Web Serial Fiction discussion

Web Serials > What inspired you to turn yours into a serial killer?

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message 1: by K.J. (new)

K.J. Joyner (spearcarrier) Ha ha, okay not killers.

But we all have a reason.

Why is yours serialized?

Mine: because I've been trying to finish it for years but I couldn't seem to get moving. However nothing moves me like a deadline. I'm passionate about my deadlines.

message 2: by V.J. (new)

V.J. Chambers (vjchambers) | 5 comments I liked the idea of being something that would become part of a reader's routine, I guess. A good book is fun, but it's over in a few days. A serial book sticks around for a while.

message 3: by Frances (new)

Frances (mothindarkness) | 83 comments Mod
Mine just seemed to scream out to be an old style/ Flash Gordon-esque/ really campy type radio/tv serial. The style of the story fit the medium.


message 4: by K.J. (new)

K.J. Joyner (spearcarrier) LOL.. campy. I need to get your link so that I can see this, Frances.

V.J. I know what you mean, but I guess I didn't see it that way. I just stopped and thought to myself that it was a lot like my webcomics, and I rather enjoy weekdays when I check those. It's almost like a self-styled soap opera, but probably moves a lot faster.

message 5: by Joy (new)

Joy (crowgirl) As just a consumer not a writer, I enjoy boork serials because I watch very little TV and even the worst Fantasy (or Fantastic Fiction as my library groups them) is better than TV scripts.

The next installment is a nice thing to look forward to and I often go back and re-read the whole series just to remember details about characters I enjoy.

message 6: by K.J. (new)

K.J. Joyner (spearcarrier) The whole series? That's a lot of reading in some cases. Do you do it in one sitting?

I know what you mean about some serials being better than TV. Especially since the reality show craze!

message 7: by Joy (new)

Joy (crowgirl) Katrina wrote: "The whole series? That's a lot of reading in some cases. Do you do it in one sitting?"

Being devoted to my library I can take out as many books as I want and no, not in one sitting but over a week I can cover most pulp fiction stuff. They aren't hard reading, but fun.

message 8: by Joy (new)

Joy (crowgirl) Katrina wrote: "The whole series? That's a lot of reading in some cases. Do you do it in one sitting?"

Being devoted to my library I can take out as many books as I want and no, not in one sitting but over a week I can cover most pulp fiction stuff. They aren't hard reading, but fun.

message 9: by Frances (new)

Frances (mothindarkness) | 83 comments Mod
My link is posted in the promo/rules category. ;-) I'll be adding a new episode at the end of the week.

message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

I enjoy the episodic format, whether as a comic book or a TV show like BUFFY, ANGEL, etc. I envisioned KAT AND MOUSE following a similar line.

Originally, the stories were meant to simply be assorted adventures of the pair. But putting them in this format allowed me to work in a global storyline, where seemingly innocuous events in story #1 became life-threatening in story #4, where the throwaway character in #2 became the baddie in #6, and so on.

message 11: by Frances (new)

Frances (mothindarkness) | 83 comments Mod
I love that Abner. It does seem to open up a lot of windows and plot potential...as if the story is growing over time organically, and always open ended...

I think about ending mine and making it into a novel at some point, but then I think, maybe not. Of course, I could always make the novels a series as well...

It's something to think about.

message 12: by Shannon (new)

Shannon (fadewalker) | 7 comments I love the serial format because it has so much freedom; you can use exactly as many words as you need to tell the story, without limits like "fit this story into 80,000 words". The stories I write have been a part of my life since I was a kid, going on twenty years now, so they're pretty detailed worlds with a lot of characters and intricate plot lines. Plus, I think it's nice to be able to release the next episode every couple weeks so readers always have something to look forward to without having to wait a year or two between releases.

The other fantastic side of a serial novel is that longer is better, so the fact that my Skyboarders story would fill about 11 to 13 books is a benefit rather than an estimate to frighten editors with. With the serial, you can embrace truly epic plots and story arcs. It's liberating.

