Thursday, April 26, 2012

Webfiction! Serial Addiction

I tell a lot of people to start webserials. It's possibly my favorite piece of advice. I'm not sure of more than one or two folks who have actually taken that nugget and ran with it, but I keep telling them just the same. I am writing two concurrently, and while my day to day writing tends to take precedence over filling my webserials with regular content, I have never regretted them. Not for a second. 

Webserials are fun. Sometimes when we get to the point where writing is our business, we forget to inject a little fun into the equation. I say, you must never lose it. Webserials also provide free content to your readers, supposedly regular free content, but the reality of that, as in my case, may waver. The also give you a practice ground, a story line to run absolutely amok in. You can experiment here, you can try things out and see what happens. In a never ending (or almost so) story, you can really go wild. I mean, you have all the time in the world to fix it if you find you've gone astray, right? Don't forget the skill involved in keeping a story interesting, keeping it twisting and growing and still hooking the reader over and over. 

A webserial can be your training ground on all fronts. They keep you writing regularly. They may build you a few followers or fans. They can teach you to meet a deadline, keep you learning and growing your craft, and show you things about yourself and your writing you might have missed otherwise. A webserial can be a first introduction to both praise and criticism. They are your words made public, but are fluid enough to allow for some forgiveness and flexible enough to be changed in process. Let's face it, once a book is in print, you're not going to be able to fix something the readers don't care for. You cannot respond to feedback or revise an error at that point. And if you're worried about giving away one of your ideas to the world, well, pick a new one that you're not so invested in. Make it one that you don't see winning you that Hugo. Even so, if it goes well, you can always turn it into an ebook or POD later. 

Serialized fiction has been around for so long. The Pulps did it. Magazines and Newspapers have ran them over the years. Now the internet has just picked up the long-standing tradition. 

Why not give one a try?


Anonymous said...

I recently started doing a fiction series on my blog.

I. Love. It.

It is such a fun way to write and exercise my creative muscles. I get the readers involved at the end of each installment, letting them have some say in where the story goes.

I agree. If someone loves to write, it is well worth the try.

Ren said...

Yes, its a great way to stretch your imagination without fitting into certain guidelines :)

Frances Pauli said...

I do love the freedom to stretch. And letting the readers chime in is a great idea!
Thanks for commenting to both of you.

The Daring Novelist said...

I think the reason web serials have a bad name is because a lot of people just throw out a book (not written to be a serial) and chop it up into pieces.

I never really thought about an on-going serial, designed from the ground up to be on the web, and to be sustainable and interesting episode to episode....

Well, okay, I've thought about it, but not seriously because it's darned scary. And it was scarier when I was a newbie who didn't have the skills I have now.

I realize that now I could do this. Not only that, but I have several books and ideas which are really suited toward it! (I think it's how my imagination runs sometimes.)

One of those ideas actually takes place in a world inspired by old silent movie serials and fiction of that time. It's code named "The Serial."

I decided to write the first arc of that story in serial form -- as an experiment -- every Monday, starting on the 7th.

(I have to admit, though, that I'm now extra excited to hear that you run more than one at a time. I have too many ideas.)