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So you're snuggled up with a nice cup of coffee, you have a new story in front of you, you read a few chapters...and get hooked on it! It's really a good story. You read all the way up to the last chapter posted....and it just 'stops'. You ask when the next chapter is coming out, you wait with incredible patience, you're extremely anxious for the next part of the story to come and put you out of your misery....but MONTHS pass without anything new! Arrrgh! Then....one day, you get a new chapter at last, but it's been so long that you've kinda grown dettached from the rest of the story.


The question this week is...


=Do excessively long gaps between chapters of a story ruin the overall effect of what you're reading or writing?=


Does waiting months and months somehow diminish the impact of an unfinished story? Does it frustrate you? What about the Harry Potter books, or the Star Wars Trilogy? Where whole YEARS go by without any update at all? We have to wait much MUCH longer for them, and yet can seem to pick up right where we left off, often with the same enthusiasm as before. And if you're writing these stories, would it be better to wait the whole year, and finish a series off, then posting it all at once instead? Would that make it more involving?


And YES..I totally realize that I am one of those awful people who take forever for each chapter myself. Hehehe, but this discussion is 'off the record', promise. I know I'm guilty as charged. But we're talking stories in general here.


Let us all hear what you think! The board is open! :)

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  • Site Administrator


I'm also guilty. But Yes. Sometimes I wonder if it is wiser to wait until the whole story is done before posting the thing.


As for Harry Potter... JKR is too damned slow. There are an army of people writing multiple books in the time it takes her to write one. And I've read a few fanfictions that were a damn sight better than her book 5...

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I'll forget about a story. In fact, I'd forgotten about Dawn of Tears along the way, for example.


I like to wait until a story has legs to get into it... and I much prefer reading something that's being released quickly - that probably means that it's been fully finished or at least the first draft is completely written. So yes, I'd much prefer that a story be finished before posting in most cases, unless it's one of those hundred-section continuing serials that you just keep reading like it's someone's journal, but you wouldn't feel too sad if it just ended.


I know a few stories that were never finished and noone ever gave any notice - now *that* I find frustrating. :(

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(newbie here--first post)


I HATE getting near the end of a story and finding it's not yet finished. Thank goodness some websites can send notifications when new chapters are posted. I probably make an effort to follow up on 10% of the unfinished stories. When I do, I usually skim over previous chapters to get re-familiar with the plot.


I'd prefer the whole story get posted at once. Having said that, let me add that I'm grateful authors write anything at all and I'll take what I can get.


It seems to me writing and posting one chapter at a time limits you--it is difficult to make a correction if you find a story line isn't working like you thought it would. When you do write/post a chapter at a time, do you have a tight outline already written out?


IMHO, this isn't comparable to Harry Potter and other serial novels. In those, each book has a complete story. JKR would not be safe anywhere in England if she'd published that last book without the final three chapters! Taking too long between books does risk losing the audience--I will probably not read the next volume of the Clan of the Cave Bear series because it's been just too darned long.



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Well I'm another author guilty of posting stories chapter by chapter, but hey - I've had lots of feedback from readers in the past which suggests that a lot of them like it that way, as long as the chapters are not TOO far apart.

That does tend to put pressure then on the author, to deliver at regular periods.


Usually I can do that but seem to have got out of the habit with re-siting my stories here. Having said that, this is the beauty of a site like this. It's easy to spot when an author has put up a new chapter, moreso than on Nifty, and it's easier to ask by posting about news of stories etc. I personally consider that's a big PLUS!


Umm, that's about it....now which story was I writing yesterday....um... :blink:

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I came across this Harry Potter fanfic that I loved, with a great plot and all, only to find her promising at the bottom that she will try and get the next chapter out asap... well two years has passed, still waiting.


But then again I'm guilty as. I find it hard to update a story if I've turned off that topic, but the thing is, is that if I have the story posted on the net I tend to be more determined to finish it, especially when I get threatening reviews, that seem to be able motivating me.


With Harry Potter, I don't see myself falling out anytime soon, and with all the reviews I get for my stories I wouldn't dare leave it half-finished, it wouldn't be safe. :P


The odd thing about J.K Rowling is that I don't read her books, I read the fanfiction on it. Harry and Draco are a cute pair in my opinion, and when I read them in her books it just ruins my image of them. But then again that's my opinion. :lol:


Cookie :worship: (I love this pic)

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... The odd thing about J.K Rowling is that I don't read her books, I read the fanfiction on it....


I've read some great fanfics about Harry's last two years at Hogwarts. JKR will have to work really hard to top some of them. Maybe that's why her next book is taking so long. <grin>


From what I've read about her, JKR pretty much knows what's happening in the remainder of the story. She keeps detailed character information. And of course, she has an editor who helps insure continuity.


I'm writing a serial story, and after writing five chapters I decided to make a major change to the beginning. I wasn't happy with the main character's motivation. The change had a domino effect and even though I've gone over everything at least three times, I still am finding names/dialog etc. that no longer fit. This is darned difficult! Right now, I'm not keeping background notes on characters/plot/settings and so forth, but I figure I will need to start doing that before the story gets much longer.



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  • 2 weeks later...

