kate: Kate Winslet is wryly amused (Default)
[personal profile] kate
So, I have this story that I'm posting in chapters.

It's not my usual way of posting, and in fact, I am sort of adamantly against posting in chapters. I know why people do it, but it's not my thing, and I'll tell you why. Well, I'll give you a history of my (accidental) experience and then the pros and cons, for me (which add up to why - along with the fact that as a reader I hate hate HATE WIPs).

History of my accidental serial fic: [personal profile] clavally gave me a prompt which I sat down and wrote about 4500 words for. I posted it, and then asked her to prompt me again. She did. I wrote another 1300 words and posted that as a chapter 2, because I'd worked out the rest of the story and it had an easy four part structure. EASY. Ha ha ha ha, oh, no.

Then Kevin died and I wanted to post something to make myself feel better (and also it'd been a while since I posted), so I cut out and posted a part of Chapter 3 and decided to throw the rest into Chapter 4.

I continued writing Chapter 4 and realized, when it hit about 7k, that it was kind of unreasonable to post it all at once - it'd grown a huge plot and Dean was being recalcitrant, so I threw up about half of it and extended the story to 5 chapters.

Then I was about to get kripked and I realized that the story was just going to be huge, so I needed to reorganize. I shifted things and made it into a 12 chapter thing, re-organizing Chapters 1-4 into Chapters 1-6 and posting two more. Ever since then I've been posting a chapter here and there, every two weeks to a month, mostly before another section of the story got jossed or kripked by canon (this happened six or seven times in the story, which is only fair since it became something of an alt!S9, (on complete accident, I swear!)).

So now I've posted 11/12 chapters and It's been an interesting experience, these last few chapters.

There's a certain awesomeness to being able to write and post almost immediately. I just do a quick readthrough for typos and other little errors, and then put it up. Also awesome has been the hit count and the bookmarks. People keep coming back to it as I post, and that's pretty neat.

Less awesome: If I write myself into a corner, I'm stuck with it. Since I've published the chapter, I have to live with whatever I put in there, so trying to re-write Dean to be less recalcitrant or skip Cas's stupid farewell presents is now impossible because the damn thing's out there already. Probably no one would care but me, but I feel like it's sort of the challenge of writing a serial - you have to live with what came before, even if it was stupid. I suppose it's a little like writing on a TV series, heh.

Awesome side benefit to that: you realllllllly have to think around corners when you do something stupid to yourself. This has been great practice in forcing myself to write creatively to solve problems I would probably have edited out if I was writing straight through.

Other awesome benefits: posting relatively regularly is a nice high and keeps the story fun and fresh and it doesn't have the slogging middle that all my long stories do.

Less awesome: The finished product isn't going to be that good. There's a lot of stuff that I short-cutted because of time and space that really... just isn't very good. Corollary to this less awesome: this is likely to be one of my highest hit count stories ever and it's not particularly good. Considering when I post the epic fics I'm currently working on, it'll take years to get to the hit count I've achieved in six months, that's a bit discouraging.

So yeah, I don't think I'll post any more chaptered fics, but I'm glad I did it - it was an excellent experience. I might try it one more time, purposefully, to see if I can do a better job of it.

on 5/22/14 03:52 am (UTC)
clavally: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] clavally
<333333333

I do like hearing about how this experience was. You make a lot of valid points about why posting in chapters maybe isn't the best thing. That already kills me that I can't go back and change things I don't like. Having to write around them would be awful!

As for hit counts, well, your other long things will already be written, but there's nothing keeping you from posting it as chaptered fic. Although, I personally think it's evil to have something written and beta'd and not just post the whole thing, which I assume you agree with me on. <333333

on 5/22/14 04:43 am (UTC)
clavally: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] clavally
Eh, you know me, I'm fully behind you with the whole posting all at once thing. <3333333

Hmmm, interesting that my impression has always been that you are a popular writer. I mean, I know you don't have the hugest hit count out there, but I think people appreciate that you post a lot and that it's always well written? *shrug*

<33333

on 5/22/14 05:22 am (UTC)
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] recessional
I'll admit, I'm quite tempted to post your blue-eyed boys chapter by chapter (once the editing is done), but it'd be more like one a day than anything longer.

Partially that's because of straight up desire for the hit of attention (not gonna lie), but part of it is also . . . the reason kudos are only really a half-measure for me is because I want to know what affected an audience? And the longer a fic is in the all-at-once sense, the less I get to have that, because even people sweet enough to leave comments are (by the fourteenth chapter) not remembering or keeping notes on the previous thirteen parts they've read. So I get an overall impression instead of specific reactions.

Whereas I know from some of my serials (which I only write in fanfic, as it happens) that I get much more of that particular kind of specific reaction if things are posted in digestible chunks with some time between them.

I'm probably not going to do it, but the temptation is there.

on 5/22/14 06:47 am (UTC)
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] sholio
This is really interesting for me to read and think about, because I started out posting all my long fic as serial, write-as-you-go WiPs -- it was basically how I learned to write long-form stories, and I think it was (for me) a good way to learn, because of the ongoing real-time feedback from readers. (Though it helps that I also really enjoy WiPs as a reader -- I think I enjoy it in much the same way as watching a TV show every week. As frustrating as it is to be left hanging, sometimes forever, there's more time to savor each plot development and anticipate what's coming. Mileage varies, obviously.)

But over time, as I got better at plotting and started to learn to do more complex things with emotional arcs, I gradually lost the ability to do that, because I can never really get where I want to be on the first draft; the revisions are necessary to the whole. I've posted only one long fic in WiP form in the last few years, and I ended up being really unhappy with it because there were things I really wanted to rework in the early chapters, and couldn't. I've thought about someday going back and revising the whole thing and posting an updated version to fix all the inconsistencies and make the character arcs stronger.

