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Do you finish your stories, before posting any of them?

evilynnthales
Updated:

I'm writing a fairly long story - I expect at least 75k words.

How do y'all approach posting the a story like this?

1) Finish and the release all at once?

2) Post each chapter as you finish it?

3) Post a few chapters at a time, when you hit a natural break in the story?

4) ???

I'm leaning towards the 3rd option, but would like to hear opinions.

EDIT:
==============

For anyone reading the later, the TLDR is write your story first, then schedule chapters to release one at a time. Most people in the thread believe that's the best option.

REP

@evilynnthales

I finish the story and incorporate my editor's comments, and then post the chapters at weekly intervals.

Completing the story before I start posting it allows me to make changes to earlier chapters in order to support subsequent chapters' content.

My weekly posting schedule is just my way of posting the story. Posting all of the story's chapters all at once, or at a different interval are also good approaches.

Switch Blayde

@evilynnthales

I always finish the story before posting any of it.

I post a chapter every couple of days. Sometimes more than one if they're short or it just makes sense to do so.

Posting it all at once means your story only shows up once — on the new story page. Post by chapter and each posting shows up in the update page.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

I finish the story, put it through my editors, add a few last minute errors, then I post the first chapter, once that's up I can then go ahead and post the rest of the chapters with dates set to have the chapters automatically appear on future days - I use a 'every other day' cycle.

You can set the posting date by amending the date when you upload the chapter, but you have to upload each chapter by itself to do that.

typo edit

Crumbly Writer

I'm like Switch, REP and also Ernest, in that we all complete our stories, have them fully edited, before we post anything. However, we're the minority on SOL, as most simply write, quickly edit and then post, first on a weekly basis, but as the work progresses, their posting schedules generally get longer and longer.

Completing a story, as the other noted, allows you to iron all the kinks out of a story, foreshadow what happens later and remove any elements in the story which never quite pan out. It's also a great way to remove the pointless elements in a story.

Part of your decision will rest with you editors, so I'd find them, if you haven't already, and ask for their input. Most will have worked with other authors, and know their way around the block.

Rep posts weekly, I post twice a week, and Ernest does a 'modified' dump, posting the chapters every other day.

The big problem with posting all the chapters at once is it means the story will start and finish at once, meaning it's harder for readers to even notice it. Thus, stories that post for longer, and longer stories in general, tend to achieve higher scores.

For myself, I'm comfortable with my twice-a-week schedule, but I tend to delay postings until I have a replacement story near it's final legs of development. So if the new story isn't ready yet, I'll delay the postings, or hold off on posting it entirely so the delay between postings isn't overly long and readers don't forget who the hell I am (little chance of that now), but the point is the same. As long as I keep material in front of readers, they're more likely to go back and read my earlier scores, boosting my numbers. In short, since this is likely your first story, I'd urge caution and suggest once a week if the entire story is completed, and maybe twice-a-month if you're still writing it, just to give you time if you run into problems.

Hope that helps.

evilynnthales
Updated:

Thanks everyone! I'll try to follow your your advice, even if it's hard to wait.

Yesterday someone agreed to be my editor for the first time, and I'm looking forward to their feedback.

Replies:   REP
StarFleet Carl

@evilynnthales

My first story on here, I got what seemed to be a reasonable buffer done (about 10 chapters) and started posting a chapter, sometimes two, every week. Finally finished about a year later, with 74 chapters posted and 435,000 words.

The problem with doing it this way is simple. I didn't get as much time for my editor / first reader to go through and find mistakes, and when I made errors in posting and/or writing, or worse, ran out of time to write for a week, my buffer disappeared. Since I didn't want to be one of those people who post most of a story and then vanish for six months, leaving people hanging, it was a lot of extra effort and stress on me.

I'll grant you, that's all self-imposed, but that also taught me what I consider to be a valuable lesson. Which is what the other guys do. My next, much shorter story, I finished, tweaked, and then tweaked again, before posting it. I won't post another story without it being completed first now, so that I don't run into a time crunch, even one that's self-imposed. So I have half a dozen in progress right now, of varying lengths, and stages of completion.

REP

@evilynnthales

I'll try to follow your your advice, even if it's hard to wait.


My main advice is - don't rush to post the story until you have it the way you want it.

Just to give you an example of how things don't go as you think they will and it is the opposite of being able to add supporting content to earlier chapters that haven't been posted.

I've worked on my current story for about a year. I thought the first 5 chapters were in good shape, so I sent them to be edited. Jim7 told me Chapter 2 was too slow and boring. I knew that was true of the first 2 chapters, so I wasn't surprised. You can usually get away with the first chapter being slow, but after that the reader want the pace to increase.

I fixed the chapter by deleting a lot of the detailed information about the topic he mentioned, however I still need to pass it back through Jim7 to see if it needs further improvement. I think most of what I deleted is important, so I saved it and will now have to integrate it into later chapters. Of course I mentioned some of it later chapters to refresh my readers minds, so I may only have to beef up those scenes.

If Jim7 had said that about a later chapter, I may have had to move the deleted content to earlier chapters to build up to scenes. If I posted as I wrote, I probably wouldn't have been able to do that.

PS - I also use the deferred chapter posting system Ernest described. One thing he didn't mention is you have to upload the first chapter and then wait until Lazeez posts it. Then you can upload your remaining chapters and assign them 'no sooner than' posting dates.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@REP

Just to give you an example of how things don't go as you think they will


I'll give another example.

When I wrote "Matilda and the Assassin" I expected to write a series of stories with Matilda as a child assassin. I wrote in a character called Crash simply to provide her a driver for those future stories (she was too young to drive).

However, while writing the story, I got attached to Matilda and wanted her life to be different than that of an assassin. The plot's climax didn't change, but the ending did. So I had to go back and develop the Crash character more to support the new ending.

Ernest Bywater

One advantage of finishing before posting is if you run into trouble of any sort you do not have a half written story sitting around waiting to be finished. There are a lot of incomplete stories on the site due to people having issues with where the story is going or real life getting in the way. If you finish before you post you can correct issues by going back to earlier chapters and making changes to redirect the story where you want it to go.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
QM

No, but I am a good way ahead on the tale and have a good idea how it will end.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
StarFleet Carl

@Ernest Bywater

There are a lot of incomplete stories on the site due to people having issues with where the story is going or real life getting in the way.


