Where have all the serials gone? Michael Santino


Where have all the serials gone? by Michael Santino

My journey as an author began around Christmas of 2020. It’s still a part-time job for me, and one of the perks of my day job is that we shut down between Christmas Eve and New Years’. I started looking for a good new serial TV show to watch on Netflix but was having trouble finding what I wanted. I thought about it a little and came up with an idea for the kind of show I wanted to get hooked on, but realized it wasn’t there, and on a whim, I decided to write it myself.

A lot of avid readers don’t like TV much, but I must admit that I do. I feel like we’re in a golden age of television at the moment and have found that I strongly prefer a good serial to a good movie. There’s just so much more depth that can be achieved over the course of a few seasons. As I was writing my novel, it struck me, why don’t people write books in that same format? I know there are series out there, lots of series. But I can’t really find many serials in the way I think of them: short installments where some episodes end in closure and some with cliffhangers, and a wider cast of characters cycle in and out season to season.

And with that, my serial, The Frontline, was born.

I refer to each installment which is designed to be read in just a couple of hours, as “episodes,” and every 6-8 episodes are packaged together as a “season” (only the first seven episodes and first season are available, so far). I know it’s weird and jarring to see that in the written word these days, and it’s too soon to tell whether it’s that way for a reason, but here’s what I was thinking: there’s a ton of competition out there, and I wanted differentiation.

When the men and women at Ikea sat around a table and said, “Hey, we’re going to make people have to drive two hours to a giant maze-like warehouse, sell them Swedish meatballs, and make them assemble their own futons,” I’m sure a lot of investors balked. But it was just different and weird enough that they became the largest furniture retailer in the world.

I feel like writing this way gives me a ton of freedom to improvise along the way, and there is a lot of improvisation in the way I write. I generally know where I want to go, but getting there is always a surprise. Sometimes along the way, I get really excited about a subplot or character and can devote most of an entire episode to that one element while developing the larger plot a little bit to keep the iron in the fire.

Anyway, I’m curious what other people think about this format and whether I’m just a weirdo who likes to march to my own beat. You can contact me through my website at http://www.kolecounty.com. I’m still new enough as an author that I answer every email I get!

Written by Michael Santino

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2 Comments on “Where have all the serials gone? Michael Santino

  1. By all means, go ahead. Anyone using words like “freedom” and “improvise” have to be on some right track, for pete’s sake. What’s the worst thing that could happen — someone “write a bad note to your teacher”? You will learn much on the way, m’Man!

    Liked by 1 person

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