I wrote a serial novella for mailing list subscribers last year, The Rose King, and gave it away–a couple of chapters a month–until it ran its course. Then I put it up for sale. I plan on doing this again with a Dark Pines Pride bonus story (starting in January!!!) so I wanted to share my process here.
1) The idea has to sound fun from the start. When a Wild Homecoming reviewer mentioned wanting to see more of Becca, Summer’s best friend, I was immediately intrigued. Like, Becca is a widow, and although she’s happily single, maybe she could use a shifter hottie in her life, too.
2) While the idea is to give the story to readers as it’s ready, I have to write the whole thing all at once, usually in two to three weeks. Otherwise, it’s too hard to remember the tone and feeling of the story–especially character voices.
3) I revise the entire novella and make sure things are consistent. Do I call the hero by an old hero’s name? (That’s totally happened in this Dark Pines bonus story. I keep calling Nick, this new hero, “Jackson”–the hero from Wild Homecoming.) Are appearances consistent? Does she drop her phone down a well, only to have it in her hand five minutes later?
4) After my once-over, it’s not ready for readers yet! Showing it to people now would be like going to the store without any pants on. Freeing, yes, but…a bit overexposed. I’ll let the story sit for a couple or three weeks so I can come at the first chapters with fresh eyes.
5) I’ll go through the first couple of chapters and self-edit for things like grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Then I’ll put those chapters on a hidden page online and send the link out with my January newsletter!
So, that’s pretty much what I do to get it ready for the newsletter serialization! I’m really excited about sharing this story, though. Becca is awesome, and Nick–well, I’m still figuring Nick out.
Even though I can’t share much yet, an unedited snippet should be okay. Instead of going to the store without pants, it’s more like going without a bra. Probably nobody will really notice or pay attention, although I know something’s missing. So, below is the very beginning of the meet cute between Becca, the heroine, and Nick (NOT JACKSON), the hero. Head’s up, these characters swear, so if f-bombs offend you, stop here. 🙂
Suddenly, a dog streaked across the road. Becca pushed on the brakes, determined not to panic. She’d nearly driven into the mountain when she was a teenager while swerving for a squirrel—that had taught her an important lesson.
This dog was huge, and even braking for it wasn’t enough. Becca shrieked. The dog glanced off the hood of her car and disappeared.
“Oh fuck, oh fuck. I hit a dog.” She gripped the steering wheel and stopped the car. The dog was nowhere in sight, not slumped on the side of the road in a heap like she’d expected. She took deep breaths. Had it really been a dog? What if it was a deer? Or a coyote, or wolf?
Getting out of the car and putting herself near an injured wild animal was a terrible idea.
But if that was someone’s pet…could she live with herself, not knowing?
She could call the Huntwood police. She knew a few people at the station and they might make fun of her, but whatever. Better than leaving someone’s injured pet on the side of the road.
Where was the poor thing? Had she not really hit it? No, that had been a definite thump as it bounced off her car. She cringed, replaying it in her head.
Maybe it hadn’t been hurt that bad, and it had run off to lick its wounds in peace.
Or maybe even now it was limping home and it would be picked off by one of the mountain lions that roamed the area.
She had to call someone. Grabbing her purse from the passenger seat, she searched for her phone. But her phone was nowhere in her purse, and nowhere on the seats or the floor of her car. She must have left it at the bar in Tacoma. She bit back a curse.
Just then, a hand slapped up against the outside of the passenger window. She shrieked, dropped her purse, and started screaming.
The hand disappeared and she heard someone say, “Calm the fuck down, lady, I just need a pair of pants and a ride into town.”
Oh hell no. She put the car in gear and started to drive.
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