Where's the like button for this one?

Before I started writing for on here - and even afterwards - I can't begin to count up the number of stories I've started, only for them to suddenly stop. And then to have the dreaded "Incomplete and Inactive" eventually show up.

What's also scary to me is that, in sitting here thinking about it, I also realized how many years I've actually been coming to this site.

Replies:   Ross at Play
BlacKnight
Updated:

I've always had trouble with scene transitions, especially between compressed and decompressed time. So often I'll find that a scene is dragging on pointlessly after accomplishing all it needs to, but I'm having trouble ending it, so I'll just hit the eject button, move on to the next bit, and come back and smooth out the joints later.

Or I'll find that I'm stuck on a scene because I'm not really feeling it that day, so I'll skip ahead to something I feel more like writing, and come back to the scene that I was stuck on later, often with ideas from the future that make it work better.

Or I'll be cruising along and change my mind on something that affects continuity chapters back, and rather than break my flow with what I'm doing to go back and rewrite the earlier section, I'll just flip back and drop in a "--FIX ME--", and continue with what I was writing, and go through later to clean up the timeline.

So the upshot of all of this is that my works-in-progress generally aren't a story that's complete from the beginning to some point somewhere in the middle, after which it hasn't been written yet. They're disconnected chunks of more-or-less polished text with gaps in between, and even the parts that are written are subject to change later on. I don't have anything that could be posted until it's almost done.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play
Updated:

@StarFleet Carl

the number of stories I've started, only for them to suddenly stop.

My solution to that is not even starting to read stories marked as 'incomplete'. I'd expect a fair percentage of readers on the site do that too.

Just a thought ... for Lazeez to consider ... could you add another stream option on the bottom of the Home page: to create an 'All Completed Stories' stream in addition to the existing 'All New Stories' and 'All Serial Updates' streams? That would provide a 30-day window of opportunity for those readers who won't start reading incomplete stories to see that a serial has recently been completed. At present, newly completed stories can "slip through the net" after a couple of days when they drop off the Home page stream.

oyster50

My two cents-

I'm one of those poorly disciplined souls who writes and posts, a chapter at a time.

In the best of times, I keep two or three stories active, posting a chapter a week, sometime more often, on each.

I try to keep a chapter or two ahead, those being in the hands of my editor.

It might not be optimum for some, but it works for me.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@QM

No, but I am a good way ahead on the tale and have a good idea how it will end.

It's always important to 'write to your ending', so each plot development helps move the story along. Subplots are fine, but they need to ultimately feed into the central plot, either providing clues or in terms of character development.

Replies:   QM
Switch Blayde

@evilynnthales

Keep in mind, when you finish a story before posting it, and post a chapter at a time over some period, readers will inevitably send feedback while you're posting with how they want/think the story should proceed. You have to tell them the story is already finished and can't be changed.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@BlacKnight

I've always had trouble with scene transitions, especially between compressed and decompressed time. So often I'll find that a scene is dragging on pointlessly after accomplishing all it needs to, but I'm having trouble ending it, so I'll just hit the eject button, move on to the next bit, and come back and smooth out the joints later.

That's generally a problem associated with writing 'a day in the life' chapters, where you simply follow the character, and there's no real beginning and ending points. It's a typically starting point for most authors.

You run into this less with 'episodic' chapters, which each chapter is centered around a specific episode, or a series of related episodes, even if they take up more than a single day.

When you take this approach, once you finish with the specific episode, and accomplish the point the episode was intended to highlight, you're done! No need to continue.

Or I'll be cruising along and change my mind on something that affects continuity chapters back, and rather than break my flow with what I'm doing to go back and rewrite the earlier section, I'll just flip back and drop in a "--FIX ME--", and continue with what I was writing, and go through later to clean up the timeline.

That's why I prefer handling continuity issues during a separate revision phase, after the entire first draft is completed and you know what the story covers and where it's heading. That way, you're aware of which scenes really don't add much to the story, or which simply never 'played out'.

So the upshot of all of this is that my works-in-progress generally aren't a story that's complete from the beginning to some point somewhere in the middle, after which it hasn't been written yet. They're disconnected chunks of more-or-less polished text with gaps in between, and even the parts that are written are subject to change later on. I don't have anything that could be posted until it's almost done.

I know this isn't your style, but just as a learning experience, you may want to try revising one of your shorter stories. You don't need to complete the revision if your books are all too long, but merely seeing what effect it has on the overall story, and how many things ultimately become largely irrelevant and a story progresses is important to realize. If nothing else, it'll help guide you as you write 'on the fly'.

Crumbly Writer

@oyster50

I'm one of those poorly disciplined souls who writes and posts, a chapter at a time.

It's not an uncommon approach, especially on SOL, though it has it's pitfalls. Readers, particularly, seem to appreciate this approach, as it generally produces much longer stories, and hey, if you like the story and the character, you want it to continue indefinitely, right?

It particularly important for new authors to get something up and in front of the public quickly, so you can determine which aspects of your writing are successful, which aren't, and you get positive feedback, which generally motivates you to continue.

While that works well with short stories, those who prefer more-involved stories, or long series, they often get caught up in simply 'keeping the story going', rather than moving the story towards a predefined ending.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Keep in mind, when you finish a story before posting it, and post a chapter at a time over some period, readers will inevitably send feedback while you're posting with how they want/think the story should proceed. You have to tell them the story is already finished and can't be changed.

Excellent point, Switch. I'd actually like to see a new story tag/flag for stories that are completed, but still posting. That way, readers will know before they start any given story whether the story is likely to ever finish or not.

I generally find that, stating that a story is 'completed' encourages those who normally don't read anything until it's finished posting, to take a chance with an ongoing story. And the benefit there is, they often provide active feedback on specific chapters in the story, so you can see what works and what doesn't.

Replies:   REP  Ross at Play
Michael Loucks

@evilynnthales

I'm writing a fairly long story - I expect at least 75k words.

How do y'all approach posting the a story like this?


