The Prize In My Serial
It is just past noon on Saturday, May 10, 1941. You have waited almost two and a half years for him to return. The line can only be described as organized chaos and you dance, impatiently, from one foot to the other waiting for it to move. You are surrounded by equally impatient school mates, each of you holding your quarter in your fist. The girl in the ticket booth—finally—announces that she is ready to take your money. You are caught up in the hectic rush to plop down your quarter, get your ticket, and find the best seat in the house.
Inside, you scramble for a seat and add your voice to the cacophony that already exists. After a noisy eternity, the lights begin to dim. From the balcony, a light flickers to life and an image appears on the screen…a woman on a pedestal, bearing a torch, and draped in the American flag. Behind her, the word “COLUMBIA” fills the screen. As the music fills the theater, the image fades and is replaced by a drawing of a spider behind the words THE SPIDER RETURNS. Warren Hull emerges from the shadows wearing the costume of the lead character.
And the theater erupts in cheers.
Several minutes later, Warren Hull you see Warren Hull, unconscious on an airplane that has just been sabotaged and abandoned by the pilot. The announcer begins questioning you on what will happen next, but what you really want to know is will the Spider survive. You have a week full of chores ahead of you, but you will do them gladly so you can earn the quarter you will need to find out what happened in the next exciting chapter.
If you want to learn how to keep your readers, well, reading chapter after chapter, study the old movie serials. The writers only had so much time to tell their story each week and pacing was important. Sometimes they succeeded, sometimes they didn’t, but they all left you with a cliffhanger that kept you coming back for more. You can find many of these serials online, and if you don’t mind a little silliness, I would suggest you check a few of them out.
Just thought I would jot this down.