book. Remember when Fragglerock posted the timeline? That was a big help. As a book, you history is accurate and well done. Spending more time with the characters might be a good thing. I will definitely buy this book!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Jennie. It would be easy to expand the characters of course. The various sea voyages in detail, the trips into town, and the numerous business dealings. Each one could be a chapter. In fact, it could be more than one book, perhaps running into various sequels. But I would have to treat writing that like a full-time job, at the expense of any other writing, and most of my blogging too.
      That’s probably why it will never be a book, but I appreciate that you would buy it. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know what you mean! You couldn’t write on your blog and write a book and have time for Ollie, etc. Just answering thank you notes (replying to comments) takes a huge amount of time. Best to you, Pete.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am always fascinated by writers’ processes. I am very different in my subject matter, but like you I tend to think through the whole thing before I begin. Others really do learn where they are going as they write.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I tried that way, and was never happy with wondering which way to take it. Having the ending fixed works for me, as it gives me the discipline not to change my mind. In this serial, I had part 35 written down in longhand, so I was more or less committed to work back from that.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do go about it rather backward. I start a serial or novella and have no idea where it is going to end or how. I write the story to find out what happens. It is fascinating to read your reviews of your work as it opens a new way of looking at a story from simply seeing how it ends. As I recall I think I have a murderous truck driver in an unfinished story waiting for me to allow her to kill again 🙂 Warmest regards, Theo

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I am looking forward to when you resume that serial. I still remember all the details. My current serial already has its ending firmly sketched out in my mind. Now it’s just a case of working back to discover how that end happened. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Pete, love this insight. So glad to hear you had a great turnout for the story…the Ripper reveal was fantastic…and I loved the ending as well! Looking forward to more of the Dakin family if you choose to wade back in!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. As you know, I have a penchant for including many characters in my fiction. Coming up with a laundry list of names is itself a challenge, but I don’t deal with multiple generations (a task which creates a web of complex relationships) and the multiple historic events that impact them (a task that requires not only research but also the structuring of plot and strict attention to consistent pacing), so my work is relatively easy compared to the undertaking of writing a serial like “Runs in the Family.”

    Epilogue aside, the main plot of the story spans the period from the late 1650’s to 1888. The end date was based on the year that Jack the Ripper committed his crimes in and around the Whitechapel district of London. You obviously gave some thought to the historic events that you wished to weave into the narrative, and settled on a starting date in the mid-17th Century. I’m guessing that to justify this starting date from a fictional perspective, you decided to have Simeon Rudd poison the bloodline of the Dakin family by virtue of his sexual relations with Clara Dakin (née Fernsby), the fickle wife of Isiah Dakin. Any Dakin family history prior to that would have been irrelevant to the background of Jack the Ripper.

    You made a comment, in response to readers who are clamoring for book-length treatment, that due to the shorter chapters “Runs in the Family” is no longer overall than some of your previous serials. Some of those previous serials could definitely serve as the springboard for an engaging novel, but “Runs in the Family” has particularly powerful potential. The serial is so rapidly paced that the degree of deceleration that would come with further development would significantly benefit the story. Also, the tapestry of historic events in which the various members of the Dakin family become personally involved could be (and perhaps should be) further explored. So I would also urge you to consider giving more depth to the Dakin family saga.

    Pete, I thoroughly enjoyed “Runs in the Family,” and had a lot of fun with it in my comments. I don’t know if any of your readers bothered with them, but I think you looked forward to reading my exercises in punnery.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for all your thoughts, David, and your complimentary remarks about extending this into a book.
      I do enjoy, and appreciate, the efforts you make with your punning comments. I especially like it when I leave some ‘bait’ that I know will be irresistible to you.
      There is plenty of that in my new serial, you will be pleased to know. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have to say that the main aspect of writing fiction that deters me is the research required, so kudos to you, Pete; I don’t even know if I could summon the enthusiasm for writing another biography, especially as it wouldn’t have the personal connection [I only know of one other ancestor with a ‘colourful’ life, and I don’t think his ‘claim to fame’ would in itself be enough to justify a biography]. Cheers, Jon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jon. My fiction serial is nothing compared to the work producing about about real people. I think I will stick with blogs though, as a book feels like too much pressure to me.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Historical fiction! You gotta love it. Yes, the research, the details, the omnipresent worry that one will make a mistake or perform an anachronism. It’s a bigger job than most people realize. With we regards to your saga, you lost me somewhere in the middle–distractions at my hom–and I couldn’t get back into it. Sorry. I’m going to try to stay with the new one you posted today. The code names your protagonist gives his apartment complex are a nice touch for creating characters. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate you have too much going on to worry about my blog serials, Cindy, so that’s never an issue. Might be a while before I tackle more historical fiction, but I did enjoy the challenge.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Liked by 1 person

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