I write the entire story, have it edited, and proofread, before posting. My books are typically 300,000 to 400,000 words (range is 198,000 to 468,000). When I post, I post a chapter a day (chapter counts range from 40-85). Then there is a break until the next story is read to go.

I've found the daily postings are the best way to keep readers engaged, and for the stories to be noticed. It also allows chapter cliffhangers (something I use very liberally) to be resolved within 24 hours. And for those who don't want to wait, they can either a) wait for the entire story to be posted; or b) join Patreon and get the entire story which is available there before it's posted to SOL.

In the end, having the story finished means that there won't be any disruption for the readers if life intervenes to cause some kind of delay in writing chapters.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Michael Loucks

In the end, having the story finished means that there won't be any disruption for the readers if life intervenes to cause some kind of delay in writing chapters.

That's assuming you've pre-scheduled each of the 85 chapters before the bus hits you!

Replies:   Michael Loucks
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

It particularly important for new authors to get something up and in front of the public quickly, so you can determine which aspects of your writing are successful, which aren't, and you get positive feedback, which generally motivates you to continue.

I can see why completing stories before posting them should produce better quality results. However, I can see a case for an author posting their first long story as it's being written: the immediacy of the feedback they receive from that might help produce a better quality second story.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@Crumbly Writer

That way, readers will know before they start any given story whether the story is likely to ever finish or not.


I usually put a statement to that effect in my blog. Unfortunately, many readers don't read blogs. :(

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

I generally find that, stating that a story is 'completed' encourages those who normally don't read anything until it's finished posting, to take a chance with an ongoing story.

I suggested a possible system enhancement above for that very reason above. I suggested a new stream of recently completed stories might more effectively alert readers when the posting of a serial has been completed.

Another option Lazeez might consider is a new story status of 'Complete and Posting Scheduled'.

Does the feature for scheduling multiple chapters in advance allow the final chapter to be specified, so the system can change the story status to 'Complete' when it is posted? If so, the 'Complete and Posting Scheduled' status could be reserved for stories when the final chapter has already been submitted but not yet posted.

That would also relieve readers of any worries that a favourite author may be hit by a bus. :-)

doctor_wing_nut

@Ross at Play

My solution to that is not even starting to read stories marked as 'incomplete'. I'd expect a fair percentage of readers on the site do that too.


+1

If I find a story description that interests me, from an author new to me, the first thing I do is check their page. If I find more than one 'incomplete', I pass. I know I might miss some good work, but I've been burned too often. Unless it's an author that has proven to me they will finish what they start, I wait and hope it might some day be a whole piece, instead of a stray fragment that fell out of their head.

It's bad enough to wait a week, or more, for a new entry from someone I trust. Not knowing whether there will ever be a resolution just puts me off the whole thing.

fwiw

Replies:   Ross at Play
richardshagrin

@Ross at Play

not even starting to read stories marked as 'incomplete'.

It depends, in part, on the author. I trust many authors of stories I have read in the past to be willing to bring the story to a satisfactory, to readers, ending. And sometimes there is enough story there to be worthwhile reading, even though it isn't completed. How to tell the difference? Mostly I will try to be optimistic and give it a try. A free story is a good price even if it doesn't end. And sometimes the description, tags, possibly a review, tell me don't touch this with an six foot pole. And I don't even read Polish.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@doctor_wing_nut

If I find more than one 'incomplete', I pass.

@richard

It depends, in part, on the author.

Yes, I agree that some authors have a record for completing stories which is sufficient to trust they will finish stories they start posting.

My preference for only starting completed stories is more a preference for reading complete works - and not alternating between different stories - rather than not trusting an author will complete a story.

The Outsider
Updated:

@Ross at Play


Does the feature for scheduling multiple chapters in advance allow the final chapter to be specified, so the system can change the story status to 'Complete' when it is posted?


Yes, when scheduling each submission you are asked if the story should be marked 'Complete' or 'To Be Continued' when it posts.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@The Outsider

Yes, when posting each submission you are asked if the story should be marked 'Complete' or 'To Be Continued.'

Thanks for that info.

So my suggestion amounts to the status of a story:
- being updated to 'Complete Posting Scheduled' as soon as a chapter marked 'Complete' is submitted to the Wizard.
- then updated to 'Complete' when that chapter is eventually posted.

Readers would then have a longer period in which to notice new chapters being posted for stories they can be confident will be completed in due course.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I can see why completing stories before posting them should produce better quality results. However, I can see a case for an author posting their first long story as it's being written: the immediacy of the feedback they receive from that might help produce a better quality second story.

I'd agree with both points, but I'd urge newbie authors to limit the scope of their first work so they can ease into writing, rather than writing their magnum opus in their very first attempt.

That doesn't mean they need to start out writing short stories, but try to keep it within the twenty-some chapter range, at least. Then, once you've got a better feel for what's involved, transition to a longer piece.

Replies:   Michael Loucks
Crumbly Writer

@REP

I usually put a statement to that effect in my blog. Unfortunately, many readers don't read blogs. :(

I put a similar statement in my stories' End Notes. Readers won't see it when they first considering the story, but after the finish the first chapter, they're likely to notice. It's as close as you can get to informing readers, short of including it in the story description.

However, I mainly include it there because I tell them precisely how many chapters the total story contains, so they can prepare themselves for how long it'll take to unfold.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

Does the feature for scheduling multiple chapters in advance allow the final chapter to be specified, so the system can change the story status to 'Complete' when it is posted? If so, the 'Complete and Posting Scheduled' status could be reserved for stories when the final chapter has already been submitted but not yet posted.

Yes, it does. You simply select "Completed" when you schedule the final chapter, so it'll flip that switch on the story after the last story posts. However, each chapter is only processed when it's finally posted, so there's no way for the 'system' to determine the final chapter.

That's why I prefer selecting a tag for 'completed story' or alternately 'completely written' so SOL can list it as being finished, even if it's still posting.

P.S. In this day and age, it's more likely an author will succumb to Alzheimer's than they are to being run over by a bus!

Replies:   Ross at Play
evilynnthales
Updated:

Thanks for the awesome discussion everyone! It's been very helpful... There have been many great reasons given for finishing the story and then posting it, so that's what I'm going to do.