Lastly, I can always compile the episodes later into novels to sell as paperback books, as a regular series. But that's for the future. :)

message 13: by Frances (new)

Frances (mothindarkness) | 83 comments Mod
I love the look of your site!!! The art is awesome and the navigation is great too. Now I cant wait to sneak some time to go read the story... lol

thanks for joining us!


message 14: by V.J. (new)

V.J. Chambers (vjchambers) | 5 comments Shannon--I actually put my serials in book form before they're finished online. That way, I entice readers to buy the book so they can find out what happens before everyone else. I've had some modest success with this. Nothing big, but a couple hundred dollars in sales. :)

message 15: by Frances (new)

Frances (mothindarkness) | 83 comments Mod
I was considering publishing an illustrated volume after the serial was done with Part One-- adding a little bit of fun stuff that you can't get on the site. Glad to hear you had some sales. I think it's a great idea.


message 16: by Shannon (new)

Shannon (fadewalker) | 7 comments V.J., that's actually a pretty good idea. I'll have to consider the thought of early releases. The original idea had been to compile the first 12 episodes or so into a (rather large) novel and sell it for a discount price, so latecomers could just get the book to catch up with the series for about half the cost of buying each episode. And then of course other opportunities make themselves available for a physical book that are tricky for ebooks... like sending out free copies or releasing them in bookcrossing.com, etc.

Frances; I think the illustrated volume sounds great. Frankly, we live in a visual culture, thanks to TV, and everybody loves to get their hand on "exclusive" fun stuff, and more in-depth information about a world they enjoy. It's worked for many an author before. And I'm glad you liked the site, we made and discarded three complete websites before we finally felt satisfied with that one.

That actually reminds me of a question I'd like to put to all of you guys; I know this isn't what this thread is about, but just as a quick aside...

My co-author and I wanted to put an entire Almanac section on our website compiling all sorts of information about our story's world. But we've been burned by story-stealers before (there's nothing more disappointing than finding a story you made re-written badly and published two years after you talked all about it on writer's groups online). So we thought maybe we should put the Almanac information and extras into an Almanac ebook to be sold separately? I mean, if people pay for something they're less likely to scalp it, don't you think? Or would people just skip buying it since it's all "extra" and unnecessary?

message 17: by Frances (new)

Frances (mothindarkness) | 83 comments Mod
I think it's a great idea. I'm not sure sales would be as high as with the original story, but I've purchased "world books" from series I love before. I own the Dragonrider's Guide to Pern..for one.
A good way to get the info out to the fan and make some additional profit, I would imagine.

You're full of great ideas...keep talking.;-)

message 18: by Hillary (new)

Hillary (webhill) | 3 comments I'm probably an outlier here. I have always been a "writer" (as opposed to "a writer!") in that I enjoy writing stuff, and keep journals and write poetry and stuff, which sometimes I share with friends (blog or email distribution) and sometimes keep to myself (stacks of old notebooks in my basement ;)) but I never really thought of writing for the public until a business contact solicited me to collaborate on a new project! He had already conceived of it as a serial, so there you go.

message 19: by Frances (new)

Frances (mothindarkness) | 83 comments Mod
Sometimes life puts us where it wants us. I'm going to check out your link, Hillary, the project sounds really fun.
thanks for being here too.


message 20: by Shannon (new)

Shannon (fadewalker) | 7 comments Hey Hillary, welcome to the group!

I'd say that the only difference between a writer and an author is that a writer is someone who loves to write, and an author is a particularly determined writer who also has a head for business. That's about it. So, here's to being stubborn as a rock while learning how to market, distribute, and promote your new product! It can actually be a lot more fun than it sounds.

