When pitching a movie or a TV series, writers sometimes characterize their project as "X" meets "Y"--as in, "Romeo and Juliet" meets "Lord of the Flies."
There's a new approach to books that might be described as "TV writing" meets "publishing."
New publisher Serial Box produces ebooks in 13 to 15 weekly episodes. The first one and the series bible is created by one writer, who is the equivalent of the Show Runner in TV. The team works out the complete storyline, then writers compose chapters, alternating so the assembly line keeps rolling.
Each episode takes about an hour to read and costs $1.99, or you can subscribe and pay $1.59 each, or buy an access pass for all the episodes for about $20. You get both text and audio versions.
The first publication is a dystopian YA novel with a premise that sounds pretty familiar: 23 teens wake up after the Apocalypse and have to figure out what happened--while also being hunted by machines.
Wired.com quotes co-founder Molly Barton as saying that one of the ideas behind this format is that friends will find it easier to discuss the books because they will be reading them at the same time.
I can't say that as an author I'm very excited by this development; television necessarily is a collaborative medium, but in novels I value the author's individual voice. Of course, there have been book series before that were written by various authors under one pen name, and it didn't kill literature.
Even so, it'll be interesting to find out whether readers go for this format.