I may split the story into the sub-stories - if it looks reasonable after my outline has solidified - so that I can get feedback earlier.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

However, each chapter is only processed when it's finally posted, so there's no way for the 'system' to determine the final chapter.

Yes, but ... I think both fixes I've suggested would both be relatively easy for a programmer with Lazeez's skills, and provide a feature which a number of readers would appreciate.

Crumbly Writer

@evilynnthales

I may split the story into the sub-stories - if it looks reasonable after my outline has solidified - so that I can get feedback earlier.

That's one of my great bugaboos (stories that end up being unfocused because authors randomly choose where to break a story into separate books).

If you don't mind a little more advice, when you reach that point, think of books in terms of their Themes (i.e. what message are you trying to convey to the reader in the story, aside from the plot points). If one section of a story has a different theme (ex: the first part deals with a character's hopelessness as they struggle against the odds, while the second half deals with their increased confidence), then that's a natural breaking point for a story.

What's more, as I'm writing, I'll define each book's theme ahead of time, and keep it nearby, along with the story description, to remind me of the story's focus, so I'd concentrate on the larger themes, rather than just adding scenes in a largely haphazard manner.

Unfortunately (or possibly fortunately for many authors), I seem to be one of the few who make this distinction. But for each of my books, I can tell you the specific purpose and objective of each, often without having to refer to my notes, as it's now ingrained in my psyche.

QM

@Crumbly Writer

Unfortunately whilst the ending is set in stone, the character development in the story due to sub-plots and the occasional whim (or bright/not so bright ideas) means that the people/race/god involved in the ending have changed. I just had a better idea is all.

Crumbly Writer

@QM

Unfortunately whilst the ending is set in stone, the character development in the story due to sub-plots and the occasional whim (or bright/not so bright ideas) means that the people/race/god involved in the ending have changed. I just had a better idea is all.

Understandable. Things happen (in stories, as in RL). That's why revisions are often necessary.

Michael Loucks

@Crumbly Writer

That's assuming you've pre-scheduled each of the 85 chapters before the bus hits you!


Or having a backup plan for such an eventuality.

Michael Loucks

@Crumbly Writer

I'd agree with both points, but I'd urge newbie authors to limit the scope of their first work so they can ease into writing, rather than writing their magnum opus in their very first attempt.


I think that really depends on the person. I'd never written any fiction prior to starting A Well-Lived Life. I just started writing and, well, now I'm on book 10 of series 2.

In general, I think you might be right, but if a story 'has to be told' then it has to be told.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Michael Loucks

@QM

Unfortunately whilst the ending is set in stone, the character development in the story due to sub-plots and the occasional whim (or bright/not so bright ideas) means that the people/race/god involved in the ending have changed. I just had a better idea is all.


While writing A Well-Lived Life, I've been writing towards a very specific end (revealed in prologues) which has hamstrung me from time to time when I get 'better' ideas. It's a fun and interesting challenge to change the ending without changing the ending. :-)

It's one reason my other stories in the same general universe don't have published endings before they've even begun! :-)

Crumbly Writer

@Michael Loucks

I think that really depends on the person. I'd never written any fiction prior to starting A Well-Lived Life. I just started writing and, well, now I'm on book 10 of series 2.

That's true, about a story demanding it's own space, but I'd also remind you, that a series is entirely different (i.e. it fits into my 'limit the size of your first post') than an endless ongoing SOL series, as you've already divided it into manageable pieces.

The idea, though, isn't to limit newbie authors, but to start slow as you get a feel for the place (SOL) and until you get a feel for what works and what doesn't. However, as a longtime reader of long series, my first piece was a 6-book, 1,1 million word story.

Most of us like to imitate what we read most often, so that tends to temper 'keep it short' suggestions.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

The idea, though, isn't to limit newbie authors, but to start slow

I agree with your idea but can see different solutions working for different authors.

What is the idea behind your idea? I suggest it is that new authors should accept it as given: they will learn a lot about writing as they write their first 50-100K words. They should plan something.

I am aware of one author here who has one story they "must tell". It's autobiographical. They wrote and posted ten chapters, then realised they now knew how to do much better, so they went back and started it again.

I imagine you, CW, have revised the first book of your Catalyst series very extensively since you completed your first draft.

For other new authors I'm inclined to agree with your advice to "start slow". If they have the muse to continue writing, it's will be better in the long term to start with something that's not too complex nor important to them personally, because they will know a lot more about writing when they start their next story.

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

I am aware of one author here who has one story they "must tell". It's autobiographical. They wrote and posted ten chapters, then realised they now knew how to do much better, so they went back and started it again.


The author made significant progress towards telling the story they wanted to tell, and learned valuable lessons on the way. That wouldn't have happened if they'd started with a short story they weren't motivated to write in the first place.

AJ

Ross at Play
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

That's what I explained! ... Everyone faces the same problem but "different solutions [work] for different authors".

evilynnthales
Updated:

I figured it out! I just need to force everyone to reread my story from the beginning every time I release a new chapter.

Boom! Problem Solved!

...

On a serious note, The story I'm working on is getting a rewrite of the published chapters. Ive made a major change to the storyline, and need to apply forshadowing.

It's not even a week old.

Posting as I finish each chapter isn't going.to work for me.

awnlee jawking

@evilynnthales

and need to apply forshadowing


In my opinion, if you deliberately foreshadow events, the writing can come across as forced and unnatural. If the events take a narrator protagonist by surprise, I think that's how you should present the events to the reader too.

AJ

richardshagrin
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


foreshadow


When you are on or near a golf course, and someone yells "Fore" you need to look around, and probably up, to see if a golf ball is going to hit you. If you see the shadow of the ball coming toward you, that is fore-shadowing. I don't recommend the process unless you want to visit the emergency room at a local hospital and spend a lot of money.

As an author if you foreshadow a lot, your readers may throw things at you, metaphorically, as many of us don't care for it. Like cliff hanging, care needs to be used with the technique or readers may say nasty things about your story.

evilynnthales

@awnlee jawking

I may be using the wrong term. The current version has no hint of the paranormal/magic/etc, but I'm adding it in.

