6 Elements a Successful Serial Novel Needs
a.k.a. the Dickens formula
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When people write about serialization, they often state that writers like Charles Dickens and (usually) Alexandre Dumas “serialized their novels” in newspapers and magazines. No, Dumas and others had their novels serialized; Dickens actually did the serializing.
Dickens was as much a publisher and an editor as a writer. The tremendous success of his serializations resulted from his ability to play all three roles simultaneously.
Over his lifetime, he managed three weekly magazines (note: weekly magazines—that’s a lot of work to do in while churning out 200,000-plus-word novels). Each magazine carried articles, satire, and fiction, and occasionally Dickens’s own novels:
Master Humphrey’s Clock (1840-1841)—Pickwick Papers, The Old…