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.