It's changing from pure psychotic thriller to one that includes magic/paranormal. I HATE when a story does that with no warning... Reading through when suddenly, aliens (or whatever) show up really bothers me.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  REP
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I imagine you, CW, have revised the first book of your Catalyst series very extensively since you completed your first draft.

That what was what I'd intended, Ross, (that new authors realize they'll learn a lot, and thus should limit their initial postings somewhat until they learn the lay of the land). However as you suggest, I revised my initial series a couple of times before I finally finished it (and I'm still planning yet another rewrite). Yet, when I first posted it, I'd already broken up into separate stories, worked out the story with several editors, gotten and considered their input and had already revised the first story. Even after all of that, I felt it necessary to go back and restructure the whole thing.

Now, many authors are like I was, they're planning to write a single epic tale, much like their favorite stories here on SOL, that go on and on (50+ chapters). I don't mean to limit them, but instead I'd suggest that they try writing only a sample of the total, just to get their feet wet. Then, after posting that version, and learning their many painful lessons, then start their huge epic under a NEW TITLE as a complete work (ex: "1st post: "A New Epic Sampler", followed by their 2nd: "A New Epic").

This isn't intended as a 'teaser' for readers, but instead as a way of easing into being an author before committing to a single approach.

That said, I'm not expecting many to follow in my 'take it slow' approach, as everyone starts with great expectations and want to take the world by storm, but ... after writing as many stories as I have, I'd now prefer that I'd started a little differently.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

The author made significant progress towards telling the story they wanted to tell, and learned valuable lessons on the way. That wouldn't have happened if they'd started with a short story they weren't motivated to write in the first place.

No, (but Since Ross was referring to my comment) I never suggested they start off with short stories, only that they test the waters first. The unnamed author did what I'm suggesting, though they went about it the wrong way. After starting, they realized what they'd done wrong before completing it, and then went back and started again, reposting a revised version. If you check out my new response to Ross, that was my revised suggestion, that rather than penning a complete 100 chapter epic, that they start with a 'sampler' of that epic before committing to the final product.

But again, that's what I'd do now, not what I'd did when I first started.

Crumbly Writer

@evilynnthales

On a serious note, The story I'm working on is getting a rewrite of the published chapters. Ive made a major change to the storyline, and need to apply forshadowing.

Just a note: I'd either post a blog about reissuing those chapters, or add something to the story description or the End Note informing your readers that you've modified those chapters.

Writing blog posts won't reach everyone, but it has the added benefit of reading a whole different category of readers, while anyone curious about the different chapters will likely check your blog for an explanation.

On the plus side, even if everyone doesn't read your blog, every times you chapters take a little time, your readers are likely to back up to remember just what was happening, so hopefully they'll figure out the differences. Still, I'd 'remind' readers in the newer chapters what the character did before in those early revised chapters (if that convoluted sentence made any sense).

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

In my opinion, if you deliberately foreshadow events, the writing can come across as forced and unnatural. If the events take a narrator protagonist by surprise, I think that's how you should present the events to the reader too.

Foreshadowing isn't there to spoil a story, instead it's there to prepare the reader for what eventually happens, so that when it does, they'll say 'Damn, that's why he did that!'. If the surprise is that you kill off a primary character, then you're right, there's really no need to foreshadow that (although many authors do).

I was just reading a review of a new book, where a novel about a woman investigating the person who killed her sister starts out with the sister 'playing dead' by falling into an empty grave, only to be killed a few chapters later. That's an example of 'foreshadowing'. It's not intended to spoil the surprise (since every reader would already know from the dust jacket that the sister died, but to establish the parallels which help make sense of what happened to her.

The key, though, is that you don't foreshadow by outlining precisely what's going to happen, only to suggest the character's motivations.

Crumbly Writer

@evilynnthales

It's changing from pure psychotic thriller to one that includes magic/paranormal. I HATE when a story does that with no warning... Reading through when suddenly, aliens (or whatever) show up really bothers me.

Make sure you change the appropriate story tags then, as well as spelling out the changes in a blog post (so readers can check out why the story changed when they hit the new section). That's help ease the readers into the revised story.

lichtyd

@evilynnthales

I've only posted one story and I posted each chapter after I wrote it and my editor helped me fix the errors.

As others have noted, this is not the best way to do it.

My current story will be finished and edited before I begin posting it. I don't have a fixed posting strategy, but it will be at least one chapter per week.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@evilynnthales

Reading through when suddenly, aliens (or whatever) show up really bothers me.


If the author coded the story properly, you would know there would be aliens or whatever in the story. Of course, readers don't always check the codes before they decide to read the story.

REP

There is an argument to be made for posting as you write and that is when the author does not plan to end the story. RoustWriter's Arlene and Jeff, one chapter a week for almost 10 years, is a prime example.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Darian Wolfe
Updated:

I'm currently on hiatus due to learning to deal with how the summer heat affects my disability. It does as I've narrowly missed being hospitalized once as I apparently no longer sweat and have no idea I'm overheating. Yay me.

When I am writing I prefer to have the project completed before posting. For one of my newest projects that will be untenable as it will consist of 24 short stories woven within an overarching 25th story spread across 3 books containing eight stories each.

For this, I will post each book as it's finished. I will post each book in its entirety because posting it in individual chapters would make keeping up with the overarching story awkward. At least I think so.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@lichtyd

My current story will be finished and edited before I begin posting it. I don't have a fixed posting strategy, but it will be at least one chapter per week.

As a general guideline, any schedule works, but you want to post on specific days, if at all possible, so readers know when to check for your latest update. There are various reasons for selecting different days, weekends get the most hits, but there's so much competition, you'll be bounced off the "Most Recent Stories" list in no time. Posting during the week will keep your stories available longer, but if you post later in the week, you'll also catch the heavier Saturday traffic, since the latest stories will stay up for two days. (For me, I usually do Tues. and Thur. for just that reason, while I try to schedule any 'cliffhangers' for a Thurs. release.)

Replies:   lichtyd
Crumbly Writer

@REP

There is an argument to be made for posting as you write and that is when the author does not plan to end the story. RoustWriter's Arlene and Jeff, one chapter a week for almost 10 years, is a prime example.

