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The Episodic Novel

I have never been a big TV watcher. I still never watch TV shows on TV, but rather I watch shows on DVD, a season at a time (when I watch at all). Normally I keep myself too busy to invest much, but seeing as how I’ve been wrapped up in Black Belt Testing madness, by the end of the day my brainpower is spent and all I want to do is veg for an hour before crashing. So I’ve given in to an addiction to NCIS (I’m currently in Season 4).

Surprisingly, it’s got me thinking about my writing. Sam and I have been talking for awhile now about the episodic format. You don’t see it a ton these days. But serialized novels have been popular at certain times. You get a portion at a time, whether it’s chapter-length, or several chapters-worth. There’s a certain appeal to both of us in this format and style of writing.

It’s a little bit different than writing a series of short stories, which we’ve also discussed, in that there’s still an ongoing storyline, an overarching plot. But the story is certainly broken down into smaller pieces. It’s not the same as a chapter, which may or may not be self-contained, the way an “episode” must be. Think about TV shows. There are ongoing story lines, ongoing jokes, relationships, mysteries, etc. But each episode can stand alone.

Potentially, you could write a novel this way, in episodic, stand-alone chunks, that when put together, create a complete story. Or part of one. A “season,” if you will, which when put together with all the other seasons, would make a “series.”

Look out. You may start seeing some “episodes” appearing on our website!

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