Great Expectations by Charles Dickens was published a few chapters at a time. By the time he got to the end, he’d already printed the first chapters in serial form in his own magazine (can we say self-published?). That was one way to discipline yourself as a writer and keep from introducing story lines that meant going back to earlier chapters and changing things so they matched. Too late. Those chapters had already been published.
Gosh, I wonder if Dicken’s wrote from an outline. He knew how it was going to end and he had already gone down all the blind alleys of his plot.
Stephen King serialized The Green Mile, and now you see and hear authors serializing their novels on podcast.
Which makes me wonder how, with all the changes brought on by self-publishing social media, some elements of writing and publishing will remain the same, and others will change.
Before I wrap this up, take a look at a recent blog post by Nathan Bransford, formerly a literary agent with Curtis Brown Ltd. and now the social media manager at CNET. He is also a published YA author. Good thoughts about our goal of cutting writing to the bare essentials and whether we go too far. Bransford says all the things I wish I could have said first.
Also, since we mentioned Dickens, if you can get hold of the updated film version of Great Expectations (starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Ethan Hawke and Robert Deniro) you will not be disappointed. It does not follow the original story, but it is a good movie.