Since you're collaborating and this is your first project, just make sure you and your co-author / partner have a business agreement worked out in writing before things go too far. Collaborating or Co-authoring can be fun and rewarding, but it often goes south when disagreements crop up about editing, content, rights, royalty percentages, work distribution, etc., start to become important. It's vital to have all of that agreed on ahead of time. Work out who has final say over the draft, and who has what responsibilities, so you don't break up like the Beatles just when you start to get somewhere. I wish you the best of luck, and I'll be checking out your serial.


message 21: by A.M. (new)

A.M. (amharte) | 23 comments I think I did it for feedback. You get instant, gratifying feedback when you serialize something.

Also, it's a great way to motivate yourself to writing more!

It helped that I'd been a serial reader for long before I even thought of starting up my own, so I was quite used to the idea.

And, also, what I post online is kind of a side project, something fun that I don't take too seriously. It's a good way for me to take a break from my WIP novel, and since I never expected my serial to be published for money, why not put it online?

message 22: by Tom (new)

Tom (tgallier) | 2 comments I want to do a online serial, but I am not sure about how to pull it off.
- should I do it on my LiveJournal or get one of those cheap websites?
- how do I attract readers?

message 23: by A.M. (new)

A.M. (amharte) | 23 comments @Tom - I prefer wordpress, but livejournal is fine, a lot of people use it! Just make sure it's easy to navigate & you include links to the next chapter at the bottom of every entry.

Ways to get readers:
-after you've set up the first few chapters, submit your listing to Web Fiction Guide, Muse's Success, Epiguide & any other forum/web fiction directory
-twitter is a good source, but don't spam people with self-promotion
-being an active reader in the genre you're writing is helpful, too.

Can't think of anything else at the moment...

message 24: by Tom (new)

Tom (tgallier) | 2 comments Anna wrote: "@Tom - I prefer wordpress, but livejournal is fine, a lot of people use it! Just make sure it's easy to navigate & you include links to the next chapter at the bottom of every entry.

Ways to get r..."

Thanks, that's very helpful. I'll check out the Web Fiction Guide, Muse's Success and Epiguide.

message 25: by A.M. (new)

A.M. (amharte) | 23 comments @Tom Let me know if you need any other tips - you may find some of the forums at www.weblit.us useful ;-)

message 26: by A.M. (new)

A.M. (amharte) | 23 comments Dash - have you checked out the suggestions I gave Tom above?

message 27: by A.M. (new)

A.M. (amharte) | 23 comments Oh well then definitely - the more consistent you are about updating and the more stuff that's up, the more readers you'll get. People are a little hesitant about reading new things I think - they're not as sure the story will continue!

message 28: by Robert (last edited Apr 18, 2011 02:52PM) (new)

Robert (slorob) | 5 comments Just started writing mine, and hopefully will be ready to post the first installment in a week or two.

Why a serial? I had an idea for a story that just kept going and going. As I outlined, side-plots and wonderful little rabbit-trails kept popping up--the kind of stuff that would probably be cut out if I were editing a novel. But, I wanted to keep them. So, I figured it would make a great serial.

Another reason is to have something to keep me motivated--and held accountable--to keep writing.

It's tentatively titled The Casebook of Doctor Frederick Greene, a supernatural suspense serial. That's all I am going to put out there right now, but I will be posting the URL to the installments when I begin publishing them.

I do have some questions for you guys:

1) How long are each of your installments? I have been thinking of typical short-story size, maybe 3000 - 5000 words or so, paginated into scenes so there isn't too much on one "page." Any ideas about this?

2) How often do you think is an ideal posting schedule? I am thinking of every two weeks, and am hoping that isn't too infrequent. I intend to have about three installments "locked and loaded" so there won't be too much pressure to produce on a dime. What are your opinions?

3) Is there anything I am missing? I am getting a pretty large amount of outlining done beforehand because so many of the little threads I have begun to weave have far-reaching implications, and I want to make sure I don't drop them. I also want to be spontaneous enough to allow for new ideas to be interjected without screwing too much of what has gone and what is to be, so to speak. And as I feel this is going to be an open-ended serial, I can't possibly outline it completely, anyway.

