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How do you decide how often to post?

doctor_wing_nut

This is aimed at those authors that post completed works, along with a special Thank You for finishing what you started. I think most of us have been frustrated by becoming invested in a story and then having to wait weeks or months for the next installment. So, if you have a finished work, how do you decide when to post? I've heard various rationales, like every two or three days to stay on the 'updated' page, or weekly to give readers a predictable schedule, or all at once.

What schedule do you use, and why?

Crumbly Writer

@doctor_wing_nut

Ernest likes to dump his stories, so he'll schedule a chapter a day until the story finishes. In my case, I like to schedule to fit my next story, so if I have another story close, I'll post more chapters. If I'm behind schedule, I'll only post a single chapter a week. Though I'll typically leave a month or two between postings, even in the best of times.

I'm currently holding off posting my latest book to SOL because the sequel is still so far off (it's currently in editing, but my editors only have access to the first 15 chapters out of 23). That's part of the problem with writing longer stories.

What you typically see with the month/months long delays in postings is when the 'post each chapter as they write it' authors often run out of steam, especially if they have no specific end in sight for the story. They essentially lose momentum, as they aren't sure how the story will ever resolve, and they lose enthusiasm as they have no ultimate end goal in sight. That's why many of us 'old timers' stress writing towards the end, even when it takes a long time to reach that end.

My very first online post was a 6 book series, but when I first started, I know how the story would end, even when I didn't know the precise details about how the end would occur. That way, every story development somehow foreshadows the ultimate end of the story. You're writing to the conclusion, rather than merely writing to finish yet another chapter. During the editing phase, if a chapter doesn't advance the plot (move the story towards it's completion), it'll most likely be cut as immaterial to the story.

Replies:   Joe Long  Ernest Bywater
Joe Long

@doctor_wing_nut

I haven't finished mine yet, and in the last year have been grossly guilty of writing promptly enough to permit adequate updates, but I have studied the system.

I'd recommend every six days. Stories are ranked by the last seven day's downloads. For example, if you post on Monday the number of downloads used for ranking will climb through Sunday and then drop on the eighth day, the next Monday.

Putting a new chapter up on the last day will bring in more readers and prevent the count from dropping back.

A good first week will likely get one's ranking into the teens where it's very visible to readers. Preventing it from dropping will work to attract even more readers, so that the ranking (and visibility) might only increase.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Joe Long


I'd recommend every six days. Stories are ranked by the last seven day's downloads. For example, if you post on Monday the number of downloads used for ranking will climb through Sunday and then drop on the eighth day, the next Monday.

In other words, your posting schedule shifts by a full day each week it posts. Do you have a specific first post day, or do you simply post every sixth day? (I may have to try that technique, just to see whether it makes a difference or not.)

My basic philosophy has always been to post on specific days, so readers always know when to check in for the newest story (so they aren't fumbling for a story which isn't there).

Replies:   Joe Long
Joe Long

@Crumbly Writer

My basic philosophy has always been to post on specific days, so readers always know when to check in for the newest story (so they aren't fumbling for a story which isn't there).


That's sound for matters of reliability. The story may take a hit on download count on the day you post the next installment.

Posting very quickly will likely max the download counts, thus boosting the rankings, but it will shorten the time span from first to last.

I'd say no longer than 7 days. Perhaps you could do twice a week on fixed days (such as Monday & Friday)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Joe Long

@Crumbly Writer

What you typically see with the month/months long delays in postings is when the 'post each chapter as they write it' authors often run out of steam, especially if they have no specific end in sight for the story. They essentially lose momentum, as they aren't sure how the story will ever resolve, and they lose enthusiasm as they have no ultimate end goal in sight. That's why many of us 'old timers' stress writing towards the end, even when it takes a long time to reach that end.


In my case it's a lack of time, with an office job and an expanding home business. I'm also sill somewhat obsessive/compulsive, so instead of working on the scene in progress, I've found myself drawn to both the beginning and end of the book, making sure they properly bookend the story.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Ernest likes to dump his stories, so he'll schedule a chapter a day until the story finishes.


Actually, I post what I call a SoL chapter (about 5,000 to 10,000 words) every other day so the readers get a decent read with each posting and don't have to wait ages for the story to finish appearing. I realise I could get more downloads by spreading them further apart, but I don't bother with that.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Joe Long

I'd say no longer than 7 days. Perhaps you could do twice a week on fixed days (such as Monday & Friday)

That's typically what I do, so I'm set. I'm curious, though, whether this consistently achieves higher scores (likely requiring someone with a few books already posted to test). It wouldn't be any harder to post every six days, but it transfers the responsibility of tracking the dates from the author to the reader.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Actually, I post what I call a SoL chapter (about 5,000 to 10,000 words) every other day so the readers get a decent read with each posting and don't have to wait ages for the story to finish appearing. I realise I could get more downloads by spreading them further apart, but I don't bother with that.

Spreading the time out further (less often than every other day) would also boost your scores, as the longer the story posts, the more people likely to discover it on the "New Stories List" (see the increased scores of long-running stories for evidence).

Headmaster

I've only just joined and have uploaded a prologue and two chapters - an upload every other day and will continue to do so until the story is finished (there will be another 4 or 5).

I think my rationale for not dumping the whole lot in one go is that I wanted to ensure people were enjoying it before committing so much time to writing. Difficult either way though. I love receiving feedback and comments so having a period of regular updates ensures it is kept relatively high on the stream, thus hopefully ensuring the story gets a wider audience. Ole helpful

robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

Spreading the time out further (less often than every other day) would also boost your scores, as the longer the story posts, the more people likely to discover it on the "New Stories List" (see the increased scores of long-running stories for evidence).

