Saturday, May 4, 2013

Silverville Saga as Stand-Alone and Series

When we wrote the first Silverville novel, we intended the book as a stand-alone. We saw it as a one-off with a funny premise, and it never occurred to us to return.

But once the book found a home, the publisher wanted more along the same lines. In fact, he thought the ending begged for a sequel.

We didn’t agree.

We liked the ironic note we ended the (now first) book. And even though we’re currently developing the outline of the fourth in the series, we don’t think we’ll ever go back and clear up the little misunderstanding that closes the story of Little Greed Men. We like how readers find out more than any of the characters. We like how jokes are better when you don’t have to explain them.

Instead, we became intrigued with the place more than the characters (even as we declare and contend that characters are what make a good story – more on that in a moment). And that became the angle propelling us into subsequent visits to Silverville – a place where anything is possible.

Once we realized we’d constructed a setting that allows for unusually stretched-out suspensions of disbelief, we recognized that we needn’t fear writing the dreaded same-song-second-verse scenario so many serials suffer from.

At the same time, we both love good series. If a story hits the sweet spot, of course we want to go back. Everybody does. And it only takes a glance down the roster of latest releases promoted on Goodreads or Amazon – even the marquee outside the local cinema – to discover how popular and effective the series franchise has become at (re)capturing audience and building fan bases.

Our solution for giving our audiences a taste of the sweet spot without the redundancy was to bring new
characters with new stories to a place where anything is possible, where improbable coincidences guarantee chaos. The skinny: We treat Silverville as a kind of character who interacts with whatever cast and whatever storyline we concoct.

For Little Greed Men, a drifter stumbles into a (supposed) UFO scam; for All Plucked Up, out-of-town black marketeers encounter a curse and so much more; and for The Magicke Outhouse, a pushy and (yes) plucky librarian intern becomes side-tracked into a time-portal business. What none of them ever understand is how Silverville nudges them toward a Twilight Zone with a mind of its own.

In some ways, Silverville is like a funhouse, and so long as we find new rides and attractions – along with new, quirky character personalities willing to take the ride – we’ll keep plotting and returning.

We try to write each book as a stand-alone, so new fans don't have to read them in order. But it's a series now nevertheless. We hope readers find sweet spots that make future visits to worth the return.

And as long as Silverville remains impossible, it’s our favorite character.

Check out all the books in the Silverville Saga.