Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The New Serial Novels

I just finished a decent YA book called No Safety in Numbers by Dayna Lorentz.
I liked the book, the characters were interesting, but in my opinion this book is not a novel. There is no resolution. The story just cuts off. There is an intro to the sequel at the end of the book. It’s a serial.
Now, I don’t have a problem with serials. I like books. I know serials were popular in the Victorian era and that they’ve made a comeback with e-publishing. I’ve read some serial e-books and really enjoyed them, but I paid a ‘serial price’. I bought No Safety in Numbers from a bricks and mortar bookstore and paid the bricks and mortar price. Shouldn’t I get a whole novel for that price?
I’m not criticizing the author here. Unless they self-publish, authors have little to no say in the pricing of their work.
And I’m not trashing series (as opposed to serials). I love hanging out with the same characters from one story to another. But that’s the difference. With a series, I get a full novel and then another awesome full novel with the same characters doing different things.
I wouldn’t complain, except that this trend toward serials seems to be picking up steam. I know publishers are scrambling to make a profit in this changing industry, but as a consumer, I’d appreciate a heads up when I’m buying a serial. I did notice that Penguin put a picture of the cover of book two for No Safety in Numbers on the back of the book with the caveat, The Suspense Continues in the Sequel: So why not move this to the front of the book? Better yet, why not slap a big red SERIAL across the top right-hand corner? If publishers want to drive readers like me to the Big 6 publishers, a little honesty will go a long way.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Joys of Scrivener

Last week I started playing around with Scrivener. For those of you who don't know, Scrivener is a word processing program "designed for authors." While there is a definite learning curve, I think it might be a great program. I'll have to continue playing around with it and learn it before I can say for sure.

Here are some things I already love about the program:
  • The index cards - these are virtual index cards and Scrivener gives you so many different ways to use them. You can create character cards, scene cards, research notes. Really, the possibilities are endless.
  • The media option - you can use the index cards to store media information. For example, for character cards and setting cards, you can import inspiration photos! Even better....
  • The split screen - you can split your screen. I love the option of having a photo on one screen and the 'editor' or writing screen on another. You can look at the setting you're trying to create or look at the character you're describing and write away. After you input all the information on these cards, you can use...
  • The corkboard - Scrivener gives you three ways to look at the information you enter. One of these is the corkboard. This little tool is amazing! I'm in the early stages of learning this program and I haven't quite figured out how to do it, but once you enter all your scene cards, you can move them around on the corkboard. When you have them where you want them, click a little button that stores those scenes in that order in the text document. I can't think of an easier way to work out plot bunnies!
So, that's what I've learned so far! If you're an author and you struggle with organizing your novel, check it out. Go through the tutorial and check out the how-to videos on YouTube. Let me know what you think!