I can see the reason the number of votes will increase the longer a story is listed. But why would its score rise?

Replies:   Joe Long
Joe Long

@robberhands

Rankings are based on downloads during the last 7 days.

For a story to be downloaded, it has to be on the site, folks have to aware of it, and to have not read it yet.

The more unread chapters are available in a given 7 day period, the more downloads and the higher the score.

The higher the score, the more likely people will notice it and give it a try, further boosting the score.

You can aim for a high peak of short duration, or a lesser peak that's more spread out.

My opinion is if a story is on the top 50 list at all it's in the public's eye and has a chance to be read. If it's in the top 15 or 20 it has an even better chance.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Spreading the time out further (less often than every other day) would also boost your scores, as the longer the story posts, the more people likely to discover it on the "New Stories List" (see the increased scores of long-running stories for evidence).


Maybe it would, and maybe it wouldn't. I typically write between 50,000 to 120,000 words per story, at an average of around 8,000 words per post that means about 14 to 30 days to post a story. Since I don't live for the scores or the downloads, if it does affect to scores or not doesn't worry or interest me at all. I base my posting spacing on what should interest a reader - which is where my interests lay.

Also, after the first chapter is posted at SoL I upload all the rest of the chapters into the Wizard with future dates so I don't have to remember to be home to post on schedule. Being every other day is very easier to calculate the next date to set in the Wizard's posting schedule. Thus it's easier for me to do the posting.

Ernest Bywater

@Joe Long

The more unread chapters are available in a given 7 day period, the more downloads and the higher the score.


I've not seen any real evidence of a higher download rate meaning a higher score, however, since the number of votes on a story tend to be a fairly consistent percentage of downloads, then the high the number of downloads the higher the number of votes for a story would seem logical - be they high scoring votes or lower scoring votes than the first ones is yet to be determined.

Personally, I think there are number of people who start to read a story when it's being posted and they vote on each chapter, as more story is presented they think the story is better, and thus they amend their vote upward. In this situation if their initial vote was a 6 and they change it to a 7, then the score is adjusted for one less 6 and one extra 7 since the newer vote replaces the older vote in the system - it tracks what vote you made on a story before. This would result in the vote going up over time, but it would happen that way if you posted once a week, once a month, or every day.

Replies:   Joe Long
robberhands

@Joe Long

The more unread chapters are available in a given 7 day period, the more downloads and the higher the score.

That's what CW postulated too, but I can't see a correlation between the number of votes and its score. Well, let me be more precise. Why should a score rise just because many readers vote on it, instead of just a few? If a hundred people score a story or a thousand readers do it, it shouldn't be of any significance to the height of the score.

Joe Long

@Ernest Bywater

I've not seen any real evidence of a higher download rate meaning a higher score


I wasn't talking about reader's votes of how ell they liked the story - only how to keep the story visible to maximize the probability that people would consider reading it.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@robberhands

I can't see a correlation between the number of votes and its score.

I can see the likelihood over time that those who abandon stories do not cast a final lower vote, but some of those who stick with a story may increase their vote. That would result in a tendency for scores to gradually increase over time.

There also seems to be enough who vote on every chapter for CW to detect from fluctuations in scores when readers enjoy his exciting chapters more than the slower paced ones.

robberhands

@Ross at Play

I can see the likelihood over time that those who abandon do not cast a final lower vote, but some of those who stick with a story may increase their vote. That would result in a tendency for scores to gradually increase over time.

Yes, that's the effect of long running serials. But the way I understood CW, he implied that spreading out the period posting a story will increase its score, no matter its length, or number of chapters.

Ross at Play

@robberhands

But the way I understood CW, he implied ...

Ask him. I postulated an hypothesis and have nothing to add.

A puzzler ... I tried to write 'a' instead of 'an' before 'hypothesis', but I couldn't do it. It just sounded too awful to me.
I thought we discussed this recently. I thought we'd agreed on some principles without a major shit fight, basically:
(a) words beginning with an 'h' sound use the indefinite article 'a', not 'an'.
(b) the list of words beginning with a silent 'h' is very short. As I recall it the English words were just hour, honest, heir, honour, and the American pronunciation of herb. There were some other words with foreign origins, mostly French.

Does anyone else think 'a hypothesis' sounds wrong, and 'an hypothesis' sounds better?

robberhands

@Ross at Play

Ask him.

I did.

Regarding your puzzler; 'a hypothesis' sounds fine to me.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@robberhands

Regarding your puzzler; 'a hypothesis' sounds fine to me.


'A hypothesis' is what I'd say/write too. But then it was pointed out that we Brits aspirate 'h' more than some other nationalities. As an editor, I wouldn't correct 'an hypothesis' other than for inconsistency, but to my ear it sounds affected.

AJ

Ross at Play

Thanks. I just had a brain fart.
'A hypothesis' sounded okay once I pronounced with 'hipe'. It was only when I pronounced it with 'hai' that it sounded too jerky.

StarFleet Carl

@doctor_wing_nut

This is aimed at those authors that post completed works, along with a special Thank You for finishing what you started.


I'm NOT one of those - but I've been posting every single Thursday night (local time) for more than a year with the next chapter. It helped that up until this week I had at least a two or three chapter buffer so I COULD post every week.

The reason I no longer have the buffer is that this Thursday will be the final chapter in my story - and I'm still writing it, even tonight. It's not that the muse has left me - it's that real time (tm) has intervened and is causing me fits.

Having said that, I think that posting once a week, or maybe twice a week, with a finished story, is good. When I re-edit my story (I'd like to think that my writing skills have improved over the last year, so I need to go back to the first chapters and re-do them.) I plan on posting twice per week for the re-post.

