Stories told in serial fashion are stories with chapters released on a regular basis, often weekly. Publishers began releasing serial fiction in the 1800s. The format really took off in the 1920s with cheap publishing options and penny magazines. Authors like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who penned the “Sherlock Holmes” short stories and novels, published in serial form.
Author Nora Edinger is using the internet to add a unique twist to this older technique. Her novel “Suspended Aggravation” is being released weekly on Weelunk.com, a website devoted to daily life in Wheeling, West Virginia. The romance story features locations in the north-central West Virginia community.
Edinger said she wrote the story as a novel and always intended for people to read it on paper, but the opportunity to publish it weekly through Weelunk, a Wheeling-centric website, came available and she jumped at the chance.
“I thought ‘this sounds like fun to me,’” she said. “Both the serial nature and the localization nature really appealed to me as a way of almost interacting with the community and in a fictional form. It feels like it is unfolding in real time in Wheeling.”
Rather than writing the story as she goes, the book is done. But as she prepares each weekly chapter to be posted online, she reviews and localizes it a bit more. Edinger also updates the story to stay in line with current events, as appropriate.
“We're trying to put together one month of releases at a time and I'm working with editors that we love and photographers that we love, who are looking at each chapter as it comes out,” she said. “We're deciding what photos that we want to use to illustrate and we're trying to sneak some local people in cameos either into the photos or into the story.”
She did caution, though, that she will never put fictional words into a real person's mouth.
“If we see something happening in the news that we know people will remember like the [Jennifer Lopez] halftime show at the Super Bowl or the potholes that opened up on I-70, we realized that's something that we could slip into the story,” she said.
Edinger explained that the story is a romance with an element of suspense to it. She said she attempted to keep it light and humorous.
“It's a love story. It's a story of hope,” she said. “I've lived in Wheeling for about 14 years now and about 25 years total in the state of West Virginia, and I've really watched this community in its early stages of reinvention. And I think it's kind of neat to have a story of hope that focuses on two young people during a time when the city seems to be experiencing a real resurgence of hope and reinventing itself.”
“Suspended Aggravation” is being released online, one chapter a week. It will continue through the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Follow “Suspended Aggravation” online or explore more Appalachian Author Interviews.