When I was a kid, I used to pretend I was writing a TV show. Depending what age you asked me, I’d have a different sorta show ranging from a Star Wars-inspired show, a super hero show, a horror show, or, after spending one too many days home sick from school, a soap opera.
Yes, I used to watch soap operas.
There, I admitted it. All the guys in the room can point and laugh. The ladies, well, given the state of soaps today, you might be laughing, too.
I didn’t like soaps for the romance, the sleeping around, or betrayals. No, I watched for the adventure. Shows like Days of Our Lives, General Hospital, and my favorite, Santa Barbara, had some thrilling storylines. Murder, intrigue, mystery, and sometimes even supernatural (which was awesome when done well) stuff.
I’d always loved the serialized format — shows, comic books, or fiction with a jaw-dropping cliffhanger ending. But not many TV shows were doing that sorta thing back then. Except soaps.
MY OWN “SOAPS”
So, from 7th grade through high school, I used to fill spiral notebooks full of ongoing serials of my adventurous soap. It was awesome. It had an undercover cop, a billionaire evil dude, and all sorts of labyrinthine plot twists. It was awesome, even if I only showed a couple of of close friends.
These ongoing stories in my head were pretty much my only escape from a miserable, almost friendless existence. I loved thinking of cool new twists to throw into my heroes’ journeys. The only thing more exciting would’ve been if I was entertaining actual readers.
I wanted to show my stories to some more people, expand my readership if you will. But at the same time, I didn’t want to pass around some story that seemed like a soap opera on paper. I was already not the most masculine of guys. This would’ve put an even bigger target on my back.
Since I was also writing horror stories, I decided to try something new — add a serial element to my scary stuff.
And it was my first taste of having readers, even if it was just a few people digging the stuff I was writing. For a kid who tried to fly under the radar, and NOT stick out, this was a huge leap of faith to show other people (beyond my best friends) my writing.
And when they responded well, it was the most awesome feeling ever.
There was nothing more cooler than having people ask, “What’s gonna happen next?” or “Why did you end it like that?!”
For someone with few friends, little athletic ability, and no discernible talents that impressed anyone, this was nothing less than life changing. I was finally accepted (and appreciated) for something I did.
RESURRECTING THE SERIAL
After school, I kept writing, but I kept most of it to myself. I no longer had, or sought, an audience. And until 2005, when I get a job writing at a small newspaper, I thought I might not ever realize my dream of writing fiction.
Then, in 2008, I met my writing and business partner, Sean Platt, and we decided to try co-writing an old story idea I had in serial form (Available Darkness). Time constraints, the scope of the book, and the format (we tried blogging it) made serialization difficult and unnatural, though. So we scrapped the serial idea and just wrote the book (which came out in August.)
A few months ago, we got to talking about wanting to do something new for the Kindle audience. We knew we wanted to do a series, and had a few story seeds we’d been watering over the years. But then we had another idea.
What if we did a whole new series, from scratch, and in serial form?
Sean and I are huge fans of serialized drama. Our two favorite shows are LOST and The Wire, the gold standards by which all serialized drama should be judged.
What if we wrote our own serialized show? But in book form?
We’d write 100 page books (or “episodes” as we’re calling them), each of them with a killer cliffhanger ending. We’d start with a cool premise — what would happen if everyone else on the planet vanished all at once? Not a rapture “Left Behind” sort of book (which I’d never read), but something altogether different.
The format seemed PERFECTLY built for Amazon, and as far as I know, nobody else is doing this sort of thing on this sort of release schedule (though I could be wrong.)
Sean and I began to plan, plot, and hatch our schemes of six-episode seasons. Episodes would be published every three weeks at Amazon.
We kicked off with the first episode of Yesterday’s Gone a few weeks ago. And now, we’re thrilled to announce Episode Two.
If you like serialized shows, serialized books like Stephen King’s The Green Mile, or ever stayed home sick from school just to catch an episode of your favorite soap, I’d love you to check out Yesterday’s Gone. It is a character-driven series with tons of thrills, chills, and mysteries to unravel. And we’re aiming to make each ending a cliffhanger worthy of our favorite shows.
You can buy current season episodes for .99 cents at Amazon or at Smashwords (where you can download it in just about any format for any type of reader you have.) We’ll have versions available at other retailers such as Barnes and Noble and Apple soon.
So please download a sample today, and if you like it, buy it. If you love it, please leave a review where you bought it, review it on your blog, mention it on Facebook or Twitter, or tell a friend. Just like TV shows need viewers to survive, we need readers to check us out.
The more people we can get reading, the more time we can invest in bringing this series to life. With a bit of luck and support, maybe we’ll last several seasons! Or who knows, perhaps it will become a proper TV show?
Click any of the links below:
Yesterday’s Gone Episode 1 at Smashwords (2 is coming to Smashwords later this week)