Any new stories I write - and yeah, I've a couple of them in the plotting / planning stage - will be posted twice per week, because as much as it pains me to admit CW is right, he is right. Now I'd rather wait six months and get a new story totally done and then post it instead of fighting deadlines, even if they were only self-imposed ones.

Ross at Play

@StarFleet Carl

as much as it pains me to admit CW is right, he is right. Now I'd rather wait six months and get a new story totally done and then post it instead of fighting deadlines

Yeah. It pains us all when we need to do that.
I suggest to authors I edit for that they start posting their first story as soon as they have a buffer they think they can maintain.
For their following story I suggest completing the writing first.
You go to the top of my class. :-)
My reason is that no matter how much an author's first story may impress others, the author will learn from writing it. In later years they'll cringe at the mistakes they see when they re-read it.
Authors may as well get their first one out there ASAP and learn as much as possible from readers' feedback.
I suggest you don't attempt to revise your first story, yet, and I understand an author's first story is dear to their heart.
I suggest waiting until after you complete your second, or fifth, story. You may then decide to completely rewrite it and know how to. It's almost inevitable it will have some problems that are beyond fixing. Also, very few people would read a revised version you posted now.
I suggest you'll learn more by starting something new.

doctor_wing_nut

@Ross at Play

Does anyone else think 'a hypothesis' sounds wrong, and 'an hypothesis' sounds better?


Yes, please.

Just like 'an halibut'.

:]

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

That's what CW postulated too, but I can't see a correlation between the number of votes and its score.

I was basing my opinion on the fact that ongoing serials (which remain before the public for longer periods, rather than being 'better written', by and large, typically achieving much higher scores than shorter stories. That has nothing to do with how frequently you post, after all, many of those stories post monthly, or even less often than that. You can theorize your own rationale for that phenomenon, but I see 'remaining in the public eye' as being a major objective. Posting your entire story in a week or two, by this metric, seems less productive, though I can't offer any metrics defining that belief.

The other thing I've noticed is that an initial score (based largely on the first couple chapters) often define the future scores. The scores may raise over time, but they're unlikely to change a great deal. This is evidenced by how the same story will often scored differently when posted to different sites, and the fact that each store remains largely intact over the life of the story. If you score well initially, your story is likely to be successful, while if it scores poorly (for whatever reason, a bad story being one of them), it's unlikely to suddenly shoot up to the top of the charts.

Typically, when a story finishes the people who have stuck with it will vote on the story as a whole, taking into account the ending, and the score will rise, for about a day or two. At that point, more voters will descend, those who weren't interested enough to read it while it was posting, and the score will drop (I assume, without any proof) simply because you now get more people not as committed to the basic premise voting their displeasure over the story content ('not quite what I was looking for').

Yet, the score tends to rise over time, regardless of how long it ever initially posted. So there's that to consider too.

Replies:   Joe Long
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

There also seems to be enough who vote on every chapter for CW to detect from fluctuations in scores when readers enjoy his exciting chapters more than the slower paced ones.

That's especially vital in discovering particular issues. We all know, long before we post, which are the most exciting chapters. Hell, I typically try to schedule my posts so the most exciting chapters, things like cliffhangers, happen on Thursdays, so readers have to wait for the next chapter the following week. But what's most important is when a chapter's scores tank for reasons you didn't anticipate, or when the score spikes for no apparent reasons (maybe a new character than resonates with readers). Then you should sit up and take notice, figuring out what changed to sway readers' opinions.

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

Yes, that's the effect of long running serials. But the way I understood CW, he implied that spreading out the period posting a story will increase its score, no matter its length, or number of chapters.

If you post 20 chapters in a single week, then those who frequent the "New Updates" page only have a few days to ever notice it. If it stays up longer, it's more likely to be discovered while it's still posting, which should affect it's later scores. That's how visibility raises scores. If a reader quits a story, his score will never improve, and when a reader finishes a story, it's unlikely he'll think any more of it a year from now than he will when it first ends. The difference, then, will be new readers, not the existing limited number of readers changing their scores.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I prefer "a hypothesis", though I typically prefer a plurality of hypotheses. That way you can pick those you prefer the most! 'D

Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

Now I'd rather wait six months and get a new story totally done and then post it instead of fighting deadlines, even if they were only self-imposed ones.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a firm believer in deadlines, but it's easier to maintain when you have the chapters already in the can. I typically believe in writing (at least one) new chapter for every one you post, revising another, and editing a third. If you post 2 chapters every week, that means working on six chapters each week. If real life intervenes, you can sit on it for a few days, but at the end of the week, you know you've got to put in the time. (And if you don't, you can still post anyway.) But it helps keeps the fire to your feet, forcing you to dance when many simply decide they're 'too busy' to write, and thus never finish anything beyond their first book.

StarFleet Carl

@Ross at Play

My reason is that no matter how much an author's first story may impress others, the author will learn from writing it. In later years they'll cringe at the mistakes they see when they re-read it.
Authors may as well get their first one out there ASAP and learn as much as possible from readers' feedback.
I suggest you don't attempt to revise your first story, yet, and I understand an author's first story is dear to their heart.
I suggest waiting until after you complete your second, or fifth, story. You may then decide to completely rewrite it and know how to. It's almost inevitable it will have some problems that are beyond fixing. Also, very few people would read a revised version you posted now.
I suggest you'll learn more by starting something new.


Okay, now this is REALLY annoying - I have to admit that you're right, too. You've actually just suggested exactly what I was planning on doing.

Man, what's the world coming to? :)

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

It's almost inevitable it will have some problems that are beyond fixing. Also, very few people would read a revised version you posted now.
I suggest you'll learn more by starting something new.

