For many, August signals the end of summer. For us here in Florida, it’s just another month in a life of endless summer.
And yet, it’s such an interesting month. A lazy one. A long one. One in which you can get a lot of reading done.
I’m releasing the final three episodes of The Story Series, my five-part serial novel, this month. More bites of book candy, perfect for the beach or the pool or just lazing on the sofa under the a/c.
July marked the first two episodes of The Story Series. Tell Me a Story was the fairytale beginning of Emma and Caleb’s journey, and Tell Me a Desire continued along that theme. Like any new relationship, Emma and Caleb started in dreamland, enamored with each other, filled with lust and lovesickness.
It’s now August, and things are getting very real for Emma and Caleb.
Emma is tempted and tortured. Caleb acts out of duty but unfortunate circumstances arise. And Caleb’s brother Colin…well, let’s just say he has his own desires.
I’ll be up front about this: unlike the first two parts, episodes three and four end in cliffhangers. I know that some readers dislike cliffhangers. But as a writer, I happen to love writing in a serial format. It’s like an old-time newspaper story, but with sexytimes.
There’s something about a multi-part series, whether it’s television, a magazine, or a book, that is so satisfying. Both to write and read. It’s like a tease. The pleasurable anticipation of the next episode, the thrilling dilemma, the delicious sense of anticipation of what’s to come.
This is me, contemplating a cliffhanger:
Rest assured, I won’t make you, dear reader, wait long for a resolution.
Episode Five, Tell Me a Truth, releases Aug. 30. Everything’s available for pre-order.
I think The New Yorker described cliffhangers best in this article.
“Cliffhangers are the point when the audience decides to keep buying—when, as the cinema-studies scholar Scott Higgins puts it, “curiosity is converted into a commercial transaction.” They are sensational, in every sense of the word. Historically, there’s something suspect about a story told in this manner, the way it tugs the customer to the next ledge. Nobody likes needy.
But there is also something to celebrate about the cliffhanger, which makes visible the storyteller’s connection to his audience—like a bridge made out of lightning.
Primal and unashamedly manipulative, cliffhangers are the signature gambit of serial storytelling. They expose the intimacy between writer’s room and fan base, auteur and recapper—a relationship that can take seasons to develop, years marked by incidents of betrayal, contentment, and, occasionally, by a kind of ecstasy. That’s not despite but because cliffhangers are fake-outs.
They reveal that a story is artificial, then dare you to keep believing. If you trust the creator, you take that dare, and keep going.”
Please stick with The Story Series. I think you’ll be satisfied and entertained.
Be sure to check out my Facebook page, where I’m giving away lots of book-related goodies each week to celebrate the series.
And, an invitation: I’ll be in New York City from Aug. 11-16 for the Writer’s Digest Conference. Let me know if you’re there and would like to have coffee! I’d love to meet fellow writers and readers.