And those are some of the most popular, and top-scoring stories, everything else being normal, but I'm not criticizing that approach, but I'm just urging caution for newbies jumping headlong into that without testing the waters first.

For most established authors, caution is the key, as it's easy to fall behind on a posting schedule, and difficult to catch up again. And however big a cushion you give yourself, after a couple of years, you're basically posting as fast as you can write 'em.

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

@Darian Wolfe

For this, I will post each book as it's finished. I will post each book in its entirety because posting it in individual chapters would make keeping up with the overarching story awkward. At least I think so.

Again, if you already have the entire story completed, then you can schedule each chapter to be posted on a different day, on a regular schedule. The key is that you have to post the first chapter manually, so the system recognizes the story before you can schedule anything. But after that, the postings are all automatic, meaning you don't have to babysit them (though it doesn't hurt to check after they post, because it's fairly common to screw up something, like posting the wrong chapter).

Replies:   Darian Wolfe
Darian Wolfe

@Crumbly Writer

I hear you, I'm like a paranoid mother hen when a story posts because I want it to be the best I can make it. I have sat in front of my computer for two or three hours checking every few minutes to make sure I'm one of the first to see it. Even then those damn nits get through lol.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Crumbly Writer

Not disputing what you say, but does an author, new or old, have an obligation to define a posting schedule or produce new chapters at specific intervals?

I would say NO.

Personally, I write for my enjoyment and share what I write with those who are interested. If I posted as I wrote, which I don't do, I would not want to be forced to create to some time schedule. It would result in me producing a poorer story than I am capable of writing.

To paraphrase a well-known statement: No story before its time.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@Darian Wolfe

And some of us nit pickers might let you know where to find the nits. :)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Uther_Pendragon

@evilynnthales

I used to post -- on ASS or ASSM -- long serials before I had finished them. I took close to a year for _Heart Ball_, and then -- immediately after the first version was up -- I started revising it.

Now, I generally finish a story before I start posting it. I try to get the story through an editor before I post it, but failed with _Councils of War_, the latest story.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@REP

Not disputing what you say, but does an author, new or old, have an obligation to define a posting schedule or produce new chapters at specific intervals?

I never meant that a regular posting schedule was a requirement, I'm just highlighting it as an significant factor that new authors need to consider before committing to a piece. It's also tied into my previous, 'try something smaller, even it's only a small piece of your bigger work' strategy.

If they start out with a smaller piece to get their feet wet initially, then it's easier to post on a set schedule. That's an easier way to get a feel for how things operate here. If they then decide to go ahead with their massive 50+ chapter story, more power too them, but at least they'll know what they're getting into before they end up 30 chapters in with no clue how to proceed.

But you're right. Each story needs it's own space. I'm just suggesting they dip their toes in the pond before diving in head first.

But just with the 'write the entire story before posting' advice, I don't expect many to follow my advice. The 'I only post completed' story contingent on SOL is definitely in the minority, and that's not about to change anytime soon.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

And some of us nit pickers might let you know where to find the nits. :)

As the ol' timers say: "Me Nits be in me nuts, wanna pick em, sonny?"

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

@Uther_Pendragon

Now, I generally finish a story before I start posting it. I try to get the story through an editor before I post it, but failed with _Councils of War_, the latest story.

It's often difficult to properly schedule editor's time, as they're often busy with other things and other stories. So it's NOT unusual to compromise on a story or two. I had a few where my regular editors refused to work on a story, plus I keep losing and gaining new editors all the time, which takes a lot of finessing.

So don't worry too much. If nothing else, what doesn't get fully edited now can always be better edited later.

doctor_wing_nut

All Blessings upon the authors that finish what they start, and post more than once a week, for they shall inherit The Kingdom Of Font.

(along with my undying gratitude, which everyone knows is priceless)

fwiw

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@doctor_wing_nut

All Blessings upon the authors that finish what they start, and post more than once a week, for they shall inherit The Kingdom Of Font.

Has anyone ever calculated the relative output of various authors (i.e. do the 'post only when done' crowd produce works at a slower process, and is there really a vast difference between the amount of typos and grammar issues between those who post as they go and those who wait for their editors to finish with the stories)?

Also, as a follow-on, do those who read the 50+ chapter sagas factor in an increased amount of proofreading issues (i.e. they specifically don't lower their vote because of increased mistakes)?

I'm not suggesting that one Style is better (at avoiding mistakes than the other), but I'm curious whether readers assume that there will be more in certain types of stories.

evilynnthales

Has anyone ever calculated the relative output of various authors


While the numbers would be interesting, authors like Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss make it clear that different authors have a huge difference in writing speed.

I'm more interested in what percentages of stories are completed when you compare the two styles. Does receiving positive responses from people that like something you write keep you motivated and writing, or does a negative response leave you unmotivated and discouraged?

Does the pressure to finish the story you start posting help you keep focused and motivated, or do you stop writing because your hobby feels like a second job without pay?

Replies:   REP  Crumbly Writer
REP

@Crumbly Writer

And I'd remind those ol' timers that 'Picking nits that are in nuts require the nuts to be cracked.'

REP
Updated:

@evilynnthales


I'm more interested in what percentages of stories are completed when you compare the two styles.


For the post when complete crowd, 100% of their posted stories are complete, but you don't know how many stories they started and then abandoned since those don't get posted.

If you see any incomplete stories on their author's page they probably started on in the post as you go crowd and then got smart and switched crowds.

For the post as you go crowd, their incomplete stories seem to remain on the site forever so you can calculate a completed stories percentage.

evilynnthales

@REP

If it's not clear from the context of my post, I wonder what percentage of stories each group never finishes - irregardless of posting status.

Replies:   REP
robberhands

I've read a saga I liked very much. Each book was completed and professionally edited before it was published. So far there are five books published but now I'm already waiting several years for book six of the series. Does that count as 'completed before posting' or is it 'writing and posting as you go'?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
helmut_meukel
Updated:

@REP

For the post when complete crowd, 100% of their posted stories are complete, but you don't know how many stories they started and then abandoned since those don't get posted.


Regardless the posting differences, when do you consider a story abandoned?

IMHO, the dreaded yellow ribbon on SOL is no indication of 'abandoned'.

