Friday, May 3, 2013
Earlier this week I finished serializing--in forty-nine installments--my YA novel The Papers of Victoria Frankenstein--Packet One: I Discover Who I Am. This is a book that I originally wrote back in 1998, not long after I retired from the Aurora City Schools, but when I finished, I just never did anything with it. It sat on a shelf and pouted. By that time--1998--I was fully in the thrall of Mary Shelley and was spending all day every day--seven days a week--working on her story: reading everything she wrote, everything her parents wrote, her husband, her friends. It was madness. I wrote a YA biography of her, could not get a couple of publishers sufficiently interested in it, so I put it on the shelf, too, and moved on to Mr. Poe.
Same story with him. Massive reading, traveling, writing a YA volume, no initial luck, quitting. (Did you ever notice how easy quitting is?)
But then ... here came Kindle Direct Publishing, so I promptly revised those earlier books and uploaded them to Amazon, from whom I receive a nice little check each month. (I emphasize both nice and little: It's nice to have some dessert at the end of the month's meal; it's better to have only a little.) But I don't really care. Those books are now "out there" in cyberspace; people can read them; they're no longer on my shelf (and floor, if we must be honest).
Right now I'm in the process of revising Victoria a little (I noticed some problems and inconsistencies in the serialization), and as soon as I've finished doing that--a week or two?--I'll upload the book to Kindle Direct Publishing, and all you Kindle owners out there can buy it and thereby sweeten my pension with some grains of sugar!
It was fun to do, serializing. For one thing, on M-W-F, I didn't have to think of a topic to write about. All I had to do was cut-and-paste and click "publish" on Blogspot. Convenient. But in another way, serializing helped me see the structure of the thing a little more clearly. I had to try to find good places to break off each day--and these were not always uniform, or convenient. It made me think more about pacing--and surprise.
Years ago, I started a sequel to Victoria, and I'm going to go back to it pretty soon. (Those of you who read Victoria know that I left some things hanging at the end.) But, first, I want to finish my memoir about chasing Mary Shelley all over the place for a decade. I'm calling it Frankenstein Sundae, and I want to finish it this summer.
I don't know if anyone at all read the installments of Victoria. (Well, Joyce did.) And I actually don't really care. I did it because I thought it would be fun. And it was.