Just Some Stats: Four Years of Serial Fiction

I posted the first chapter of my first serial, The Dreams, to this blog four years ago today. A lot has changed since then, but a lot has stayed the same.

Let’s look at some stats!

Since August 27, 2015, I have:

  • Posted 155 chapters
  • Completed one serial (The Dreams)
  • Started a second serial (Inbetween)
  • Written 568,214 words
  • Changed my blog’s design once
  • Bought my own domain name

It hasn’t always been easy or fun. There have been periods of major self-doubt. I almost quit a few times. Writing is hard and putting my work online where it can be a full time job to even attract a handful of views can be extremely discouraging. However, I think I made the right choice.

Writing this way works for me. It keeps me on track. I’ve always loved finding stories online and checking in to devour new updates. Now I get to contribute to internet’s library. Some days I check my viewer stats and see someone has read through 30+ chapters in a day. Those moments make me think I must be doing something right.

Where do I plan to go from here? I intend to keep writing! A complete rewrite of The Dreams is coming once I’ve completed it. A brand new serial is in the works too. I think this next year will be particularly exciting with a mix of familiar content and brand new ideas.

I want to keep improving. I’d love to hear from you. What’s working? What isn’t? Is there something you’d love to see more of from me?

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Thinking About CampNaNoWriMo

Maybe it was the spring-like weather we had here yesterday, or maybe it’s just that time again, but I’m thinking about CampNaNoWriMo.

It seems too soon, but April is only a month and a half away. If I don’t come up with a plan soon, I’ll run out of time.

This year I have a bit of a dilemma. Usually I have one or two projects that need my attention during Camp months. I try to pick one and focus on it. Currently I have three.

I’m so close to finishing Inbetween. April might be the perfect month to wrap up the first draft. At this point I’m almost positive I’ll have enough story left to carry me through a reasonable Camp goal.

The Dreams still needs its 3rd draft completed. About half the 3rd draft (100k) is written at this point. I want to get it done this year. It’s another contender for my April CampNaNoWriMo project.

I’m also getting impatient to start my next project. I don’t want to start writing the first draft until I finish Inbetween, but CampNaNoWriMo is flexible enough to allow me to work on planning and outlining instead. The next story has no title at the moment, but it’s going to feature dragons and witches and the story will be guided by tarot readings. It’s going to be so much fun!

Based on the size of the paragraphs above, I think you can see which project I’m currently most excited about. New things are always exciting. It might be more responsible to work toward finishing one of my works in progress.

Is it better to be responsible and work toward completing projects that I’ve been passionate about for years? Or should I work on something shiny and new to hopefully get a word count boost for Camp from the natural high of a new project?

Fortunately, I have some time to consider my options. Camp doesn’t start until April 1, after all. Have you started thinking about April CampNaNoWriMo?

Patreon Goal: Unlocked!

thank you

A few days ago we unlocked a goal over on Patreon!

What is a Patreon goal? It’s a milestone I set that can be reached collectively by my patrons as more people join and more money starts coming in.

I tried to come up with fun perks for my goals so there would be extra incentive to reach them.

We recently passed the first goal! That means my patrons are getting new chapters early now! I’ve already posted the next chapter of Inbetween for them. It’ll be posted over here in a few days. I’m hoping posting chapters early on Patreon will have a snowball effect and soon I’ll have a ton of chapters prepared and posted there and we’ll have a more stable posting schedule here. It should be great for everyone.

In addition to surpassing the first goal this week, we’re only a few dollars away from unlocking the next goal as well. Once the next goal is reached I’m going to start doing a monthly writing livestream.

Some people (you know who you are) have wanted me to do writing streams for a while now. I’ll admit I’m a coward and I’ve avoided trying to set up a stream up until now. It’s something big and scary for me, but I know I can convince myself to try with the proper motivation. Livestreaming as an expression of appreciation and gratitude to the people who believe in and enjoy my writing would be the perfect reason to move outside my comfort zone and just do it.

It’s only January, but I already feel like 2019 is turning out to be a great year for establishing myself more as a writer. There’s a lot of going on behind the scenes and I’m looking forward to sharing more of it here with you when the time is right.

Welcome to my Blog: What to Expect

There’s been a steady trickle of new followers on this blog lately.

I just wanted to say hi! Thanks for deciding to check out my writing. I really appreciate it.

What Posts to Expect?

  • weekly progress reports
  • new chapters of my fantasy serials
  • monthly reading updates
  • NaNoWriMo related posts before and during WriMo events

What Else to Expect?

  • late chapters/a sudden change to my posting schedule
  • rambling in my progress reports
  • I will get excited and nervous every time I see a new comment notification on this blog always

If you just started following this blog in November, you should be warned that this month is a little different from business as usual. I’m working on a new draft of my first serial for NaNoWriMo (in hopes of eventually turning it into a proper book). To focus on getting as much done as possible with The Dreams this month I’ve put Inbetween on hiatus until December.

