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Is anyone writing serials/serializing their novel on the web?


Recently I've grown really interested in the concept of writing a serial. I mean it as an actual serial, not just serializing a novel, but I'm curious about both, to be honest. Does anyone here have experience with either of these routes? I'm curious to hear what it's been like for you.

I'm particularly interested in the planning process -- how far you plan ahead, whether you write fresh for each posting or have a buffer of things already written, whether readers impact the story direction, etc.

I'm also curious about how to launch it/gain an audience, but I'm trying not to worry about that too much yet -- explore the art form first, then worry about the self-promotion aspect of it :p


I started doing this awhile ago and hit a rut and the project fell behind. I've been trying to work up to doing it again but there are a lot of other projects in the way first.

I kind of treated it as similar to a soap opera (the formula, not the actual writing) where there were multiple stories occuring at the same time across the world and the characters would cross paths.

Each entry was a different part of the day, so say Entry A was at noon and Entry B would be after that, etc...

It's a lot of work. I tried to keep ahead, but that kind of schedule can be very grueling. It's probably best to have a TON of work already done and waiting so you have a backlog to help for those times when get writers' block, sick, things come up (traveling for work, vacations, emergencies, etc..). The worse thing that can happen to an ongoing serial is a pause in new content.


toujours gai, archie
A serial is incredibly difficult to write. You have to be good at structuring on two different levels--one for the full length and the other for each self-contained entry. Instead of one deadline for the full work, you create a whole track of deadlines, so you'd better be good at hitting deadlines.

And you have to be good at writing for both levels. Know how to hook them not just once, but twenty five times (or however long the serial is). How to create characters and situations memorable enough that the reader will take time to return every week or month.

But you've got the chops, go for it. Does anyone have some good online examples for our foolish, er, ambitious friend? ;-)


I currently have a comic serialized in each new issue of Fantasy Scroll Magazine, which is a bi-monthly publication.

It runs six pages at a time, which does affect the storytelling. I need to tell a story each issue in those six pages, but I also need it to fit into the larger, overall story that has been planned.

I started by planning the entire story out beginning to end, then decided how many installments (of six pages each) it would take to finish the story. I then write a summary for each six-page installment. I generally have the script for the next two installments written as one is being published. For example, part 8 just ran. My (awesome and talented) artist is already drawing part 9, and I already have the script for part 10 written. When I get the art for part 9, I will give the artist the script for part 10, and write/finalize the script for part 11.

I know this is a comic and the question was about serializing prose, but I think the process is generally the same. You need to plan out everything in advance, have a long vision, and stick to your own deadlines so it does not fall behind.