Kindle Vella is now live! Amazon didn’t give us any forewarning, except to say, “Get ready, ’cause here it comes!” They said that for two months, so now that the time has finally arrived with a note in my inbox this morning, I’m excited and I hope you are too!
TIME BEING, a serialized story by Mollie Hunt
An elderly woman travels through time to significant points in her life, but things are not the same as she remembers them. Joined by a handsome young stranger and her childhood cat, the fate of both past and future lie in her hands.
This story is a departure from my usual style of writing. For example, this is not a cozy, nor is it a mystery. I have enjoyed it immensely and am now working on a second in this series, “Time Again.” But how did I get here from there? Read on.
Everything I know about life I learned from soap operas.
I was an avid soap opera fan for many years. Every noon (or three p.m. when they changed the time) I would sit in front of the television set and watch All My Children. When it was ripped off the air in 2011, I was devastated. But soon after that I realized I could write soaps of my own.
Though I don’t pen soap operas per se, all those years of watching clandestine affairs, fearsome feuds, and parades of glamorous weddings (Erica Kane was married eleven times during the series!*) taught me things such as lust sells, violence sells, and stunning scenery is as important as script. Even soap deaths held a nugget of wisdom for a fiction writer: no one is truly dead until you see the body, and maybe not even then. But one element rose above all the drama, and that was the cliffhanger*. Every single episode ended with at least one.
The story arc of a fiction novel differs from a serialization in that a novel leads up to a distinct end, where soap operas go on forever. Though a book is broken into chapters that hopefully lead the reader on, the reader may be confident that by the time they are finished, the questions will be answered, the mystery solved, the killer caught, the happily ever after attained, or whatever the plot has laid out in the previous pages. So far, my writing career has only included full length books, but that’s about to change.
Enter Kindle Vella.
Kindle Vella is KDP’s new platform designed specifically for serialized stories. I probably wouldn’t have thought of it myself, but when the opportunity was presented to tell a different sort of story, my curiosity was piqued. My first thought was to take one of those WIPs out of the drawer and revise each chapter as an episode, but I decided against that. Next, I considered that memoir I’ve been wanting to write. I’d already contemplated a few different styles including flash fiction and graphics—an episodic version might be just what I was looking for. But would it be catchy enough to interest readers? When I read a serial, I’m looking for action, imagination, and surprise. Unless I wanted to dig deeper into the sex, drugs, and rock and roll aspects of my life, I doubt people would be interested
Then a new idea hit me.
Where do ideas come from?
In my mind, I began to form a part flight-of-fancy, part drama, part timey-wimey fantasy that I could write from episode to episode in an ever-evolving manner. But before I could begin, I needed an overview to tie it together. From out of that mysterious and beautiful place where plots are born, came my idea:
An old woman
goes back in time
to confront her past…
to change her past…
to change her past and future…
She needed a sidekick. And voila, Aron—is he an angel or an alien?
She needed a cat, and in trotted Brie, Sylvan’s childhood puss who turns out to have amazing abilities.
I also needed a title. The story told me its name was, “Time Being.”
1952-That time when Sylvan witnesses her own amazing birth.
2021-That time when she is paralyzed by stroke.
1968-That time when she protests the Kent State shootings.
2000-A new century.
1961-That time when she wakes up in her childhood home.
2030-That time when she sees a future that cannot be explained.
What memories do you think about? What do you wish you could change? How about the future—what do you see there, or would you prefer to be surprised? I don’t know where Time Being will lead, but I’m excited about the journey. The slate is clean and open.
*Seven of (Erica’s) marriages to six different men have been valid, while four of her other marriages are invalid. Generally, the number of times Erica has been married is named as ten, though the total of her valid and invalid marriages, plus her 1991 vow renewal with Adam Chandler, would come up to eleven. Erica Kane, Wikipedia
*The word cliffhanger is defined as: an ending to an episode of a serial drama that leaves the audience in suspense. The term “cliffhanger” is considered to have originated with the serialized version of Thomas Hardy’s A Pair of Blue Eyes (which was published in Tinsley’s Magazine between September 1872 and July 1873) in which Henry Knight, one of the protagonists, is left hanging off a cliff. —Wikipedia.