This week, we are pleased to have a guest post from Sharon T. Rose who has posted episodes of her serial “Space n Time” to Tuesday Serial. This post resulted from a conversation on Google+ where somebody asked what the deal was with serial fiction. Sharon’s response was so insightful, we invited her to share her thoughts in a guest post. Welcome, Sharon!
“Why I Write Web Serials” by Sharon T. Rose
Writing in serial format is the only reason I write at all. Before I discovered web serials, I thought writing could only be done in novel format. Frankly, that intimidated me. I tried to write a novel and got so bogged down in the minutiae of plotting (which I wasn’t doing right anyway) that I killed the whole story and nearly gave up on writing entirely.
I’d been reading web comics for many years at that point and always looked forward to the next update. Somehow, I never connected online comics with online fiction until I got bored one day and started clicking links. The world opened up to me that evening, and I dove in without a second thought.
The serial format allows me to have regular deadlines of reasonably-sized chunks of writing. It’s not a whole novel all at once, it’s just 1,000 words. Only three times a week. “Sure, I can do that!” Baby steps. Easy!
Putting up a website (made so easy by my wonderful host, digitalnovelists.com) was the boost I needed. Seeing each weekly goal met gave me confidence I lacked before. Realizing that someone other than my family was checking my site regularly gave me the willies (the good kind). The whole thing gave me the practice I’d never let myself have before. After all, why try if you know you’re going to fail?
Because I was so intimidated by writing, because I thought I’d never accomplish anything with it, I never tried. All my stories stayed in my head, locked behind my eyelids as I drifted off to sleep each night. Nobody wanted to hear me talk about them, so I locked them away. And then because of online serials, the floodgates opened.
It’s claimed by “Some People” that to become an expert at anything, you must do it at least a 10,000 times. I’ve updated over 370 times since I started, so I’m getting closer to the goal!
Granted, I’m making a lot of mistakes, and I’m making them in public, where everyone can see them. At this point, the pages I slap up are little more than rough drafts. But I am learning. I’m figuring things out. I’m asking questions, discovering answers, and putting it all together, piece by piece.
There’s also the online writing community to consider. I avoided the internet before I started an online serial. I lurked, praying no one would see me and make me participate. And I never knew that there were other people like me to connect with. I didn’t realize that we could form our own band of brothers and do this writing thing together. And I certainly didn’t think that the internet would help me get readers.
I’ve made some great friends as a result of my serials. I’ve learned invaluable lessons on how to write. I’ve grown and improved and actually finished a trilogy. Nearly 300k words! If I’d started with that goal in sight, with “300k” looming overhead, I would have collapsed under the weight of it. In fact, I did just that once before.
For me, the serial format works. It works very well. Online works even better because I have to be deliberate and consistent with my writing schedule. I can’t just skip an update because I don’t feel like it. In the 2.5 years that I’ve been updating, I’ve missed fewer than 5 updates. How’s that for the person who was afraid to even try?
Sharon T. Rose writes, dreams, and does impossible stuff, like finishing novels and pronouncing alien’s names. She lives under a rock and lurks all over the internet. Sharon is also the author of “No Turning Back” which can be found on Smashwords. You can trip her if you wait long enough at one of these sites: