As part of our new Printers Row Journal, Tribune culture critic and author Julia Keller has been contributing a serial mystery. This Sunday will bring Part 4.
Associate Managing Editor / Entertainment Geoff Brown asked her about the process. Here's Julia's response:
"Is it easy? No. Is it challenging and stimulating? You bet. Writing a six-part serial novel for the new Printers Row Journal is grueling -- and gobs of fun. Each installment is 1,200 words, and each has to end on a cliffhanger: A shot rang out, a pirate ship appears on the horizon, etc.
"That serial, "Mysterious City," now running in Printers Row Journal, is proof that we're willing to do new and different things. It was very hard to tailor each episode so that it would end with a cliffhanger. And because the chapters are so short, compression had to be the order of the day. Characterization admittedly took a back seat to plot. Frankly, this kind of writing felt more like sculpting than writing. My little editing hammer went tick, tick, tick, shaving words out of sentences and clearing out adjectival clutter.
"My hope is that "Mysterious City" becomes the general title for other Tribune writers' serial fiction efforts -- rather like"The Twilight Zone"presented distinct stories under its umbrella -- in future PRJ issues.
"And in the meantime, here's a hint: The butler didn't do it."
You can check it out -- for now – on the e-edition link at chicagotribune.com/printersrow. Look for “serial fiction” in the menu. Part Four runs on Sunday.
JOIN US FOR A FREE MEETUP: Author Adam Levin is signing his new book, "Hot Pink," at The Book Cellar on Wednesday, March 21. Join members of Printers Row at 6 p.m. next door at the Chicago Brauhaus, 4732 N. Lincoln Ave., to meet, talk, and walk next door together. Here's the event link on Facebook with more details.
-- James Janega
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