That sounds good, in theory, but my earliest stories have always been my consistent highest scorers and biggest sellers, despite how much I've improved my techniques and raised my standards. It's reached the point, I'm terrified of 'mucking' with my earlier stories by improving them, for fear they won't be as popular. On the other hand, those earlier stories' scores are putting my more recent efforts to shame (I finally addressed this, by moving The Catalyst to Premiere status, where it'll continue to generate reads, but will encourage more people to purchase copies while also reducing (hopefully) the lower scores of my later stories.

As always, it's hard to know how these schemes work out in real time, and to make up for removing the stories from those who can't afford them, I'm shifting the free versions to another SOL site, but the sales of Catalyst while they've always been strong, have been stronger since I first implemented this change.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

Man, what's the world coming to? :)

Even pigs turn up treasures when rooting around in their mud-filled sties. 'D You don't have to spend all your time in the mud to reap their few decent ideas.

Ross at Play

@StarFleet Carl

Okay, now this is REALLY annoying - I have to admit that you're right, too.

There must be some good German word my delight at reading that.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

There must be some good German word my delight at reading that.

Bescheidenheit?

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

I finally addressed this, by moving The Catalyst to Premiere status

Just to be annoying ... What used to be called Premiere Membership is now called Premier Membership, after I informed Lazeez that 'premiere' meant first performance and 'premier' highest quality.
How much writing had you done before the Catalyst series? My theory was the numerous authors known for never publishing anything as good as their first novel probably had a lot of practice at failing before their first success.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play

@robberhands

Bescheidenheit?

Ich? Bescheidenheit? Niemals!

Enjoyment at being told you were right is not 'modesty'.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

Enjoyment at being told you were right is not 'modesty'.

Ok, if modesty isn't a feeling familiar to you how about 'Glückseligkeit'?

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@robberhands

Is selbstgefällig right for smug and gloating?

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

Is selbstgefällig right for smug and gloating?

Yep.

Joe Long

@Crumbly Writer

The other thing I've noticed is that an initial score (based largely on the first couple chapters) often define the future scores. The scores may raise over time, but they're unlikely to change a great deal.


I found that chapters 3+ of my story scored substantially the same, although all were better than chapters 1 or 2

Chapter, Votes, Score

1 42 7.48
2 30 7.77
3 47 8.85
4 35 8.34
5 27 8.74
6 25 8.60
7 14 8.79
8 6 8.83
9 13 8.69
10 9 8.22

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

How much writing had you done before the Catalyst series? My theory was the numerous authors known for never publishing anything as good as their first novel probably had a lot of practice at failing before their first success.

It's funny you should ask. After asking me about my 'abandoned story' collection, I started nosing around (looking for versions of stories I recalled writing but couldn't find) and found a series of short stroke stories I wrote before ever posting anything. There were 26, ranging in size from 2,000 to 9,000 words, including 3 in a series (all uncompleted) which had a 17,000 word version. There's no telling how many I deleted outright, and many of those dated a full eight years before I posted Catalyst.

So yeah, I invested some time trying to come up with a story, before deciding to abandon the stroke story format and instead moving towards something with a little more meat on it's bones.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@Joe Long

I found that chapters 3+ of my story scored substantially the same, although all were better than chapters 1 or 2

Traditionally, your first few chapters—which should be your strongest writing—are often your weakest, since you haven't gotten into the story yet and are still unfamiliar with how to approach it.

Given those scores, you might want to revisit those first couple chapters. Since you know what happens, I'd do like Hemingway did, and start from scratch and write a completely new version (no revisions) and see which version you like the best.

Note: Keep in mind, I've never been able to do that myself, as I generally hate throwing away the elements I already love. But I must say, when I first wrote Catalyst, I ended up abandoning the story because of story conflicts and rewrote an entirely new story. Unfortunately, in went in a completely new direction I couldn't use, but that extra time spend exploring possibilities made the eventual revision I did must stronger and compelling, as I learned much more about the characters than I would have if I'd just bludgeoned through on my initial draft.

But, if you're getting solid 8s, I wouldn't bitch (is this a 'humble whine'?). Even the upper 7s aren't bad, as those scores were probably influenced by early votes by readers uninterested in the basic story premise.

Replies:   Ross at Play  Joe Long
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

I found a series of short stroke stories I wrote before ever posting anything ... (many) dated a full eight years before I posted Catalyst.

So, if after 15 months I've already posted 1,800 words, I'm running ahead of schedule. :-)

I note you said Catalyst, your first posted story/series, is still your highest scoring and/or best seller. I liked the answer Joseph Heller gave when asked why he'd never written anything else as good as Catch-22. "Who has?"

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

I've never been able to do that myself, as I generally hate throwing away the elements I already love.

In other words ... I'm no murderer, but YOU should murder YOUR darlings. :-)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
robberhands

@doctor_wing_nut

This is aimed at those authors that post completed works, along with a special Thank You for finishing what you started. I think most of us have been frustrated by becoming invested in a story and then having to wait weeks or months for the next installment.

I think I've read all the arguments you and others voiced as to why it's better to first complete your stories before submitting it to be posted. I don't disagree with most of them, but I also know some good reasons to write and post as you go. Maybe they are just my personal feelings on the matter, but I doubt it. I only want to name the most important reason - motivation. Writing a story you already finished in your mind can become quite boring at times, at least it was to me. So it's very likely I never would have finished my story without the support, compliments, and yes, even the pressure and demands readers directed towards me. For someone who doesn't rely on writing to support his living, this motivation is a very valuable.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@robberhands

So it's very likely I never would have finished my story without the support, compliments, and yes, even the pressure and demands readers directed towards me.

