For the last year or so I’ve been playing with a new (for me) format: a short-form serial, an ongoing story written in scenes of 300-600 words each. This type of serial novel has been around at least since Charles Dickens was paid by the word for his stories in the newspapers.
Serials like Pine Street give us a chance to follow a story gently, one scene at a time. You can dip in, see what the characters are up to, and move on. Pine Street tells the interweaving stories of a group of quirky, silly, and (we hope) interesting people in a small town somewhere near you, wherever you are, if you’re in the western part of the United States, anyway. Our main character is Franny, a big-city transplant, recovering from divorce and navigating a mid-life reboot. She’s surrounded by people who might become new friends, and maybe one or two poised to be new rivals.
And part of the fun will be knowing the story isn’t finished. I plan to write as we go along. I’ll have a few scenes “banked” to build momentum, and as readers engage with them, their responses will help guide the story forward. (They? I mean you! I hope you’ll all read along, and share your ideas, reactions, notions, etc.)
Much in the spirit of Alexander McCall Smith’s serials based in Edinburgh and London, Pine Street provides a window into small town life. Unlike my novel-length works, Pine Street is solidly in the real world. No aliens or angels. At least not so far – it’s not a finished product. Who knows what might happen?
I’ll release the first twelve scenes here on this blog starting December 25, adding one every day for twelve days. Will there be turtle doves, partridges, pear trees, or golden rings? Will ladies dance, lords a-leap, or swans a-swim? You’ll have to tune in to find out!