I'm rambling! Sorry for that. I am glad to have found this little group, and I will be back here soon and often.


message 29: by Frances (new)

Frances (mothindarkness) | 83 comments Mod
Glad you found us!
I post every two weeks on Space Slugs, and it seems to work for me. The serial doesnt have a huge following, though, so I don't get too much pressure to post more frequently.
I only post around a thousand word episodes. I could get away with more because I post so infrequently, and I've seen them done with more, but then again, I've also seen the recommended length around 500-1000 for serials that post via textnovel and other places.
I think you can dive in with what you have planned, and if it works, run with it. If not, adjust.
That's the beauty of serials. Flexibility.
I think reader input is another factor. It's nice that you have an open ended arc and are willing to be spontaneous. It will help a lot as you go!
The story sounds good.
Can't wait to see the link. Good luck,


message 30: by Robert (new)

Robert (slorob) | 5 comments Thanks for the input... and I will definitely be getting the link up soon.

message 31: by Jim (last edited Apr 19, 2011 09:07AM) (new)

Jim Zoetewey | 18 comments Personally, I post in 800-1000 word installments twice a week. I've got a small readership (150 people, possibly more). My theory is that making regular updates is better than long ones in that it will keep the serial more regularly in someone's mind.

Basically, I look to webcomics as a model for how to do this. Most of them have an at least weekly schedule, and I find that I tend to forget about a comic that has a less regular schedule than that.

And just for the record, my serial is Legion of Nothing (http://inmydaydreams.com).

message 32: by Frances (new)

Frances (mothindarkness) | 83 comments Mod
I think you're right, Jim. The ones' that seem to do the best post frequently. I just can't pull it off with my other writing and deadlines. I wish I could.
My bi-weekly episodes are hard enough to find time for.
But a lot of folks on textnovel divide chapters into 500 word posts just so they can post more frequently.

message 33: by Robert (new)

Robert (slorob) | 5 comments I am in the same boat, as I am currently also working on a novel (which I don't have any intention of serializing, at least now). The smaller count-frequent posts consideration does make sense, though. I guess, as you wrote earlier, Frances, I can start one way and adjust on the fly if necessary. I do believe that my story will lend itself more to longer posts, so I will probably start things off that way.

BTW, thanks to both of you for the links to your "babies."

message 34: by Terri (new)

Terri (fancycatz) Hi everyone! I'm really glad to have found this group! It's so funny, but serialization has really made a come-back. I love it! I finally just started releasing one of my novels as a free, weekly online serial in December (www.terribruce.net). It's been sitting in a drawer for a while now and I thought, "why not?" The whole point of a story is to be read, so what good is it doing in the drawer??? LOL!

message 35: by Frances (new)

Frances (mothindarkness) | 83 comments Mod
Hi Terri! Welcome. I love the come back of the serial, and I'm glad you found us. Will go have a look at your story.
Thanks for sharing it.

message 36: by Joe (new)

Joe Vadalma (JoeVadalma) | 4 comments I've been running serials on my web site for several years now. The latest is called "Morgaine's Familiar" about a cat belonging to a witch. My web site is http://papajoesfantasticworld.com

message 37: by S.G. (last edited Feb 02, 2012 07:32PM) (new)

S.G. (s-girl) | 54 comments I'm serializing because I need the update deadline over my head to keep going. Also it's a good way to share some of the thoughts in my head surrounding artwork I've been painting for a few years. I have been promising the people who liked the artwork that I"d write stories and it is silly to make them wait another 3-5 years for me to finish the 'novel' that explains the pieces.

1) How long are each of your installments?
1300 words or so... it's about 2.5 pages. At times I'll flex and go double or triple, but I find that I really shouldn't as it takes people a while longer to catch up.

