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Any Tips For Serial Story Postings?


Brayon

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I currently have four projects that are ongoing serial style postings. I have a Beginning, Middle, and End outlined in the stories themselves, but I write and post as "the Spirit Moves Me," as they say. I switch a lot from one to another and post when I have completed a chapter. Reasons behind this are more about my Physical/Mental disabilities than a lack of focus, and I strive to focus on getting a chapter done before moving to one of the other stories.

 

I've found recently, even with an outline, I've been getting a little derailed when it comes to chapters. Directions, I planned and worked on change, and things either expand or head off in a different direction than when I first started. Example: in my story Half-Elven Warlock, the Main Character Devin was not going to have a love interest, but has ended up with a Boyfriend in chapter 4.

 

So to fellow serial writers, any tips, tricks, or advice? Both in general and on the topic of keeping it from going off the rails.

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P A T I E N C E

 

Best advice I can offer.

 

Personally, I won't start posting a story until it's complete or nearly so. I lose interest in a story if updates are infrequent, I don't have time and read from the start to refresh my memory. So I refuse to put my readers through that. You have no idea how many stories I started reading and became upset when the author stopped after a few chapters. It's rare for me to try new authors these days unless I know for certain the story will be finished. I'm certain I'm not the only one who feels this way. I force myself to be patient even though I want to share the latest with readers and patience ain't one of my virtues. Right now I'm working on something which probably won't go live until late next year and it's killing me.

 

I start with a general concept and then outline with more detail until I end up with a spreadsheet listing almost every scene (think of storyboards for a movie). Oh hell yeah, I make changes. But each time something comes up akin to your MC getting a boyfriend, I go back to the outline and scene register and carry the change forward. This keeps me on track when I do start writing again. So, patience to know when I need to pause writing and go back to planning.

 

I also try to discipline myself. In my main series, I could go off in a million different tangents but I try to be patient and concentrate on the goal of the story as originally outlined. Those potential tangent are part of a list with ideas for different stories. I won't touch it until I know I have the time to work through it. I have enough to deal with with a story's writing, beta reading, editing, and revising. That's enough multitasking since with a series there are usually chapters in all those stages.

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I have a similar problem, so maybe not best placed to give advice.  My characters often end up going in directions I hadn't imagined when I started to write them, but as long as the story works, I don't mind.  When I have previously tried to 'force' a character to follow a (beautifully crafted and thought out) plan, it has never gone well.

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It may be that trying to write multiple stories is messing things up. I know that I can't do that. I found when I tried that the different stories interfered with each other. I had to finish one, and then go back to the other to finish that one. I haven't tried to have more than one story going at a time since. Other people can, but I can't. 

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8 hours ago, Graeme said:

It may be that trying to write multiple stories is messing things up. I know that I can't do that. I found when I tried that the different stories interfered with each other. I had to finish one, and then go back to the other to finish that one. I haven't tried to have more than one story going at a time since. Other people can, but I can't. 

Same here - I really struggle to keep more than one story in my head at a time.  Which is obviously why I have three going on at the moment.  Hmmm, what’s that about?

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Since writing is my outlet, my ability to write depends on my mood and how well my mind could take over it. If I am too emotional then the story could easily be thrown off. My outline is always fixed but I focus more on my characters. it's their unpredictability that makes them 'alive' even if they are fictional. Each on-going story represents a certain portion of my life. That's why my ability to write depends on which area do I need to vent out. :P

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I've made the mistake of trying to write a story and put it out each week. Issues arose and stories ended up with months or years before completing. Best thing I can tell you is finish it.  It is easier to go in and expand, cut, or whatever with a good beta and editor, rather than have issues (whether yours or a member of your team) derail the story. You'll become distracted, and your readers will be upset with the delays or stops.

Edited by comicfan
Missed a word
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Ok...what I'm going to tell you here won't be popular with a bunch of readers, but I'm going to be totally honest with you, regardless. And there are readers who will try to bully you so HARD into thinking otherwise, but it's ultimately up to you to figure out if you want them to control your creative voice or not. K?

 

The main question is...WHOSE story is this?

 

Meditate on that for a moment.

 

Please don't think of your writing the same way you think of a chef cooking a meal for someone in the restaurant who is impatiently waiting for you to hurry up and 'serve' them before they get ANGRY and start yelling at you. Just...don't. I'm going to assume that you had something that you truly wanted to say when you started writing. Right? So SAY it. This is your moment. Why are you wasting it? Your heart is trying to put something out there...so give it your all, and immortalize yourself in the message that you were setting out to deliver from the very beginning. TRUST ME!!!! They will fucking WAIT! And if they don't...then it's their loss.

 

The 'pet peeve' they have for unfinished stories? It's the same pet peeve that authors should have for the pressure they put on us for a half ass project. So stick to your guns and do things YOUR way so you can tell the story that you want to tell. K?

 

I write what's in my heart. At that particular moment. Without question. And I channel my deepest emotions into the story I'm writing at the time. I might be writing a 'happy-go-lucky' chapter of a story full of giggles and blushes and good times on Wednesday...but I might have a really SHITTY day on Thursday night. So...what should I do? Let the fans bully me into faking a smile and finishing the chapter in a hurry so they get their fix? Or should I be honest with my art and my craft and channel these feelings into a separate story that's more appropriate that day? At least its honest. Why 'fake' my emotions in order to rush and hurry and FORCE myself to complete a chapter of a story that people are complaining about, but will ultimately criticize me for if it doesn't feel genuine when it's finished?

 

Anyway, I guess I'm just saying...write what you want to write when you want to write it. Period. This is your paintbrush and your palette. Are you trying to express yourself and put your voice out there for others to read? Or are you trying to cater to an audience (for free) with the hopes that they'll give you any love at all once they're done devouring everything you wrote, maybe saying thank you in the end?

 

I can't stress enough how important it is for each and every one of us to express ourselves beyond the need to simply 'entertain'. Don't be a court jester for the status quo. K? You have a voice. Be an ARTIST! The folks who are looking for something awesome will find you. They will follow you. And they will ultimately appreciate you, despite their bully tactics, telling you that they'll stop reading if you don't perform the way they want you to. Trust me...they aren't going anywhere. You've got a plan. Stick to it. And do it the way you planned. Cool?

 

A classic from good ol' Frankie...hehhehe, I can't imagine a song being more appropriate right now. Be a performer...but be an artist first. If you have something to say, then say it. And don't cut corners. Because if you're honest and connect with your audience...they'll wait for you. For YOU, specifically. Remember that.

 

 

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I post when i'm done ... the reader doesnt know i'm done, unless they are close to me and i told them.  And when i am done they will get a chapter a week until until the story is finished. That's how i work. I write for me, but for me to be effective, i need to finish the whole thing.  My last story took me a year to write and edit and finish. It was well received and i'm glad people enjoyed it. 

 

If people dislike a character ... oh well that's how i wrote them and that's how they are.. i dont run around changing my story to be theirs. Shit happens in the world and its gonna happen in the worlds i write. 

 

Write for you .. and i agree with the above.. Do it YOUR way.  Put your BRAVE on. 

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