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  • Curious About Serials

  • Fiction Fangirl

    May 25, 2020 at 11:27 pm

    So perhaps Riva the Rad can best answer this question due to experience, but if anyone else can jump in and voice their opinion would be lovely.

    Long intro.

    Anyway!  I have always been VERY curious about how serials are published in magazines.  As in, does the writer plan and write the story on the fly?  Or are they lucky enough to have a completed novel and simply have to slice a thousand or something words off each week and dish it out to the public?

    Or there’s another middle-way method?

    The floor is all yours.

  • Esther Kurtz

    May 26, 2020 at 12:10 am

    My experience with serials is writers pitching the concept, getting the go ahead, developing it further, plotting , planning what not, and writing it about four weeks ahead of each chapter being printed (if you’re more than 4 weeks ahead, you’re amazing and your editors and production will bless you).

    Serial writing is different than writing a book. Each chapter is a short story unto itself. A good serial is a study in tight writing.

  • HappiWriter

    May 26, 2020 at 12:57 am

    How does it work? Will editors accept anyone’s pitch?

    Does the writer have to be a regular contributor to the magazine?

  • Fiction Fangirl

    May 26, 2020 at 1:01 am

    Thanks Leiba!  But what happens if serial writers run into plot issues?  They just forge ahead and try to make it work?  How is it possible to pull off that stunt with historical fiction serials?

  • Esther Kurtz

    May 26, 2020 at 1:25 am

    HappiWriter – anyone can pitch, but I’d assume they’re more likely to work with a writer they know. Serials are lined up and planned in the magazine schedule way in advance. But there are gaps sometimes, and you’ll get last minute mini-serials.

    Worth a shot.

    Fiction Fangirl: That’s what editors are for. They see all your plot holes and call you out on them, and then help you out of the pit. They’re not doing research for you though. There you’re on your own.

  • Fiction Fangirl

    May 26, 2020 at 1:29 am

    So a serial writer must prepare to have their story directed by the editor, right?


  • Esther Kurtz

    May 26, 2020 at 1:33 am

    I don’t know if I’d use the word directed, but input yes, executive input – sometimes.

  • HappiWriter

    May 26, 2020 at 2:28 am

    So how do you do it? You email: Hi my name is xyz. I have an idea for you… 😉 ??

    What’s the accepted procedure?

    My real question is about fiction writing in general. Most magazines don’t feature so many fiction stories. Where’s the best bet to get published?


  • Esther Kurtz

    May 26, 2020 at 2:52 am

    If you’re blind pitching. Introduce yourself, give credentials if you have any – and sell as hard as you can. Because honestly – I think it’s long long shot, but there’s no risk in trying, so why not.

    Family First has a spot for fiction each week, though sometimes it’s a true story in a short story format. And there’s always the yuntiff supplements the big three all put out.

  • Fiction Fangirl

    May 26, 2020 at 9:44 pm

    Thanks, Leiba.  Executive input it is 🙂  I guess this question isn’t specifically geared for serial writing but how do you deal with being told to revamp your entire piece?  Is this a normal occurrence?

  • Esther Kurtz

    May 27, 2020 at 2:15 am

    I’m not a writer who’s married to her words, or ideas really. I always open to learn, and gain perspective and grow as a writer. I think when I first started, I was a lot more protective of my ideas, the more I write though, I know that ideas are just one factor in writing, the actual writing itself makes a big difference (not a shocker). Take two writers, give them the same material and goal and you’ll get wildly different pieces – so that’s how I feel about incorporating new ideas into something I’m conceiving, or have already written.

    Now, taking feedback is another story. If you can’t accept feedback/critique then you’ll never grow. But then again, saying it hurts is like saying labor is just a bad stomach ache. And some people are better than others at giving it, there’s that as well. Realize though that anyone who is bothering to actually give you feedback cares, otherwise they’d just say “really nice” or “interesting”, it’s too easy to beg off that if someone is saying something it’s probably coming from a good place.

    Another thing about feedback is who is giving it, your mother, sister, bff, writing partner, editor? Do they know enough about writing to give proper feedback? Keep that in mind.

    And to your last question, is this a normal occurrence. Is it normal – totally. But the less it happens the happier I am.

    Realize again that if someone is bothering to tell you to revise/edit it’s because you’re worth it, otherwise it’s much easier to just reject.

  • Fiction Fangirl

    June 1, 2020 at 11:45 pm

    I appreciate you sharing your mindest on critique/rejection/and writing in general.  Your candid wisdom is refreshing.  Hope I’ll be able to adapt your kind of outlook when writing.

