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David Doody: An Experiment in Web Serialization

July 15, 2009

forecast 42.jpgRecently, a contributor to Guernica emailed me expressing some concern. I am “fed up with the old model of submitting my work to corporate publishing houses,” Shya Scanlon wrote, “only to have them balk at the commercial prospects of literary, unorthodox fiction. So I’m trying another approach.” Well, that approach starts tomorrow when Scanlon’s “Forecast 42 Project” begins.

The approach to getting his novel Forecast into the world is an experiment in web serialization. Scanlon has brought on board 42 web sites–as he describes them, “a fine mixture of well-established literary journals, avid bloggers, and otherwise supportive literary-minded folk”–to publish Forecast in twice-weekly installments (Mondays and Thursdays). Beginning tomorrow with the journal Juked, Forecast will also be seen in 3:AM Magazine, Opium Magazine, and many others before it’s final installment on Monkeybicycle.

Forecast is a literary novel that uses elements of science fiction and noir to tell the story of Helen–a suburban house wife of a lying weatherman–and Mawell–a Civilian Surveillant paid by the government to watch Helen–in a world where the weather has gone berserk and electricity is made out of negative human emotion.

Working in publishing, and specifically online publishing, the idea of how best to reach an audience who has so much to look at, listen to, and read is constantly at the forefront of one’s mind. This is nothing new, I suppose, but given that online media is still relatively young there still exist huge opportunities for experimentation. It’s exciting to see people playing with ways to use the tools at their disposal when publishing online.

So, I’ll be watching Scanlon’s experiment closely. And there’s another aspect to Forecast 42 Project that I respect immensely. It is Scanlon’s hope “that if you aren’t familiar with [the participating online journals] already, you’ll explore their rich offerings long after this project has concluded.” As the founding editor of one online magazine and the blog editor of another, I’m a fan of any project that attempts to shine some light on 42 of these “literary-minded folk.”

To follow Scanlon’s Forecast 42 Project:

1) follow his Twitter posts, @shyascanlon

2) befriend him at Facebook.com/shya.scanlon

3) continue to check this page, which will be updated with links to each chapter as it goes live

4) each chapter will link back to the previous chapter, and forward to the next once it’s live, so I encourage you to use the participating sites themselves to navigate the novel. Click here for the full list of sites.

Photo: Courtesy of Matty Harper.

David Doody is the founding editor of InDigest Magazine and the Blog Editor at Guernica.

To read more blog entries from David Doody and others at GUERNICA click HERE .

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