A very pertinent point I think.
Most of us here would not be active on these forums if not for our wide streak of perfectionism. But perfectionism does have a habit of colliding head-on with practicalities - especially when it comes to suggesting others follow what has worked for us.
I'm going to revise the opinion I expressed earlier, and StarFleet Carl agreed with.
I would now say:
- You will learn more if you post your first lengthy story, or two, as you write to get feedback early, and then post only after you complete stories.
- You will learn most by doing whatever it takes to post completed stories. :-)

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

In other words ... I'm no murderer, but YOU should murder YOUR darlings. :-)

I'm saying it's a technique espoused by many phenomenal authors, but few of us struggling authors are brave enough to attempt it ourselves. I supplied the suggestion, then cautioned how rarely it's actually applied. I consider that 'fully informed' advice. 'D It's hoping that new readers may succeed where I've repeatedly failed (on many fronts).

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ernest Bywater

A few people have mentioned the feedback is their motivation to keep writing a story they're posting as they write. I find the feedback on a finished story helps me to keep motivated to write new stories. However, there are a few reasons I don't post while I write, and the big ones are:

1. The ability to go back and change something if I think I'm writing myself into a corner - too often stories where that happens end up with the inactive and incomplete tag.

2. Many readers send me feedback along the lines of I think you should have character X do this and that - being able to tell them the story is complete means I don't have to get into a dialogue as to why I won't be doing as they suggest. Mind you, some will come back and say something might be good for a sequel, but those are a lot rarer than the ones who want to tell me where to go with the story while it's being posted. I often wonder how some of the other authors handle those people.

3. I can put the completed story out as an e-pub on Lulu while it's still being posted at SoL and some impatient readers will go to Lulu and pay for it - which means I have some money to help support my editors. yes, I sell my stories and usually end up giving most of the money aware to some friends and editors due to a banking issue.

NB: I now sell some books via Lulu for other authors as well, and I pass on to them the money made from the sales after Lulu takes out their cut and the US withholding tax, so I get nothing from them, but the authors do.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

I'm saying it's a technique espoused by many phenomenal authors

I know, and I know their right, but sadly I'm not a murderer either. :-)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I would now say:
- You will learn more if you post your first lengthy story, or two, as you write to get feedback early, and then post only after you complete stories.
- You will learn most by doing whatever it takes to post completed stories. :-)

That's especially apt, as few of us ever expect our stories to be popular (i.e. appeal to many readers). Thus getting feedback reassures you that your ideas are worth exploring.

In my case, I decided to explore issues (incest, past-lives, multi-dementionalism) along with techniques (complex sentences, complex ($10 words), more common in pre-1950's novels). As such, I didn't particularly care whether the stories appealed to anyone else or not, as I was writing the kind of story I couldn't find in a bookstore.

I'd further qualify your response to include: "... but keep your first story relatively short (less than 50+ chapters), so you can get a better feel for what works and what doesn't before committing years of your life to a single story. I've noted that many authors who begin with such stories rarely write any others, frequently burning themselves out in the process and suffering substantial writers' block afterwards. Like Ross's Joseph Heller example, after producing such a phenomenal work, why even attempt another?

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Mind you, some will come back and say something might be good for a sequel, but those are a lot rarer than the ones who want to tell me where to go with the story while it's being posted. I often wonder how some of the other authors handle those people.

I've found I'm often able to apply the 'fixes' to sequels, much more easily than I can add them to existing stories (and I often do). Hell, the entire premise of Speaking With Your Demons was based on some off-the-cuff reactions from an editor who had better ideas than my main character (in The Demons Within) had.

3. I can put the completed story out as an e-pub on Lulu while it's still being posted at SoL and some impatient readers will go to Lulu and pay for it

What's more, many SOL readers will wait until the entire story is posted (for free) and they've already finished reading it before they purchase the book as a way to encourage the author to continue writing. As you said, I then invest that money back into the next book, trying to make my books better to 'pay the money forward'.

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

Like Ross's Joseph Heller example, after producing such a phenomenal work, why even attempt another?

I read his second published novel, Something Happened. As I recall, for about 500 pages in which nothing happened, it was an enjoyable read.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I know, and I know their right, but sadly I'm not a murderer either. :-)

Alas, if I could, I'd slaughter ALL my children! I may love them, but it's only fear that prevents me from ripping their little hearts out! (You should know, having seen how many story's I've developed only to abandon them to other more pressing story ideas.)

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Alas, if I could, I'd slaughter ALL my children! I may love them, but it's only fear that prevents me from ripping their little hearts out! (You should know, having seen how many story's I've developed only to abandon them to other more pressing story ideas.)


That's why I have so many slow cooking on the back burners. A slow roasting will do them good.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

That's why I have so many slow cooking on the back burners. A slow roasting will do them good.

It also improves their flavor when you finally do slaughter them! 'D

StarFleet Carl

@Ross at Play

I'm going to revise the opinion I expressed earlier, and StarFleet Carl agreed with.
I would now say:
- You will learn more if you post your first lengthy story, or two, as you write to get feedback early, and then post only after you complete stories.
- You will learn most by doing whatever it takes to post completed stories. :-)


Dammit, Ross, quit that. You're making too much sense on here. Go back to your nitpicking and arguing about little stuff that doesn't matter. Because your revision sounds even better and I'm agreeing with you.

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, I suppose...

:)

Joe Long

@Crumbly Writer

Given those scores, you might want to revisit those first couple chapters. Since you know what happens, I'd do like Hemingway did, and start from scratch and write a completely new version (no revisions) and see which version you like the best.