Be prepared for more posts next month!

Where to review my serials

Did you know there’s a website where you can write reviews for my serials?

Both Inbetween and The Dreams are listed on Web Fiction Guide. The website lists all sorts of completed and ongoing serial novels. It’s a great place to leave a review of my serials since the website is dedicated to this sort of story. If you enjoy serial fiction, it’s a great website to join.

You can leave a review for Inbetween here and reviews for The Dreams can be submitted here.

As always, voting for my serials on Top Web Fiction does wonders for helping new readers discover my serials. Don’t forget to vote for Inbetween each week and show The Dreams some love with a vote as well.

5 Ways to Support My Serials

You’ve read my serials? Great! What should you do next?

Support My Serial Novels!

You don’t need an account to vote. Just pop in every week or so and leave a vote to boost Inbetween and The Dreams up the ranks. Be sure to browse the other serials listed if you’re looking for more reading material.

You will need to make an account to do this, but if you enjoy serial fiction it is worth it! Like Top Web Fiction, people use this site to find new things to read, but on Web Fiction guide there are a lot more categories as well as detailed reviews and ratings of the serials. Both Inbetween and The Dreams are listed on this site as well so please consider leaving a review.

  • Tell your friends – share on social media

This one is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. If you’ve enjoyed my stories tell other readers about them!

I’m sure you’re sick of seeing everyone link to their Patreon pages by now.

Out of all the options provided in this post, this is the only one that doesn’t boil down to giving my writing a signal boost. Right now, Patreon is the best way to financially support my writing. Some day I will have polished up versions of my serials for sale as real books for you to buy, but that day is not here yet. Oh! And joining me on Patreon is the only way to get e-reader files of my serials as they are completed. There are other perks in different pledge tiers so be sure to check it out!

  • Leave a comment on chapters here

This is another one that is exactly what it sounds like. Leaving comments is scary, but I love replying to comments! I promise I’m not mean or scary. Getting feedback, even if you just want to say you liked a particular chapter rather than give an in-depth critique, helps me improve and lets me know people are actually reading and enjoying my writing.

Can you think of something I missed? I’d love to find new ways to promote my work and interact with readers. Tips, tricks and suggestions are more than welcome!

Making Plans for Fall 2017

It’s August already! The year has really been flying by.

Since fall is just around the corner, I thought I should start making some plans for what I would like to accomplish with my writing during the final months of the year. Some of my plans involve staples of the fall season for writers, but others should be completely new and exciting.

I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo, of course. Right now it looks like I’ll be a NaNoRebel again this year. Inbetween is still going strong. I doubt I’ll reach the conclusion of the first draft before November 1. I’m not sure if Inbetween will still have another 50,000 words to go by the time we reach November, but if I finish up the story, I have plenty of other ideas for things to write. If it looks like Inbetween is winding down, I’ll just have to start outlining something new in October.

In September I plan to start writing a new draft of The Dreams. I’m working on the outline for this new draft now. This rewrite will be a Patreon exclusive while I am writing it. My hope is that posting it to a smaller audience of interested individuals will give me the courage to really leave my comfort zone while writing this draft. Looking back over the version I posted, I can tell I was really pulling my punches for certain scenes. I’d like to change that. If you’re interested in following this new evolution of my first serial, be sure to join me on Patreon.

Sometime this fall I’ll also resume my efforts to record a serial audiobook version of The Dreams. The summer thwarted my attempts to record, but once the temperatures are cooler I should be able to close off a room enough to make recording possible. There will be more news about the ETA of this project once I’m able to start recording.

Do you have any projects planned for the fall? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Restraint: Things to Do When Your Draft Needs to Breathe

I’m not allowing myself to touch The Dreams until May. I’m itching to get back into it, but I spent 16 months with my eyes on this story from the start of the first draft to the posting of the final chapter. The story was at the front of my mind for a very, very long time so I feel the need to separate myself from it for a long time as well.

Some people wait a month or two between drafts with great results. If that’s what works for you, that’s great! It’s all about figuring out what works for you, and for me, I need time to clear the story out of my brain. As long as it is still in my mind I won’t be as objective and I’ll read the story I meant to write rather than the one I did write.

I wrote the final scenes of The Dreams in November 2016. The final chapter was revised in December and posted, oddly enough, on my 29th birthday. The story was still churning around in my mind in January and even in February I still found myself thinking about it most days. It’s becoming less common this month. By May I’m hoping my memories of writing it will be more distant and I’ll be ready to look at it objectively.

I’ve been itching to get back into this story since about two weeks after I posted the final chapter. Restraining myself hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve found a few ways to distract myself from the urge to touch the story.

  1. Read

Reading in and out of my favorite genre is a great way to keep my mind busy with stories other than The Dreams. I read for enjoyment, but I also read to learn how to be a better writer.

