Thinking Aloud On A Sunday

Reading Your Own Writing.

I have mentioned many times recently how I have lacked the concentration to read this year. Since January 2020, I have started three books, bought seven more for my Kindle, and two paperbacks. And I have not finished reading a single one. I am hoping that my desire for reading will come back soon.

However, I have been reading my own fiction. Ever since I started to feel ill three weeks ago, accompanied by the constant rain that stopped me wanting to venture out any more than I had to, I have been revisiting my own fiction from a different prespective. I have approached it as a reader, not the author. Some of my earlier short stories could do with better development, but I am happy with how I progressed with those, especially the series of photo-prompts.

I went back over some of my better serials, reading them first as a serial in parts, then as the ‘complete story’, in one go. When writing them, I read them constantly. I edit as I go, read the edit, and then read the whole thing before pressing ‘Publish’. But I read it as a writer; looking for errors, duplication of words or phrases, incorrect character names, and so on.

I have never read it as a reader, coming to it fresh.

I soon came to the conclusion that I don’t think they work as well as a complete story. They are written to be read in parts, and that seems to jar when getting through around 30,000 words. Although I am happy to compile them for readers who prefer that, I definitely think they read better as a serial, and flow better too.

Some of my serial fiction has complex structure, as in ‘The Old Remington’, where the events of one day change the past the next morning. Or ‘Little Annie’, which was told backwards from the ending. Two serials are very personal to me. ‘Benny Goes Bust’, which has a lot of ever so slightly altered details of my own life woven in, and ‘Vera’s Life’, based on the true story of my family and their neighbours during WW2.

But after a few weeks or reading my own stuff as a ‘reader’, I have decided that ‘The River’ might be my best work so far. Not only did I manage to tackle a setting in small town America, but it also stretched over a period exceeding twenty years. Without sounding boastful, and having just read the whole thing again yesterday, I reckon that one is pretty good.

If I say so myself.

75 thoughts on “Thinking Aloud On A Sunday

    1. I found it interesting how many people doubled or trebled their reading, due to the pandemic lockdowns. Then some of us were unable to concentrate long enough to finish one book. Thanks for adding your own experience, Queen.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. From the perspective of a reader, it gives a story a different take. I see what you mean about your serials working better as a serial rather than a complete story, although I think ‘Vera’ and also the family with the curse (can’t recall the title) would make a great book. I for one would enjoy rereading your serials, and I bet your other followers would feel the same way. With many new bloggers, you might want to consider reposting them. Best to you, Pete.

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          1. It is a good point to consider. Do most bloggers want to read 10,000 words or more? That may be a lot for new followers. Sally reposts her serials, and it seems that everyone (me included) is happy to read them again. Your lens is the writer, and reposting all the episodes on a serial might seem dull. For the reader, it is a joy to read. Just my thoughts. Best to you, Pete.

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  2. I think too, The River is top noch, Pete! But it was also a pleasure to read all your other great stories. I apologize for the late revisit, but i had to deal with our new situation here. I now can feel with you, in Beetley. Since last Saturday, without prior notice the only food market has closed for renovation. Five weeks without any possibility getting anything inside this village. The next possibility is 7 km away, and since Saturday its raining, too. ;- Michael

    P.S.: It seems like someone wants to test whether I would feel comfortable in the UK. But Lol I never said that I would move to the country. 😉

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  3. Vera would take some beating, but many of your murder mysteries would come close, although titles allude me at the moment. The guy who got away with the perfect crime and was never captured? Or the bloke who was murdered by the capper who was having an affair with his wife? Thinking about it, my memory is so bad I could read them all again as if it was the first time and enjoy them just as much 🙂

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  4. Great post 🙂 Writing a story as a serial is probably the best way to publish it online. I believe William Makepeace Thackeray and Charles Dickens published their work as serials first in newspapers (and I believe magazines) before they were published as complete books. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

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  5. The first of your stories I read was The Old Remington. I liked it so much I even tried my hand at a serial on my own blog, except unlike you, I wrote the whole thing first and cut it up into sections for posting later. I don’t think I could commit to writing a new section fresh every day. Vera certainly had authenticity, because it was rooted in reality. And you did a good job on the American setting of The River.

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  6. Maybe when publishing the complete story, you could make each imported serial installment a chapter, and assign a chapter heading (title and/or chapter number) to it. For example, “Vera’s Life” could be offered in complete form, but divided into 40 chapters, with each chapter reproducing one of the serial’s corresponding forty parts. By breaking up the complete story into chapters (like in a book), maybe the reader would get that serial feel while at the same time being able to read the entire story on a single web page.

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