Sunday, 7 February 2010

Writing Serials

Excellent post here by Sue Moorcroft on writing serials for women's magazines. If you fancy writing something a bit longer, serials could be worth a try.

Edited 7/2/10 - Sue Houghton has added some words of wisdom re serial writing here.


Geraldine Ryan said...

I think it's always better to have more plot than less when writing a serial. You can always shed a character or a plot thread. I invariably write thinking, how on earth am I going to get all these scenes in before I run out of words? Then I have to cut like crazy. But it's the cutting that creates a pacy forward moving story. In 11000 or so words there's no room for rambling descriptions or clever, witty exchanges which don't move the story on. Be prepared to be ruthless when it comes to murdering your darlings. It will hurt but it's got to be done.

Dreamstate said...

Great timing for this post! I've just had a serial idea approved by Woman's Weekly so now I'm faced with the writing of it. I can use all the help I can get.

Incidentally, I used the plot generator for this story idea. So thank you, times two!

Old Kitty said...


Wow - thanks for the link (bookmarked!)and for the advice from Geraldine Ryan too. I was intrigued by your earlier post about Woman's Weekly wanting ideas for serials and I was very tempted to try, so these are great tips to arm myself with.

And Congratulations, Dreamstate for having a serial approved by Women's Weekly - good luck!!

And thank you again womagriter for being so helpful as always.

Take care


Quillers said...

I'm interested in what Sue says about making the pitch before writing the serial. I think I'd have to prove to myself that I could write a serial length story first.

Rena said...

Thanks, Womag. Such a helpful post and link for all aspiring serial writers.
I was especially pleased to read your comments, Geraldine. Your serials in Woman’s Weekly are always a pleasure.
I totally see what you mean about more plot and less waffle, and I can understand how packing in the scenes would then provide the scope for a really ruthless edit to slice away all that superfluous padding that inevitably creeps into a story.
Great advice, generously given and much appreciated. Thanks Geri.
And well done you, Dreamstate, for getting your serial idea accepted by WW. Hope you let us know how you get on with it.

Geraldine Ryan said...


Thanks very much for your kind comments. I've also left a comment over on Sue's post on serials, regarding WW's current requirements, if you fancy popping over there.

Dreamstate, good luck with the serial. Gaynor is a really lovely editor and you will learn a great deal about the craft from her.

Rena said...

Thanks Geraldine. I’ve just had another look at Sue’s brilliant post. Your insider information over there is invaluable. I’m now going off to ponder what they mean by crime-free mysteries. It would be a shame though if WW give up the cosy crime serials. They are so much fun to read as well as having a go at writing.

Geraldine Ryan said...

I doubt they'll give up on them completely, Rena. I think that everyone's been bumping people off willy-nilly and they must think it's time for a change. I'd like to have a go at romance, but I can only do it as a secondary thing rather than the main story. I just can't seem to care enough about lurve!

Nishant said...

these are great tips to arm myself with.

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