A novel that's published in multiple parts. Popularized in the 19th century, when many writers (including Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle) would publish their novels first as monthly or weekly installments in magazines, alongside short stories and novellas. Venues included both dedicated "digest" magazines like Strand or Astounding Science Fiction, and more general magazines like Life or Esquire (and sometimes... Playboy.) From the 1930's (or earlier) until quite recently many Science Fiction stories first appeared as serials, being republished as Novels later. As time has passed, most readers now get their fix directly from separately printed books. Stephen King published his novel The Green Mile in six installments; also, quite a bit of the more popular Fan Fiction is published in a serial format.
Examples of Serial Novels include:
- Isaac Asimov's The Foundation Trilogy: Each book in the Trilogy is comprised of several stories that began as short fiction in Astounding Science Fiction. Publishing said stories in Novel format was the eventual goal.
- Bridget Jones began as a newspaper column in The Independent.
- The Doll: Originally ran as a newspaper serial in 1887-1889.
- Alexandre Dumas: Several novels were originally published as serials, including The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, and 20 Years After.
- Les Misérables, which is why it is such an infamous Doorstopper.
- Musashi: Published over four years, and it shows in it's episodic nature.
- Vladimir Nabokov's Pnin: Published in installments in The New Yorker while he was looking for a publisher for the controversial Lolita.
- Tales of the City was originally a serial in the San Francisco Chronicle.