It was suggested that I try a longer form. So I first started writing my McSerial in 2016 and quickly gained confidence. I started with ‘Family Fictions ’ This is a strange story – and mixes fact and fiction into a something that I hope is a bit spooky without being scary and followed it with ‘To Die For’ which is a bit darker but also deals with first love. Landscape was important in both of these stories with both the Isle of Mull and the Galloway Forest Park being places I know and love. The third story didn’t come out quite how I planned it. ‘That Long Hot Summer’ got impacted upon by the Refugee Crisis and I struggled at times to be reflective as I mixed fact with fiction. However, I’m more than happy with the result of these three experiments in writing and having published my first collection of McSerialised stories in 2016 as Boy Meets Girl 3 - I’m going to do it all again for 2017.
This time I have the opportunity as part of the elusive Infinite Jigsaw Project, to upcycle, or should we say repurpose three stories, adapting them from stage to page. It might seem odd to take someone else’s stories and play around with them – but in a project where author ego is left at the door and collaborative creativity is all important, it’s an interesting challenge. The stories I’ve picked from Infinite Jigsaw’s creative archive are as follows (in no particular order) Running on Time (1994), Love is an Urban Myth (1999) And Men in White Suits (2001). They will probably go under the collective title Love Hurts 3
I’m not going to tell you what they are about nor can I be completely sure about when they’ll be ready for McSerialisation, but I find that a deadline helps so I’ve committed to the first one being scheduled for spring 2017.
I have found the serial form a really good one for me. I can write a chapter or episode at a time, in one sitting and before I know it, I have a whole story. I don’t have to sit down every day and I don’t have to stick with a story for months on end. But also, there’s a sense of pace, of moving the story on all the time which appeals to me. I’m not one of those people who like to pore over every word, making sure it’s ‘just right.’ I want to tell a story as quickly and efficiently as I can and then move on to the next one.
Like Goldilocks, I think writers often struggle to find the perfect fit – for me short stories are too short and too constraining and a full length novel needs the kind of time and attention I really don’t have and feels frankly overwhelming. For me, knowing that I’ve to tell a story in between nine and fifteen chapters seems to fit with my ability and patience (or lack of it). Of course I plan out the episodes in advance and I know where the story is going, so it’s just a question of keeping within the paramaters. That also means that I don’t ‘pad out’ my stories – only the important stuff gets in there. At least that’s how it seems to me.
I’m sure there are longer stories, and maybe one day I’ll try the longer format, but for the present I’m happy with my McSerial style. If you’ve never considered it before, why not give it a go for 2017 – there’s always an outlet at McStorytellers for keen McSerial writers.