  • Jane Whittier

    June 2, 2020 at 6:36 am

    Dear Fiction Fangirl,

    The one time I did serial writing, it started from a finished manuscript which I had failed to place with any publisher.  I pitched it as a  serial without much hope, and by some miracle, it was accepted.  However, though the editor thought that the end was full of excitement, she also thought that the beginning was flat.  So I ended up inventing a third subplot to satisfy the editor.  Cutting the novel into small pieces also meant writing extra to round the episodes out, and sometimes I was just keeping ahead of the deadline.


    Stay well,

    Jane Whittier

  • riva pomerantz

    June 2, 2020 at 9:46 am

    Love this thread and I’m intentionally lurking here to see what wisdom other people can share, although of course I can never resist Fiction Fangirl for long! 🙂

    I will divulge my terrible little secret here, which I am not proud of, but which works for me.

    I write my serials week by week.

    I never know my endings at the beginning.

    I write my plot by the seat of my, um, skirts.

    I am every editor’s nightmare!!!!! 🙂

    And yet, baruch Hashem, it works for me. It’s in-line with my personality and my kochos. Not to say it isn’t stressful, and that there aren’t nights where I’m already past deadline and I’m praying for a miracle because I have no clue what to write. Not to say I don’t get myself into some fine, little messes because I locked myself out of or into a plotline and now what?!

    But I like to live dangerously! Heh, heh, heh (Okay, it’s trying to be an evil laugh :-)).

    Do I recommend this approach? Yes and no. Yes, if it works for you. No, if it doesn’t.

    Oh–editors. I am blessed with a fabulous editor and we get along famously, b”H. She is willing to work with me and help me out when I’m stuck, so I am truly blessed. If I have a plotline that she doesn’t like, we talk it out. I’m a bit obstinate, I have to say :-), but she’s very indulgent and thank goodness my hair-brained ideas usually work out well (which is why she can afford to be indulgent, I guess!).

    So there you go, my friends. Put THAT in your serial bowl and digest it! 🙂

  • Fiction Fangirl

    June 2, 2020 at 1:21 pm


    *Drops spoon of cereal*

    *Bowl flips over*

    No kidding!…

    (emits low whistle)

    Gee, that’s is utterly….


    Man, Riva.  Woah.  Wow.  Can’t even string a coherent sentence here.

    I woulda never known you pansted (skirted?) your serials!  The intricate subplots!  Characters!  How. Does. Everything. End. Up. Falling. Into. Place?

    (Mini fangirl-freakout moment)

    You’re a mastermind, that’s all I can conclude.  Had I have to churn out a serial chapter every week I would be crying over spilled milk.  Like oceans of milk.  Drowning in it, actually.  Also, tearing out my hair.

    I shall retreat now and wrap up my fangirling freakout.  Consider yourself having been asked for an autograph, signed copy of Enough, and a –

    *Snaps selfie*

    Cool.  That’s an awesome picture.

    • riva pomerantz

      June 2, 2020 at 9:52 pm

      Lovin’ it, FF! 🙂 But I cannot take the credit. I just show up. Hashem does this for me. I don’t even totally understand how, but I’m very grateful and humbled by the process.

  • Brocha

    June 2, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    Fiction Fangirl, you rock

  • Fiction Fangirl

    June 2, 2020 at 3:01 pm

    *Takes a bow*

    Thank you, Brocha.  You’re a rockstar yourself, ma’am.  If I’ll nitpick myself I’ll say argh why the linking verb after a contraction but since I’m human and Grammarly failed on me, I’ll leave the grammatical error where it’s at.  Total unrockstar-y to my critical eye *good grief the thorn!  How thee eyes burn*

    And Jane, thank you for sharing your experience and take on serials.  I’m sorry your publisher turned you down but I sure am glad your story got to shine someplace else.  I love the piece you posted recently, but am having technical difficulty posting and responding on the public critique forum *subtle glance at Riva and her programmer*

    • riva pomerantz

      June 2, 2020 at 9:54 pm

      And no subtle glances, please, not from FF or from any of my other valued members. If you are having any trouble, whether it’s with posting or any part of the site, PLEASE email me right away. You can click on the blue question mark or hit Contact on the top menu bar and tell me about it. I want this experience on Masterpiece to be AMAZING!! B’ezrat Hashem!

  • Fiction Fangirl

    June 2, 2020 at 10:10 pm

    Masterpiece IS amazing, no doubt ’bout that.  Sorry ’bout the glance there-  I contacted you ’bout the technical error.  Folks, learn from my mistake:  If ya run into technical difficulties, hit the blue question mark icon and presto!  Magic happens.  Can either appear via a form of pull-bunny-outta-hat trick or whichever wizardry you desire.

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