That's what I'm doing. I'm about 65% through with 22 scenes remaining, but have skipped ahead to do rough drafts of the final few scenes, and then went back to redo the first chapter to properly bookend it with the end and to make sure I introduce the MC and his world properly.

*Those are the raw, unadjusted scores for each chapter that I logged in a spreadsheet

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Joe Long

*Those are the raw, unadjusted scores for each chapter that I logged in a spreadsheet

That's what I assumed, which also explains the lower scores for the first chapters, as it typically takes readers a little while to get into the heart of the story where the essential conflicts become obvious. Before that, you're often painting the scenario that's about to radically change in one way or another.

Replies:   Joe Long
Lumpy

I do once a week, but since I have 2 current active stories, I do them on different days. After my first story, which I did the "I have no plan for what I'm doing" I've started writing complete stories/books and only posting when it's done. This makes sure that the story/book finishes, since I load up every chapter on the weekly schedule.

It also allows me to go through editing, make changes as I get further into the book and realize I need to make alterations, go through beta reading and make more changes, etc.

I do get emails from people mad that I have the whole book but space it out 1 chapter a week, but like Crumbly, I do part of that to give me the time to write the next thing. Otherwise I'd post it all up at once and then go silent for months while I write the next installment, and people would forget about me.

doctor_wing_nut
Updated:

As a reader (selfish, harpy, impatient bastards that we are) I think once a week is too little, if it's a finished work. If I'm reading a once-a-week posting I find I often have to back up to re-read the last portion of a chapter to get caught up again, and I find the story loses a bit of impact with the discontinuity. Personally I think twice a week works well, and keeps me invested in the work. That said, I am grateful for those CONSISTENT once-a-week installments, when I can pretty much count on getting my update fix, so this is just a comment and not a complaint. However, I will say that once an author leaves me hanging for an extended period of time, I am very reluctant to read any of their other offerings, and I won't score a story like that until it eventually finishes (if ever).

Cmsix is/was the king of the unfinished story, but since they were almost all just aborted versions of the same basic plot, they were easy to ignore.

Replies:   helmut_meukel
Joe Long

@Crumbly Writer

That's what I assumed, which also explains the lower scores for the first chapters, as it typically takes readers a little while to get into the heart of the story where the essential conflicts become obvious.


Right. Some people read the first chapter or two, decide not to go further, and perhaps give it a 6 or 7. Other stick with it and after the third chapter give it a 9 or 10

helmut_meukel

@doctor_wing_nut

In general I feel like you, twice a week seems optimal for me. But this depends on the size of the chapters, too.
It's my impression most chapters submitted to SOL are not really chapters in the sense of chapters of printed books, rather hacked of chunks of text from what would have been a chapter in a printed book.

HM.

Replies:   robberhands  Joe Long
robberhands

@helmut_meukel

So 'twice a week seems optimal' for you to read 'hacked of chunks of text from what would have been a chapter in a printed book'?

Luckily for the chunk writing authors, that doesn't sound like you're a demanding type of reader.

Joe Long

@helmut_meukel

It's my impression most chapters submitted to SOL are not really chapters in the sense of chapters of printed books, rather hacked of chunks of text from what would have been a chapter in a printed book.


I started doing long form (not stroke) stories at xnxx and followed the pattern I saw there of releasing 8-10k words at a time, which included 3 or 4 'scenes.'

The system here calls them chapters, but I've come to think of them as releases and chapters instead of chapters and scenes. One story I've been reading online had a 49k word 'chapter' last year (and he wrote it in less than 4 weeks, and it was still good)

robberhands

@Joe Long

One story I've been reading online had a 49k word 'chapter' last year (and he wrote it in less than 4 weeks, and it was still good)

Do you think that'd usually be too fast to produce a good result?

Replies:   Joe Long
Joe Long

@robberhands

Do you think that'd usually be too fast to produce a good result?


Usually I'd say absolutely yes, but this guy is good (jashley13's She Is the One now on AFF, formerly of xnxx)

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Joe Long

Usually I'd say absolutely yes

I hope you're wrong. I wrote and posted the last eleven chapters of my story (340 kb) within seven weeks, and allready thought I could have done it faster than that.

awnlee jawking

@robberhands

(340 kb)


Did you really mean that? We're talking words here.

Talking to agents etc, as a rule of thumb they expect a good quality dead-tree author to churn out two 80 Kword novels a year.

AJ

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

Did you really mean that? We're talking words here.

Doesn't 340Kb approximately equal 70 Kwords?
robberhands did that in 7 weeks and you say dead-tree publishers expect that much about every 20 weeks.
I see nothing extraordinary here.

robberhands

@awnlee jawking

Did you really mean that? We're talking words here.

340 kb text or 69k words. So yes, that's what I meant.

Replies:   Joe Long
Ernest Bywater

@robberhands

my story (340 kb)


Based on what my stories come to on SoL 340 kb on SoL is a 65,000 word novel.

I write my stories in a print book format and break them up into chapters and sub-chapter, then post a group of chapters / sub-chapter at SoL to have between 5,000 to 10,0000 words per posting - I look to break at a chapter or sub-chapter end.

Replies:   robberhands
Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

Talking to agents etc, as a rule of thumb they expect a good quality dead-tree author to churn out two 80 Kword novels a year.


That's with all the back and forth with the publisher's editors to amend the story to suit the publisher as well as the author.

I'vve taken several weeks yo do a 50,000 word novel when I've had an issue with a scene or two, and have also completed a 100,000 word novel within two weeks, then took several weeks going through the editors and proof readers on each of them.

When I get an idea for a new story I can usually write a few scenes and the outline of about 10,000 words in an hour or two.