2) How often do you think is an ideal posting schedule?
I do it weekly because my prime audience target at first were mostly webcomic readers who would probably not be able to get into the material unless I was updating frequently. I'm debating slowing down or going 3 of4 weeks a month as I need the occasional break to recalibrate where I"m going.

Pretty much create an extensive buffer before you begin. You will find that you will run out at some point, but don't want it to be until after your characters are really settled under your fingertips and yet you don't wan tto be so far ahead that you lose the ability to course-correct if people are honestly bored...

message 38: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Greer | 4 comments Answer to these questions:

I serialize because I write short very well, and I enjoy it.

I write serials of at least 5500 words to 7K words, but then mine are for sale as well since I'm an romance writer, and my writing is a passion, my craft, and a business. With that said, I offer my serials free all the time, too, just one at a time (and not the ones my publisher has just started putting out).

Schedule wise, I like to have my serials out every 6-8 weeks since they are a bit longer. When I post them, that works fine. When I have a publisher, it varies. ;)


message 39: by Susannah (last edited Jun 12, 2012 05:37PM) (new)

Susannah Hume (imaginalia) Like many of you guys, I serialise because I needed deadlines! Ever since I started doing NaNoWriMo, like the hare I would sprint to 50k every November, then sleep for the rest of the year while the tortoise writers were doing their best work. So I figured doing a webserial would force me to post every week, no matter if I felt like it.

That has been pretty successful, actually. Even though I have been a "contributing adult" for several years, I am a uni student at heart, and deadlines and wordocunts are very motivating for me, LOL.

Also, I came out of the fanfic world, so online original fic is a step up the arbitrary hierarchy for me, haha. But I think fanfic really trained me that it was OK to write for fun, and it was OK to share what you were writing as you wrote it and collaborate and feed off other writers, which is one of the fun things about the online community around any type of writing.

message 40: by Jason (new)

Jason | 1 comments Needing deadlines helps me write but I started writing serials because the format popped out at me. I had tried my hand at novels for years but found them too unwieldy in the long run. Then, I had the pleasure to have a few summers of writing workshops with authors like Peter Markus and Gerry LaFemina and really grew into short fiction.

I realized that much of the short fiction I grew up loving were comic books, cartoons, and old pulp serials. I fell in love and haven't left the format since. I'm starting to dabble in radio plays, tv episodes, and webcomics, but it's all because of the love of the serial.

message 41: by Dan (new)

Dan Bonser I serialized mine for several reasons. Main one is that I enjoy writing novels, really long fiction, and I sometimes stop and crank out a short story. Back in July, I started blogging, and enjoyed the idea of 500 word essays getting a point across. Then I thought about weekly serials in the old magazines, and how it was way back when. So I got inspired to challenge myself.

Could I write a short story, separate it out into blog posts with a word count limit, and still have it all cohesive?

The second real idea was to challenge myself to write in a set limit, which is something I've never done. I know a few places online that pay for short stories, but the word limits are atrociously low. To reach that limit, I knew I had to step back and learn how to get out of the novel mind set, and work in getting my point across with fewer words.

Another reason was that I have a great character that I developed for a video game, of all things, and she had a life all her own. As the video game became less fun to play, I had to leave her behind, and that always killed me. She had several short stories, and being a bard, she had over 50 poems she would 'perform' as songs. So resurrecting her within a new serial short story format would give her a great life, especially since she was already so fleshed out.

Another reason is the idea that when I do finish a fantasy novel, it will be nice to already have a 'fanbase' as it were, and a great place for people to go if they already like my writing.

The last main reason is just because I like writing fiction, and writing the blog is GREAT, but its nice to have a day set aside where I can flesh out what talent I have, and show people what I can do.

message 42: by K.J. (new)

K.J. Joyner (spearcarrier) I came here actually expecting a discussion on killers. LOL!

Mine's serialized because that's the nature of webcomics. I did try serializing a book I've been working on for years, but that just didn't work out. It was too frustrating to try to put out stuff and have no one read it -and my particular style of writing actually calls for me to back up and edit details often when things occur to me.

