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Make Me Feel Good

Libby Drew



Here’s a conversation from my vacation…

Sister: Try this book. I loved it. 
Me: What’s it about?
Sis: It’s dark and screwed up. Right up your alley.
Me: Thanks?
Sis: It’s a two-parter. The sequel’s supposed to come out early next year. 
Me: What if it doesn’t?
Sis: It will. The author says it will. 
Me: I’ll wait. So I can read it all at once. 
Sis: Haven’t you ever heard of delayed gratification?
Me: Never been a huge fan. 
Sis: Oh, I realize. I’ve known you your whole life, remember?
Me: That escalated quickly. 

If I fall in love with a story, I want to finish it NOW. Not wait for the next book, or chapter, or installment. 



As authors, we have more of an opportunity than ever before to dole out our stories a tidbit at a time as we craft them. Thanks, Internet. But there are problems with this model if your goal is to publish your book. Even if you plan to self-publish. That’s a whole different discussion, though. Let’s talk about sharing fiction simply for the love of it. 

I’m the last person to poke holes in this practice, especially on any platform where the community expects it. LiveJournal was always like that, and I lived there for ten years. GA has a wide audience who not only enjoys, but expects, serialized fiction. So this isn’t me telling anyone writing and posting one chapter at a time that they shouldn’t. 

It’s me saying: Be cautious, serious writers, because there are pitfalls.

The first is output. And expectation. Nothing loses readers faster than missing a scheduled update. And if you set your updates too far apart, even enthusiastic fans will lose interest. We all know how variable a process writing can be. A chapter could take an afternoon to write. It could take a month. Life can be like that. You also need time to edit and revise. You could skip this step, but I personally think it’s a huge mistake. For one, first impressions are everything, and one poorly edited chapter might be all prospective readers attempt before moving on to something else. Or someone else.

Keeping a coherent plot is another hurdle. Even the most strongly outlined book may call for edits to early chapters as you approach the climax of the story. It sucks if you kill someone in chapter three who, you discover in chapter twenty, really needs to be alive for the story to be the best it can be. There’s no easy answer to this one. Finish the story, then post it, is about the only foolproof method. Your decision.

The last problem I’ll mention is abandonment. I’m guilty of this. I’ve abandoned two stories (both here), which is not cool. I feel crappy about it. Sometimes abandonment can’t be helped. And sometimes we just lose the thread of one project and move on to another. It happens. No writer is immune.

None of this is rocket science, I know. However, trust between authors and readers shouldn’t be taken lightly, so I’m putting it out there. Just as a reminder. We are all human, but readers trust us. Do your best to respect that.


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