But that's a really good point about the way that serial writing/posting forces you to be more clever and creative in working around obstacles. And there's also the instant high and gratification of rapid posting and feedback. I'd like to try another one, if only to apply lessons I've learned over the years and see if I can still do it in realtime.

on 5/24/14 09:42 am (UTC)
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] sholio
Ha, no, there is nothing wrong with having feels about WiPs. <3 I think that for me, I kinda grew up with an addiction to serialized media (comics, soap operas, long fantasy novel series) and just kind of ... never got past that; I latched onto the serialization possibilities of the Internet with absolute delight. That said, I truly understand the "wait 'til it's finished" urge, and I've been burned enough times on WiPs that either never finished or took a sudden 180 turn to WTF in the middle that I often withhold kudos/comments until it's far enough along that I have a pretty good idea I'm not gonna regret having my name associated with it. XD

It is a very interesting thing to deal with as a writer, isn't it? The other thing I do is webcomics, which are even more that way -- well, unless you're organized enough to write a complete script at the beginning, which I ... am not. A webcomic artist friend of mine described it as street theatre, and I think that's actually one of the things I really like about it -- webcomics and serial WiPs both: that sense of immediacy and instant feedback/response to an audience. It's raw and rough and I really enjoy that. But, again, I completely get wanting the polished, complete version.

on 5/22/14 01:25 pm (UTC)
jenna_thorn: quote from Blue Bros movie (blues bros)
Posted by [personal profile] jenna_thorn
A friend writes and posts in chapters for exactly that, for the rush that hits and comments give, because it gives her the oomph to revise and finish the next chapter.

All I know is that for me, the one time I tried posting serially, I couldn't go back and tweak details of the earlier chapters into place, so there are slight discrepancies that no one else cares about, but bug me.

I don't know that it's objectively a better or worse story; I'm not a judge of quality in my own writing, and won't pretend to be. But I know that story has a disproportionate number of hits/comments/bookmarks and I don't feel they are earned. It's give the little voice in my head that tells me I cheated a foothold. So I won't be doing it again for that reason, more than the little discrepancies. I don't need to hand over ammunition to my imposter syndrome.

on 5/22/14 02:36 pm (UTC)
havocthecat: the lady of shalott (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] havocthecat
For me, I can't write and post a chapter at a time. I do too much where I have to go back and fill in the blanks later as the story develops. But I really liked reading your musings on it.

on 5/22/14 02:54 pm (UTC)
nagasvoice: lj default (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] nagasvoice
Having been through a few too many computer hard drive destructions (before the option of storing it unseen on the cloud became a serious option) I tend to want to throw something up as soon as it's even reasonably in order. Not for the hit count, because I'm too new at this to have made that mental connection yet. It's about making sure I get that stuff out to folks before I somehow lose track of that one bit of work.
Also, I may have ideas of where the next bit ought to go, but I've no guarantees it's going to cooperate and cough up something acceptable for the next bit. (Yeah, the worst kind of WIP writer for some readers, I understand.) I'm big on revisions to catch stuff even when I've had great beta readers.
I've consistently edited (after posting) for typos and small-scale bits of clarity when I notice a problem, and nobody seems to object to that.
What I'm wondering: If you give a warning note for it, would it be okay with the community to fix larger problems?
Is anybody going to hate it if you edit earlier chapters when you've run into snags that need changing?
It's much more work for you to go back and rethink things and figure out how to tweak it, but nobody seems to have a problem with the idea of second or third edition edits in print, just with the actual bowdlerization or hack jobs that sometimes get done.
And yeah, you may notice I've even edited this post several times to extend ideas and catch typos...
Edited on 5/22/14 02:58 pm (UTC)

on 5/23/14 08:42 am (UTC)
nagasvoice: lj default (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] nagasvoice
I agree, writing and posting in chunks does cause issues with a strong, clear, fast-driving through line. I end up with zigzag stories and odd slants on t hings sometimes. Also, there can be a sort of weird out-of sight out-of-mind challenge there--if I posted it, it's done, right? I don't need to look at it again. Makes it too easy to forget bits and pieces I meant to deal with. I tend to obsessively go back and reread bits to get back in the groove, which helps a lot to solve that problem, but then committing to working on the next bit takes digging back into that older material and dealing with possible comments on it.
When I edit comments I give on blogs etc., I tend to forget that it will send repeated emails--wrestling the idea I'm working on into shape, making sure it won't be misunderstood etc., seems too important at the time.

on 5/24/14 09:25 am (UTC)
nagasvoice: lj default (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] nagasvoice
In a sort of tangential reply here, friend of mine posted a link to this program, which plays with an idea we've been thinking about for a long time, a sharing/document/online content structure that can be nonlinear.
I haven't played with it yet, but I can see some intriguing possibilities...
http://twinery.org/

on 5/22/14 07:20 pm (UTC)
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] silverflight8
Maybe a compromise would be to write it first, and then post it serially? You kind of lose the momentum of feedback (if that encourages you) but it does let you keep editing :) And the fear of writing myself in a corner is why I don't do WIPs either. I read them though!

on 5/27/14 09:27 pm (UTC)
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] silverflight8
How do you know someone has written it all and is posting serialized? (Other than them telling you.) I mean, I guess I would notice if they updated one day apart or had an amazing schedule they stuck to for 50 chapters but I follow a lot of WIPs by email (I've been burned by eternal-unfinished WIPs but I've also read a lot of awesome ones, so I keep doing it) and there's no way I could tell.

In your case, since you do like many aspects of serialized writing, I agree: that compromise wouldn't work for you.

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