NaNoWriMo aims at 50,000 words in a month, and many people exceed that. My first NaNoWriMo attempt took me ten days to write 65,000 words and do two self edit runs, then it went to my editing crew for their normal 6 week process.

robberhands

@Ernest Bywater


I write my stories in a print book format and break them up into chapters and sub-chapter, then post a group of chapters / sub-chapter at SoL to have between 5,000 to 10,0000 words per posting - I look to break at a chapter or sub-chapter end.

69k / 11 = 6.27k. So I'm within that margin too. Since every chapter I posted has its own title, I've no problem to formally name them chapters.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Joe Long

I started doing long form (not stroke) stories at xnxx and followed the pattern I saw there of releasing 8-10k words at a time, which included 3 or 4 'scenes.'

The system here calls them chapters, but I've come to think of them as releases and chapters instead of chapters and scenes. One story I've been reading online had a 49k word 'chapter' last year (and he wrote it in less than 4 weeks, and it was still good)

There are different thoughts on chapter length. Ernest likes to combine the chapters from his published books into SOL 'chapters' by combining them until they reach his magic number of words (I'm not sure, but I'm guessing it was around 10,000?).

In my case, I prefer remaining true to my story, so I post the same chapter in the book on SOL, though I had one book which had some extremely short chapters (a few chapters of only 1,000 to 2,000 words), so for those I'd typically post two chapters to make up for the lower word count.

One key, is that 10,000 words seems to be (or was, in the past) where the SOL wizard would chop a single SOL 'page' into two, often cutting off a paragraph in the middle of a line, so many of us have 'learned' to avoid anything longer than 10,000 words (I've been known to cut a single chapter into two, at that length naming them "Chapter 10 (Part 1)" and "Chapter 10 (Part 2)", substituting the chapter title for "Chapter").

Since many "much sex" stories simply follow the protagonist around as they chase one piece of tail after another, many SOL stories have adopted the 'day-in-the-live' chapters, which detail an entire day, spanning whatever happened in any given day. It's much easier to parse out enough detail to fill an 8,000 or 10,000 word chapter by doing that than by using content to divide chapters.

Replies:   Joe Long
Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

Since every chapter I posted has its own title, I've no problem to formally name them chapters.

"Chapter where Taylor Goes to Town"
"Chapter where Taylor Visits the Movies"
"Chapter where Taylor Meets a new girl"

'D

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

"Chapter where Taylor Goes to Town"
"Chapter where Taylor Visits the Movies"
"Chapter where Taylor Meets a new girl"

Yeah, something like that, maybe just a bit more imaginative.

Joe Long

@robberhands

340 kb text or 69k words. So yes, that's what I meant.


I'd consider 10k words a week a heavy pace, but it depends on how many hours were actually put into the writing and how skilled the writer is.

Joe Long

@Crumbly Writer

I've been normally doing 8k to 10k per posting, with 3 or 4 scenes of 2k to 4k words each. I put a good ending, either some closure or a cliff hanger, at the end of each posting.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Joe Long

either some closure or a cliff hanger, at the end of each posting.


Ending a chapter with a cliff hanger is probably fine. I ended Time Scope 2 with a cliff hanger. Some of my readers let me know they don't like 'Perils of Pauline' endings.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@REP

Ending a chapter with a cliff hanger is probably fine. I ended Time Scope 2 with a cliff hanger. Some of my readers let me know they don't like 'Perils of Pauline' endings.

I prefer resolving the outstanding conflict when you conclude the book, although that still leaves the central conflict remaining in an ongoing series. Cliffhangers are difficult to avoid in serial postings, as typically chapters feature specific episodes, which typically end when the episode revolves, not when the characters are out of danger. What's more, if you can time them so they fall on the week end, the added tension typically drives interest in the next chapter (i.e. it pays to leave the readers waiting for a short time).

But I agree, I don't appreciate incomplete endings. Even if you've got to kill someone off, I prefer clean endings over incomplete ones.

richardshagrin

Post serials at breakfast time. A good time to play with Grape Nuts.

Replies:   JohnBobMead
JohnBobMead

@richardshagrin

Richard, are you _trying_ to derail this topic? It's going strong, on topic, and giving good info; every time someone posts a pun in a topic it goes to hell as people start trying to one up each other with puns. I'm getting real tired of seeing this happen. I appreciate a good pun, but try to save them for after a topic has already derailed in the future.

paliden

I'm getting real tired of seeing this happen. I appreciate a good pun, but try to save them for after a topic has already derailed in the future.

Anyone can post anything in any forum. If you don't care for then I suggest you complain to the webmaster.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@JohnBobMead

I'm getting real tired of seeing this happen. I appreciate a good pun, but try to save them for after a topic has already derailed in the future.

Better yet, instead of simply inserting a meaningless pun, include it in with an honest contribution (something I'm NOT doing, at the moment)! That way, hopefully, people will respond to the comment, and then add to the pun when they're done.

Note: I've wrestled with this problem with ad-hoc punning before, but never figured out any central answer for every circumstance.

However, seeing as there was no response to my last post, I'm guessing the discussion effectively petered out on it's own. :(

REP

@JohnBobMead

I appreciate a good pun, but try to save them for after a topic has already derailed in the future.


84 posts on a topic of this nature should have given everyone who wanted to share their opinion the opportunity to do so.

Many of us reach a point where we think a topic has been run into the ground and is now going nowhere. That is when the puns start to appear.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@REP

Many of us reach a point where we think a topic has been run into the ground and is now going nowhere. That is when the puns start to appear.

