I’ve blogged about blovels before since I think they’re intriguing and, let’s face it, a brilliant idea! Serving up a novel in chunks was good enough for Charles Dickens so I think it should be good enough for the rest of us.

I was interested to stumble across a few vaguely official definitions of a blovel. One at http://friendfeed.com/blovelspot suggests 40 or so chapters of 1,000 characters each. That seems too short to me. Elsewhere 40 or so chapters of 500-1000 words are suggested which I would tend to agree with, which would give you a decent sized novella at the end of it. You post a chapter at a time, at least one a week, but no more than one a day.

Other important aspects to take into account are:

Structure: have a beginning (approx first 10 chapters), a crisis (chapters 11-30) and a resolution (31-40).

Narrator: go for the first person, but you can hop between characters to give their viewpoints of a situation.

Try and end each chapter with a cliffhanger.

So, are you inspired? Here are some blovels currently out there that are worth a look.

1. Something Fishy by Rorie Stevens

Entertaining mystery-romance, with some fishing thrown in. But you don’t need to be an angler to enjoy this well written story.

2. Land of Kuro by Mykall: Asian dystopian fantasy

3. Broken Vow: Widowmaker’s Return by R A Evans: the author’s first go at fantasy

4. Hourglass by I’m not sure! Science-fiction

5. Before The Dead (B4TD) is: “a novel project between two authors (B and K). We are going to try to bring to you a story of adventure, terror, and horror. We hope to update every month or so.”

6. The Ladiez and their Confessions by Quiyada: Follow India, Sasha, Hillary and Jazmine, “unedited and uncensored”.

 

You probably know by now that I like blovels and serials. I’ve written several posts about this interesting type of fiction. I’m sure we see a lot more coming out in 2012.

First a few words about a new blovel on the block. Check out http://www.somethingfishy.fr for what’s shaping up to be a fun novel by Rorie Stevens, with a spot of fishing thrown in, and we’re promised some spicy action is to come. Do give it a look.

Here are three more sites with serials worth knowing about. First up Fiction Express. This describes itself as ‘interactive e-fiction for tweens, teens and young adults where you control the plot through a weekly vote’. You sign up to the site and then, for just 39p, you read a chapter of the work of your choice, vote on what happens next, and then the author writes it given the majority decision.

Eat your Serial: I love this one! It’s a a new, free website that features ‘up and coming writers and their stories in all genres, both fiction and nonfiction.   The idea is simple –  Monday through Friday there will be five unique stories.  Come back the following week, and you get a new chapter, and so on and so forth.’ There are some good stories currently up there.

Last but not least, there’s Discoverlit. Start out on this page to find out what it’s all about. It describes itself as being for readers who want ‘an engaging experience in literature that fits into a mobile lifestyle’. However, it’s also for writers and publishers of poetry, short stories, serials or any other type of short-form literature. There’s a small charge to read the serials there.

Out with the old, in with the new – give this new form of fiction a whirl. I think you’ll enjoy it.

 

I’m always interested when I come across novel approaches by authors to, well, novel writing! I’ve been very impressed by Stu Noss and Misty Provencher and their blovels (novels presented chapter by chapter on blogs), and by Aden Moss’s Twitter fiction. A Tweet alerted me to another interesting project underway. It read: “Pledge as little as $1 to help an awesome indie horror author publish his next book & get an advance e-copy! http://kck.st/vCp5Ed #RT”

I had to check this out. The website link takes you here.

Gabriel Beyers is planning to self-publish a collection of short stories entitled Contemplations of Dinner and a paranormal thriller novel Predatory Animals. He reckons he’ll need $3,500 to fund this, and needs to get this amount by 17 December. Gabriel has put a lot of thought into this. There is a list of what benefits you’ll get according to how much you pledge. For example, if you pledge $5 then you get an advance digital copy of Predatory Animals and Gabriel’s very sincere thanks. Pledge $100 and you’ll receive a hard cover copy of the book, as well the advance digital copy, a digital copy of another of Gabriel’s books, a signed poster featuring the book’s cover art, a signed printout of the first draft of the book and a mention in the book’s dedications. If you pledge $250 then you also get the chance to name a character in the story! All very innovative and plucky. I offered to contribute to the project by doing the editing for Gabriel, since I’m so impressed with this venture and I’m keen to get ebook-ed.it properly up and running, but he has someone already lined up. Maybe next time.

What do you think of this idea? Will it work? Will it catch on? It’s ingenious so I really hope it proves to be a winner for Gabriel.

I mentioned blovels in a previous post. These are novels that are being serialised on people’s blogs. Stu Noss’s was the first I came across, and I’ve since discovered another great one here. Misty Provencher is presenting her blovel Cornerstone on her website a chapter at a time.

I love Misty’s attitude. She explains she decided to become a blovellist after losing her literary agent, failing to find another one who had the same vision as she did, and generally becoming frustrated at not being read. She says:  “But I have a million books in me and I’m tired of having so many barriers between us. I’m just looking for those folks who are my people and who will get into the book and find some joy in it. I hope it brings you that. If it does, please let me know. Tell others I’m here.”

It’s all about the writing for Misty and I totally agree with her point of view. I’ve hit my head against brick walls enough times during my authoring career and I just want my books to be read too. That’s partly why I’m putting so many up for free on Smashwords at the moment. And Misty, my house is never clean either!

A third blovel, very new, is here. I shall be following this one too. And am I tempted to do a blovel? Yes, I am, so watch this space.

Almost blovels are ficlogs, or fictional blogs. I’ve heard about these but haven’t found a good example of one. Whenever I do a search on the Net, the search engine is convinced I want clogs and isn’t terribly helpful!

Now, as well as novels on blogs, there are novels on Twitter. Seriously. Here’s a nice article about it. Writing such a story is really a lesson in learning what to leave out. It would certainly be a very valuable exercise in writing concisely to produce such a novel – Twovel, perhaps? A Twovelist writing in this way is Aden Moss. And there’s a book out there called The History of Rock and Roll in 99 tweets  Ebook By Andy Szpuk  but isn’t in Kindle format at the moment. I’m ignoring epub for a while since Barnes and Noble wouldn’t sell me a Nook Book the other day because I don’t live in the US. Crazy.

Books are serialised on Kindle too. The most famous example is Sean Platt and David Wright’s Yesterday’s Gone. As Platt says, “serialized fiction has been around since Dickens. It just means taking a single storyline and breaking it into several parts to fuel anticipation between episodes.” Other authors are doing this too, notably Roz Morris. But there are pros and cons. We’re the instant gratification generation and don’t want to be kept waiting. A lot of readers want all the content at the same time and don’t want to have to wait a week or a month till the next episode. However, there are plenty of fans of serialised works out there too.

So, the modern inventions of blogs and Twitter might be leading to a return of serialisation in fiction. It will be interesting to see how this all develops.