Tag Archives: Long and short fiction

Series and serials

It seems to me that one of the strengths of the Friday Fictioneers group is its flexibility. The rules are there (use the picture, stick to 100 words, read other posts), but some people write poems, others prose. Some are religious about the 100 word limit (hand up!) while others use it as a guideline. It took me a long time to embrace Rochelle’s suggestion to take the picture as “Inspiration not Illustration” but now it’s my motto (although I never seem to get as far from it as she manages; I guess my muse is still stuck within the proverbial box!).

One issue that seems to be exercising the group right now is whether the stories should stand alone or be part of a serial. Personally, I prefer to write individual pieces. There are two reasons for this.

1)      I hate to constrain my writing. Once I start, I infinitely prefer to just let things flow, so I wouldn’t like the constraint of a weekly prompt to incorporate.

2)      I write enough long fiction; I use FF (and the other prompts I follow) to stretch my writing imagination with different settings, narrators and plots.

I sometimes break my own rules. I have a few characters whose stories I don’t feel I’ve told yet. So occasionally, where a prompt reminds me of them, I come back to them. There’s no order or unity to the pieces – they just come from the same universe. They are, if you like, a series rather than a serialisation.

Others choose their own path. The posts from Craig Townsley’s “Owl and Racoon” series are some of my favourite FF stories, while I can’t deny that Joe Owens’ serialised murder mystery had me clicking back each week to see who got accused next.

Ultimately, unless our Great Leader starts imposing restrictions, I think it’s a case of “whatever works for you”. If the writing’s good, it’s good either way around and maybe if the aim is to build up a following, people (outside the FF circle) are more likely to come back for the next stage of a story.

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