Now everyone knows that good writing never goes out of style. And the recent resurgence of classic writing styles and techniques would be a great example of this.

It seems that in all sorts of books these days you encounter the kind of writing that you used to only find in books like Little Women or Anne of Green Gables. I am of course referring to the return of episodic children’s fiction. You know the kinds of books I’m talking about — the ones where each chapter has its own plot structure as part of the overall plot. In these chapters the protagonist has his/her own adventure that can also act as its own stand-alone story. Sometimes the book has multiple protagonists and different chapters are devoted to his/her own individual adventures separate from the group.

Now in some ways this type of book is harder to write than the standard novel. There is the overall story arc for the book, but each episode has its own arc. And just like the overall plot, these subplots have to be satisfactorily concluded. If you have the episodes running concurrently, this can leave you with a lot of loose ends to type up in the end.

On the other hand, this kind of book can be great for those people who like to write in bursts. Each episode should generally be able to stand alone. Yes, it’s part of the overall plot, but it also is complete on its own. So, the different episodes can be written at different times. In fact they can even be written as short stories. During the revision stage the stories (if they are not to different or separate in time) can be combined into an overall plot.

And so that leads us to the writing prompt for the week:
Write a 500-1000 word chapter that could be a stand alone excerpt. (In other words something that works both as a short story and as a chapter.)

Remember if you choose to participate, post your chapter directly on the site at

© Copyright 2006-2011 Madeline Smoot. All rights reserved.
May be excerpted and duplicated for educational purposes.
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