2. Write

I started writing Inbetween in November and having a new world to fill my mind has been a great help. It’s much better to write something than to sit on my hands while I wait for enough time to pass. Out of all the methods of distracting myself I’ve tried, this one is both the most effective and most productive.

3. Go outside

This one has been a little difficult during the winter months, but going outside and taking a walk is a great way to clear my mind. Going out also allows me to gain new life experiences and those are so important for writing.

4. Listen to music

This one is a little dangerous. Listening to music is a great way to pass the time, but music is a huge well of inspiration for me. When I listen to music I do run the risk of being inspired to write something and there is a chance that something will be the novel I’m trying to forget.

5. Play with animals

I have two cats and four goldfish. They keep me busy whether I’m writing or not. When I find myself wanting to take a peek at The Dreams, my pets are a great way to resist temptation. My cats love to play and my fish seem to appreciate having their aquarium rearranged from time to time.

6. Watch a new season or movie

I often stream old shows and movies as background noise while I do other things, including writing. When I’m trying not to think about The Dreams, I sometimes pick something new to watch that will occupy my attention.

So far these six things have served me well. I’ve managed to resist temptation for three months since I finished posting The Dreams. With about a month and a half to go, I think I’m going to make it.

What do you do when you’re trying to give a draft time to breathe? Do you find it difficult to resist the urge to dive back in or do you relish your time away from your writing?

 

Writing Schedule: Winter 2017 Edition

Last year I wrote about my writing schedule. In the time since I made that post, my schedule has changed a bit.

One significant change I’ve made to my weekly schedule is my revision time. Last year I was dedicating Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to revisions and edits. Having almost half a week to work on such things ended up making me procrastinate a lot. I ended up doing most of the work on Thursday.

Now I only plan to use Thursdays for revisions and editing. Often I end up using time on Friday for revision as well but telling myself that I need to complete it on Thursday is usually enough to push me to really focus on accomplishing my tasks. I’m learning how to trick my brain into being more productive. More time usually means more procrastination.

My goal is still to write or revise every day, but I’m noticing a pattern starting to emerge. I’m usually missing one day of writing a week. More often than not, the day I’m missing is Saturday.

Saturdays are usually my errand days. It’s also the day I post a new chapter. Putting my work out there for the world to see is always an emotionally draining experience. I’m getting better at not panicking over it, but I’m routinely surprised by how much it takes out of me.

Between being out of the house for part of the day and feeling nervous from posting a chapter, I usually end up writing very little on Saturdays. For more than a year I’ve made a point of not taking breaks from my writing. I usually have such a hard time getting back into my work after I allow myself to step away, but now it is happening unintentionally. It’s not a planned break so I feel guilty. Making it an intentional break might relieve some of my guilt.

Looking forward, I might decide to change my routine to allow for Saturdays off from writing every week. For now,  I’m going to continue trying to make writing every single day work. It worked for so long. I don’t want to give up on it just yet.

What does your writing routine look like these days? Are you considering making any changes to it in coming weeks?

Shove it in a Drawer: The Importance of Taking a Break

Ever since I finished writing The Dreams at the tail end of 2016, I’ve been itching to go back and completely rewrite the whole thing.

revise all the things.jpg

Even as I was writing the later chapters I started spotting things I wanted to go back and change. I told myself I had to reach the end before I started messing with the beginning again.

Usually, I’m all for using my enthusiasm for a project as fuel for a monumental task. Going into such a massive undertaking with little or no enthusiasm is a guarantee of failure. In this case, I’m forcing myself to give the draft some space.

 

The Dreams is getting shoved in a digital drawer for a few months.

It sounds cruel to me. This novel is my baby. Well, it was my baby for more than a year. Now I need to shed that attachment. If I was working on a physical copy I would put it in a drawer. Since my work is completely digital I’ve moved the folder out of my direct sight to reduce the temptation to check in on the poor thing.

I need to make sure I forget what I wrote before I read through it all. If the words are still in my head, I’m more likely to read what I meant to write rather than what I actually wrote. Letting it slip from my memory will allow me to see it with fresh eyes.

idiot-wrote-this

Without fresh eyes, I can’t be objective.

I’ve already received some really great feedback on parts of the second draft from readers. I haven’t acted on that feedback yet because I want to look at my own writing without feeling attached to it before I decide if I agree or disagree with each comment and suggestion.

While I’m thinking like the writer I’m more likely to be defensive and excuse something because it was not how I intended it to be. When I’m thinking like a writer the story is my baby and I want to protect it from all the cruel words suggesting it could be improved. Giving myself some time to forget the story will allow me to see it from the perspective of an outsider.

I’m not sure how long of a break I will need. Right now I think I will be ready in the spring, but back in November, I thought I would be ready by February. Whenever I decide I’m ready, I’m confident that the time away will work to my advantage.

Do you take time off from your novel between drafts? What other strategies do you use to look at your work objectively?