I read all about “Yesterday’s Gone” during its launch phase. I considered buying it. After all, I could read the first episode for free and the six-episode series was only $4.99. What stopped me was the subject matter: I’m not generally into post-apocalyptic or science fiction.
Then I listened to an interview of Sean Platt on The Creative Penn and became so intrigued by the concept I had to buy the first season for research purposes. I live to serve indie authors, from aspiring to established, so I do my best to stay abreast of the indie writing world.
You may be asking why I’m talking about a book like it’s a TV show. It is rather disorienting. Basically what happened is the authors wanted to bring the great things about their favorite TV shows, like “Lost,” to the world of indie publishing. So instead of Book One of a series, you get Season One. Instead of major sections, you get Episodes.
At first I questioned how this could be different from releasing a book one chapter at a time. After reading Season One, I have come up with a few answers.
The Episodes are longer than chapters.
Depending on your reading speed, it takes a good 30-60 minutes to read an episode, much like watching a TV show. The idea is that you read one episode a week, but as I purchased the whole season I could not keep myself from reading everything over a couple of days. The authors execute one of the main missions of scene writing excellently: Always move the action forward and leave the reader desperate to rip into the next scene.
Each episode is clearly broken into scenes.
Just like a TV show maintains multiple story lines scene by scene, Yesterday’s Gone moves from one to another seamlessly. There are a lot of characters and plots to keep up with, each a story within a story with its own heroes, villains, and conflicts.
The writing is image heavy, so the action plays on a screen in your mind.
I was effortlessly able to envision settings, characters, and objects. The authors did a good job of giving enough description to make the reader comfortable without making it about the descriptions. Not easy, and much appreciated!
The characters are realized differently.
On TV, we instantly judge characters by their externals. In a book, that just isn’t possible. What a person look likes is far less important than what a person thinks and does. Just enough detail to know the basics about someone opens the reader up to learn about the character on a deeper level. Watching a character on TV means looking for visual cues as to how they’re feeling or what they’re thinking; in writing the character is perceived through their own thoughts as well the thoughts of those around them.
What started as research ended up converting me to an ardent fan. I have just downloaded the second season and will be diving in as soon as my current read is done. Yesterday’s Gone is a great story told well and in a new and intriguing format. I’m not quite sure how they did it, but even industry insiders like to experience magic once in a while!
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Have you read this? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! If you’ve blogged about it, leave a link.