I try to sprinkle them in whenever the topic becomes too heavy-handed (i.e. people start attacking one another, rather than discussing the topics). As such, I interject them precisely to lighten the topic, rather than to derail a topic that's already gone off the rails.

For me, it's not so much trying to be funny as it's a way to avoid hurting people's feelings.

Ross at Play

@JohnBobMead

Sorry, JohnBob, I will not be doing as you ask.
I'm an Australian, and at this moment I can hear in my head a popular song there from the 1970's called 'The Newcastle Song'.
The chorus goes:
Don't you ever let a chance go by, Oh Lord/
Don't you ever let a chance go by/

JohnBobMead

So. Apparently the topic was dead and I hadn't realized it. And that this isn't the first time I hadn't realized it. And everyone else had realized it, and used a flurry of puns to subtly announce the given topic was dead, and Richard just happens to be among the best at telling when this time has come; he is very good at puns, and triggering a flurry of them. That's better than morphing into another topic without starting a new thread; it bothers me when that happens to a topic I was interested in, but I have to wonder how many topics I wasn't interested in have morphed into something I would have liked to have followed without my having any way of knowing about it?

Ross at Play
Updated:

@JohnBobMead

I think the only practical solution for your problem is entering exchanges yourself with questions to reopen exchanges which begin to drift off topic.

I hope my posts here are helping others; I know I have learned much from writing them. I'm sorry, but I work hard on them and I'm not going to pass up opportunities to have some fun.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@JohnBobMead

So. Apparently the topic was dead and I hadn't realized it. And that this isn't the first time I hadn't realized it.

I don't think you're oblivious, by any stretch of the imagination. It's likely you simply weren't tracking this thread for long. The thread slowed down some time ago, but every now and then, someone else comes along and addresses the issues raised, which breaths a little new life into it, but since the thread was already largely played out, that brief breathe of life doesn't last long.

In general, the best comments on a topic occur in the first dozen posts. After that, they fall into the see-saw debate of "yes it is" vs. "no it isn't". That back and forth will often span hundreds of individual posts, but the discussion typically won't advance much since neither side is willing to relent to give up their established positions, which they've already outlined early on in the process. (Which is WHY I and others feel the need to relieve the tensions with a few humorous puns.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I think the only practical solution for your problem is entering exchanges yourself with questions to reopen exchanges which begin to drift off topic.

That's always a valid point. If you come across an interesting thread, and you have an opinion on the topic or have questions which haven't been addressed, then feel free to post your own take on it.

Many of the regulars here are eager to help, so we'll offer what we can. We're always interested in new opinions, it's hearing the same two or three opinions for the eighty-third time which gets tiring.

Replies:   richardshagrin
awnlee jawking

@JohnBobMead

"Are you dead yet, Mary Queen of Topics?"

"No."

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

"Are you dead yet, Mary Queen of Topics?"

"No."

"How about you, Frank, Queen of the torts?"

"Nope. I'm still alive and raring to go, too." 'D

Try stirring the pot and see what pops up.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

"How about you, Frank, Queen of the torts?"


Is Frank incensed?

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

Is Frank incensed?

Perhaps, but Myrrh is merry.

Joe Long

We're heavy on the puns - the thread must be dead.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Joe Long

We're heavy on the puns - the thread must be dead.

Yet we keep posting them regularly, so they're right on target!

Keep the thread alive, keep posting puns. 'D

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Keep the thread alive, keep posting puns. 'D


Do you know the way to Punsylvania?

Do you have a puncil I can write it down with?

Why did the robot sea monster sink? It had a Kraken it's hull. :P

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

it's hearing the same two or three opinions for the eighty-third time which gets tiring.


Its the eighty-second airborne that gets tired.

On the pun line, there was this girl that was rotten to the Corps but delightful to the infantry.

Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

On the pun line, there was this girl that was rotten to the Corps but delightful to the infantry.


How did she seal about the Navy?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Dominions Son

Why did the robot sea monster sink? It had a Kraken it's hull. :P

Since when did the ancient word Kraken become a robot? It's apparently not tied at all to the ancient Greeks. The name instead derives (according to Widipedia) from the Norwegians in the sixteenth century.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

How did she seal about the Navy?

Duh! She clapped and barked, waving her pretty little tail. 'D In return, they fed her something fishy!

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Since when did the ancient word Kraken become a robot?


A Kraken is a form of sea monster. I wasn't suggesting that the original Kraken was a robot, but that someone had built a robot Kraken.

Ross at Play

@richardshagrin

there was this girl that was rotten to the Corps but delightful to the infantry.

I hate that 'that'. 'Who', please, for people, vessels, and sometimes animals.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

I hate that 'that'. 'Who', please, for people, vessels, and sometimes animals.

Crawl back under your editor rock and let the 'arty types' express themselves!

Replies:   Joe Long
Joe Long

@robberhands

Crawl back under your editor rock and let the 'arty types' express themselves!


I appears common to refer to people as 'that' and I cringe every time. I am a 'who', not a 'that.' Personhood, dammit.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Joe Long

I appears common to refer to people as 'that' and I cringe every time. I am a 'who', not a 'that.' Personhood, dammit.

I actually had to struggle to decide whether demons, fairies and dragons qualify as 'persons' deserving a "whom" or 'unknown creatures' earning the use of "that" and the pronouns of "it". I finally decided on personhood for all intelligent beings, including monkeys, dolphins, dogs and cats, and of course, extraterrestrial alien species.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

I finally decided on personhood for all intelligent beings, including monkeys, dolphins, dogs and cats, and of course, extraterrestrial alien species.

But not, it appears, editors. :-)

Replies:   Joe Long
Joe Long

@Ross at Play

But not, it appears, editors. :-)


Sentience and also intelligence.

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