But webcomics, now: they're serialized and the readers expect them to be that way. Each new page is like your five hundred words I guess.

message 43: by S.G. (new)

S.G. (s-girl) | 54 comments @Katrina I actually did think about going the webcomics route, but I failed once (just not enough skill back then) and now tend to write such long works that I'm afraid if I did the webcomic route I'd be working on something for ten years before I got done Dx.

But I do read quite a few webcomics... I enjoy them and do agree that there's a bit more "give" and an audience for webcomics vs. prose.

message 44: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Raintree (jamieraintree) Hey everyone! I'm new here. :)

I decided to write serials because I spend A LOT of time writing novels with little reward because until they are done, very few people read them. For me, it's a fun side project to get some immediate readers so I remember what I'm doing all this hard work for.

message 45: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Piros | 4 comments For me, a webserial just seemed like the ideal format. After a failed attempt at self-publishing a novel, I realized that I didn't really care about making money off my writing. I just wanted people to read it and enjoy it. So why charge for it? With a webserial, my writing is freely available, with a little comment box below it so people can leave feedback.
When I started writing, I did it purely for fun. I did it because I liked crafting stories. I was awful at it, but I didn't care, because I loved writing. I kept at it, and eventually I became a good writer. But once I was convinced to self-publish, I started thinking about being a professional author. And then the uncertainty struck. The worries about screwing up and writing something nobody would like, the constant re-starting each time I got stuck on the story. I figured with a webserial, I'd get feedback and encouragement. Motivation to keep going. And more readers. Happier readers.

message 46: by Kristin (new)

Kristin Jacques (krazydiamond) | 2 comments The reason I began my serial was to build confidence in my ability to write. I have been a creative writer in an academic setting for many years, revealing my work only to professors and a few select friends. Upon graduating, I continued to write, even drafted a couple novels, and they sat, quietly moldering away on my computer.
The biggest obstacle to pursuing my dream of becoming a published author was me, I was terrified to share my work, for a multitude of reasons I can now say were very silly. Knowing absolutely nothing about web serial writing, I set myself up with a story idea and a weekly deadline and forced myself to post every Friday until it became routine. I learned to actually network the site much later, but the effort I have put into the serial has given me a great boost in confidence and I enjoy telling the story.

message 47: by Matthew (new)

Matthew (mwsmedia) | 2 comments I planned "Walk Like A Stranger: Passing Through Home" as a free serial fiction-by-subscription project from the beginning. I knew I wanted to do a free serial fiction project, so I asked my community which of three storylines they'd like to see presented.

The readers chose the one I described as being "like television's 'Kung Fu,' but set in a realistic fantasy world like Westeros or Lankhmar." And on the last day of summer this year, I was off and running!

Why a serial? Several reasons:

-- I wanted to experiment with telling a long-form arc using serial storytelling structure, which is different from simply chopping a large work into small pieces. There's a distinct formula to the serial fiction structure, as we've seen from comic books and scripted television. It's fun and challenging to emulate that.

-- I wanted to create a fiction product that would allow me to connect directly with readers in a measurable way... and act on those analytics.

-- I wanted a long-form fiction project that I could execute on while it was being written and again once it was completed.

-- I wanted a fiction project that also served to build my mailing list.

"Walk Like A Stranger: Passing Through Home" is just a few weeks in as I write this, but it's been a blast so far. Just have build up my numbers!

message 48: by Kurt (new)

Kurt Stevens (kurtstevens) | 8 comments I chose the serial format because I think it's a cool way to engage with readers. What I want is for people to read, and my publisher and I agree that we should concentrate on getting the content to readers first, and worry about cash flow later.

Plus (if I'm being honest), I went with a smaller publisher with an admittedly smaller marketing budget, so it seemed like a good way to build an audience on the book's merits pre-release.


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