I've seriously thought about both sides of the situation, and I actually liked writing things chapter by chapter better. It's hard to explain, but I feel so much more attached to the characters, the story, and the writing itself when I add chapters bit by bit. Of course, I'm usually working on a bunch of different stories at once, which makes the wait for a new chapter a LOT longer. If I was only writing one story, it wouldn't be such an unbearable gap between episodes. But I feel more connected to stories that grow along with me as a person.


You might notice some of the 'Remixed' chapters that I added to the site, and they do have a purpose. If I had written "A Class By Himself" all as one story from beginning to end, it wouldn't have been anywhere NEAR as three dimensional as I feel it is now. Simply because I was a completely different person back then. My motivations for the story were different. My writing techniques were different. The details were sorta absent, and so was some of the feeling. Same with "Gone From Daylight". I've had an idea of how that story was going to begin, what was going to happen, and how it was going to end, since the very first chapter. But SO much has changed since then, and all for the better. SO many ideas and concepts have popped up in the series because of experiences that I was having in my real life, so many conversations have been spurred in that story because of new concepts and ideas that have been coming to me from my day to day existence. Stuff that NEVER would have made it into the story if I had written it from beginning to end in 1999 and posted it all at once. The whole series was only supposed to be 5 chapters originally. I'm now working on chapter 10. That's how much of a difference it makes.


I look forward to finally ending these series off one by one in the next few months, and finally having people read them all the way through. I've talked to some people who simply 'refuse' to read or even consider any story until it's all the way finished, because they hate waiting. And that's understandable. I look forward to giving them a glance at what I've been trying to do with my writing, and see how they like it. Because I don't feel my older stuff really showcases it the way I want it to. So time and practice makes all the difference.


So, I'm all for chapter by chapter posting. BUT....I'll be honest....sometimes I let a story go too if it takes too long! I guess that makes me a hipocrite, huh? Hehehe!

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My story is posted chapter by chapter, and I don't know of any way that I could have waited to post it until it was done. It seemed to me that the characters in my story demanded to be read by more than just me. Now I know that I've made mistakes in the chapters, and for that, I'm truly sorry. I'm working on that.


As for reading a story, I usually look for stories that have several chapters already posted. I don't know why, but I always believe that if there are more than a few chapters already posted, the author will most likey continue the story to its end. I'm not always right on that, but it works out most of the time.


I do lose interest in a story with major gaps in time between posts, though. I think the reason for that is that during the interval, I get wrapped up in a completely different story and forget about the one I was reading before. That's bad, I know, but sometimes there's just not enough in the story to make it memorable enough to me to go back every day to look for more.


I'm reading one now that has me really excited, and I check the site daily to find out if another chapter has been posted. This story has me so hooked that I doubt I'd ever walk away from it.


As for mine, I pretty much know what's going to happen in the story anyway, so doing it chapter by chapter isn't so bad. Most of the stuff in the story is drawn from personal experiences and the experiences of friends and loved ones, so it isn't like I'm running off the rails with it. :D

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On the annoyance factor of whole story versus serial publication...


First, I think it depends somewhat on the individual story in question. If it is a fun but shallow romp through whatever, picking up the story line with the latest post doesn't really matter that much nor require rereading prior chapters. If the story is one of the rarer "super-stories" whose characters/plot line have captured one's memory permanently, then waiting for the next chapter is agonizingly delicious torture, which the readers must gratefully endure and in which the author smugly and ego-boostingly delights ("The Old Curiosity Shop"'s serially published final chapter's arrival in New York might be an example of this, historically!) If the story is one of the many, well-crafted, engaging stories thoughtfully and tightly developed, then yes, it is great if it is posted all at once, or serially over a shorter period of time. However, whether serially or all at once, it should NOT ever be posted before it is "READY."


By "ready" I mean

Edited by W
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Hmm... I must admit to the 'lie, lay, and lain' bits being one of my downfalls. I have been meaning to look it up for ages, so thanks for that!


Lying as in telling the truth has never been much of a problem, but going to a prone position is something else! Hey we're only human!

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Guest Whatsifsowhatsit

Yeah you know I've recently looked that to lie, to lie, to lay thing up and I knew it now, but I've been confused about it a lot in the past... though it isn't even so hard I suppose...


I never even thought about 'none is' or 'none are'... but now I'm confused... so is it true, can it be either one?


I remember always being annoyed about right/write, their/there/they're and stuff like that (the things I DID understand :blink: )... then once when I posted this story, I found out in the last message I posted under there, I put "...might right" instead of "...might write." And it was just because I was talking out loud in my head, saying "...might write" and was typing it down really fast at the same time, and because it sounded the same, I guess my fingers somehow typed "...might right" instead. And yes, I suppose I forgot to spell-check that part... but in such things it's harder already, because the spell-checker thingy (ehh what's it called) doesn't recognize it as an error. Besides, it was just the underpost thing... what could go wrong with that???? *sarcastic look*


But stuff like except/accept... well those are things that even -I- get annoyed by (well that doesn't sound right after reading this post I think... but I really don't get annoyed so easily... well let's just say I get more annoyed by such things than other things... lol), because the meaning is so different. Sometimes those things show up again and again in stories and like W

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