IIRC, one out of the post-when-complete-crowd stated he has far more than 30 stories in different stages of completion.
How many of them – if posted when started – would now have the yellow ribbon?

Some authors may never admit any of their incomplete stories are 'abandoned', even after decades of neglect.

@evilynnthales

Does the pressure to finish the story you start posting help you keep focused and motivated, or do you stop writing because your hobby feels like a second job without pay?


I never wrote fiction only manuals for my programs.
Without a deadline I'd never ever finished any of those.

BTW, I've 'abandoned' – aka quit reading – many stories after the author stopped posting in a timely fashion. It really depends on the quality of the story, and it applies to series too. E.g. the first new Honor Harrington book after five years of waiting: I looked into the sample chapter and realized I'd no clue who some of the characters were. I doubt I would buy it separately, but it's part of Baen's 'Monthly Bundle' so I'll read it finally after rereading – again – it's prequel.

HM.

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

@evilynnthales

I'm more interested in what percentages of stories are completed when you compare the two styles. Does receiving positive responses from people that like something you write keep you motivated and writing, or does a negative response leave you unmotivated and discouraged?

Does the pressure to finish the story you start posting help you keep focused and motivated, or do you stop writing because your hobby feels like a second job without pay?

For me, at least, it's the story that motivates me. As I'm genuinely curious how it'll play out in the end. While I always have a definite ending in mind, I never know precisely how I'll get there.

I've also found that, although I do abandon stories, in general, if I can crank out at least one or two full chapters, I know the story has enough structure for me to finish. The stories I've abandoned never made it past that point, anything else merely gets temporarily shelved until I finish another more pressing project.

Feedback doesn't really determine how a story turns out, but it does give me a feel for whether a story is appreciated, and more importantly, whether it strikes a cord with readers. So feedback is an important part of the process, but it's not what keeps me writing, that's the story demanding to be told come hell or high water. If a story doesn't grab me by the collar and refuse to let go, it'll never get written in the first place.

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

I've read a saga I liked very much. Each book was completed and professionally edited before it was published. So far there are five books published but now I'm already waiting several years for book six of the series. Does that count as 'completed before posting' or is it 'writing and posting as you go'?

For us, 'only post completed stories' crowd, we treat each book in a series as a separate entity, so we don't write out an entire series before posting the first book. The main point is to complete the entire first draft of a book so you can ensure consistency, removing anything which doesn't advance the plot, and adding the necessary foreshadowing for the things that happen later in the book. The same doesn't hold true for later books.

However, in the case you described, it sounds like the author can't let the one story goes, but never actually had an actual end for the entire series in sight. In my case, before I start on the first book in a series, I know for a fact how many books will be in that series, and I'll work towards that end.

The exception to that are the 'open ended' books, which I plan as one-and-done books. With those, after publishing, at some point I'll suddenly get a new idea on how to continue the story, and then I'll add a new book. (I'm doing that now with a book that many people had wanted a sequel to, but I couldn't figure out how to write a compelling second book. It's taken several years, but I've finally figured out how to approach the sequel.

I suspect the author in your example likes his character, and wants to write more, but has 'run out of steam' and is no longer motivated to write more, as the next stories are so much like the first that the stories aren't compelling enough for him to finish, much less his readers.

On the other hand, for the 'post as you go' crowd, most abandoned stories aren't dropped because of life events, but because they never planned the story out ahead of time, and thus they run into problems with plot holes which prevents them from completing the story. You'll often notice certain authors will keep releasing the same types of stories, but are never able to complete the basic premise. That, for me, is a failure to plan the story properly, and they're merely writing an 'each day in the life' epic that, ultimately, never goes anywhere.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

However, in the case you described, it sounds like the author can't let the one story goes, but never actually had an actual end for the entire series in sight.

It does? I thought when he sold his copyright and they made a TV series out of his saga, it may have messed with George R.R. Martin's writing schedule. However, if you think he just doesn't know an ending, I'm certain you are right.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

Is there any difference in principle between authors who don't finish books and authors who finish books but don't finish series?

AJ

robberhands
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

Is there any difference in principle between authors who don't finish books and authors who finish books but don't finish series?

Yep. The first belong to CW's 'we crowd' and the second are unknown entities with even higher professional standarts, but without a lobby.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

Yep. The first belong to CW's 'we crowd' and the second are unknown entities with even higher professional standarts, but without a lobby.

Wait, I'm now 'the crowd' who never finishes a single book, but have a powerful 'lobby' behind me, supporting me and pushing my agenda?

You've gotta be kidding. You accuse me of occasionally making giant leaps of logic, this is just patently ridiculous.

Replies:   robberhands
Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

It does? I thought when he sold his copyright and they made a TV series out of his saga, it may have messed with George R.R. Martin's writing schedule. However, if you think he just doesn't know an ending, I'm certain you are right.

I never claimed that's the case in every single instance, I merely suggested that it sounded like the case in the one single reference.

Talk about picking nits, you can always find a single exception to any generality, but that doesn't negate the point, it merely paints you as a little mind, with little room for bigger ideas (not that mine are all that big, but this criticism is pointless in its absurdity.

Replies:   robberhands
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Is there any difference in principle between authors who don't finish books and authors who finish books but don't finish series?

As I aluded to earlier (in the post about the author had wrote five books but hadn't completed the next one), often an author will simply put off a planned sequel, rather than abandon it. In those instances, it's often because the last book didn't do very well, so they're questioning the wisdom of investing that much time on a work unlikely to do any better, or they're working on a more 'productive story', or the piece just hasn't 'gelled' yet.

It's not always because they've abandoned the series. Often it's more a matter of priorities, and prioritizing one story over another. Plus, there's also the question of exhaustion, when despite calls for "More, more", and author might just be sick of continually writing the same thing over and over. Luckily, I've never been in that situation myself, but certain books are definitely more of a struggle than others, while certain works simply 'write themselves' they flow so naturally.

robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

You accuse me of occasionally making giant leaps of logic, this is just patently ridiculous.

My bad. Your crowd belongs to AJ's second group. The people who post before finishing a story are without a lobby and no one has higher professional standards than you.

robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

Talk about picking nits, you can always find a single exception to any generality ...

You may talk about nit-picking as much as you like. It was the story saga I was referring to, and not an exception to any rule you may think to exist.

Michael Loucks

@awnlee jawking

Is there any difference in principle between authors who don't finish books and authors who finish books but don't finish series?


What does 'finish' mean in an epic story? There are always unresolved conflicts and untold futures (unless you put the entire cast on a plane and crash it into a mountain).

Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

Is there any difference in principle between authors who don't finish books and authors who finish books but don't finish series?


usually the first group don't know where they're going with the story while the second group just run out of time and are no longer able to write before they get to where they want to go with the series. As I said, usually, but not always.

REP

@evilynnthales

It was clear. How do you propose finding out how many unfinished stories the 'post when complete' authors have written?

Since their unfinished stories don't get posted, that information is not readily available. You would have to contact each author and ask them to provide you with that information, which may not result in you receiving the information you need.

REP

@helmut_meukel

when do you consider a story abandoned


Personally, I consider a story abandoned when the yellow stripe appears. To me, the yellow stripe means the author has made no progress on the story for a year and is not likely to do so.

However, that doesn't mean the author won't complete the story. It just means there is a very low probability that they will finish the story.

evilynnthales

@REP

As far as I know that data is impossible to gather in any reasonable way.

Replies:   REP
awnlee jawking

@REP

How do you propose finding out how many unfinished stories the 'post when complete' authors have written?


You can add to that the question 'How many of those unfinished unpublished stories are worth reading anyway?'

A fair number of stories corroborate the adage 'The journey is more important than the destination'. In Orson Scott Card's 'MICE' quotient, 'Event' is only one of the categorisations.

As I've said elsewhere, I think 'The Private' by Random Writings is one of the best stories on SOL, but any conclusion would probably be an anticlimax.

AJ

Replies:   REP
REP

@awnlee jawking

I enjoy The Private also, and was sad when it got the yellow stripe two years ago. I wanted to find out how an enlisted man sentenced to perpetual duty as a Private in the service was going to get the girl who was an officer.

BlacKnight

@robberhands

You may talk about nit-picking as much as you like. It was the story saga I was referring to, and not an exception to any rule you may think to exist.


I guessed who you were talking about as soon as I read the initial post.

But, I mean, maybe CW's theory is right. Maybe the reason that GRRM sold the TV rights for ASoIaF to HBO was that he never had an ending in mind for the series and wanted them to come up with one for him. Probably had nothing to do with wheelbarrows full of money. It's just that GRRM isn't as professional a writer as CW.

REP
Updated:

@evilynnthales

I know and that was my point when I commented on your remark regarding post when complete versus post as you go:

I'm more interested in what percentages of stories are completed when you compare the two styles.

REP
Updated:

@BlacKnight

Not being able to come up with an ending has nothing to do with professionalism.

Replies:   BlacKnight
robberhands
Updated:

@BlacKnight


Maybe the reason that GRRM sold the TV rights for ASoIaF to HBO was that he never had an ending in mind for the series and wanted them to come up with one for him.

Could be, or maybe it's the other way around. The TV producers don't want him to spoil the series' finish, so he has to wait until the GoT's final season is done before he may publish the final books.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@robberhands

Whenever GRRM thinks he's getting close to an ending, the producers demand another series (how many times has a new series been described as 'final'!)

My understanding is that the TV series and books have diverged somewhat, so there's no requirement for the two to end identically.

AJ

lichtyd

@Crumbly Writer

Thank you, your method makes a lot of sense.

BTW, I still think about how easily you rewrote that one scene of mine. I use your version as a guide.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
StarFleet Carl

@Michael Loucks

What does 'finish' mean in an epic story?


To me, it's when the author says, "Okay, I'm done with this one now." When I was writing my first book for here, I had reached a natural spot where I could have ended it. That was where I had PLANNED to end it. Ended up with 15 more chapters, and I did the 'cheat' in the last one. I simply did a quick time jump of a decade where the war was over, resolved some of the major things, and left a lot of other stuff for the reader to finish themselves.

Thing is - writing a story is sort of like playing a role playing game, it's not like playing Monopoly or Chess. There's no definitive 'I won' moment in life. But you CAN crash everyone into a mountain.

Of course, that ALSO makes for an interesting story if you START with that. Say, into the Andes, and there's a few survivors that have to resort to cannibalism to stay alive. Ah, who'd believe such an unlikely story. (Yeah, I know that really DID happen, lot's of people don't.)

Michael Loucks

@StarFleet Carl

Of course, that ALSO makes for an interesting story if you START with that. Say, into the Andes, and there's a few survivors that have to resort to cannibalism to stay alive. Ah, who'd believe such an unlikely story. (Yeah, I know that really DID happen, lot's of people don't.)


When MH370 disappeared, all I could think of was Lost.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
BlacKnight

@REP

Not being able to come up with an ending has nothing to do with professionalism.


I think someone missed the sarcasm. I really thought the bit about the wheelbarrows of money would tip people off. But, oh well, Poe's Law I guess.

Replies:   REP
REP

@BlacKnight

Yep, I definitely missed the sarcasm.

StarFleet Carl

@Michael Loucks

When MH370 disappeared, all I could think of was Lost.


I'm glad I wasn't the only one ...

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

You may talk about nit-picking as much as you like. It was the story saga I was referring to, and not an exception to any rule you may think to exist.

Sorry (myself), I was thinking you were picking "Game of Thrones" as an exception proving your point, rather than the piece in question potentially violating it's copyright. (I have my own opinions about an author who 'gives up' writing books because he can make so much more money writing TV scripts. At this point, I have little faith that he'll ever finish his Game of Throne series. At best, he'll hire some hack to 'novelize' his TV show episodes for him.

I don't mind some decent TV for a change, but I, for one, would rather have an excellent book than a excellent TV show which has, by definition, has less room for exposition and development. But then, I suspect I'm merely crying in the wilderness by myself on this particular issue.

Crumbly Writer

@Michael Loucks

What does 'finish' mean in an epic story? There are always unresolved conflicts and untold futures (unless you put the entire cast on a plane and crash it into a mountain).

I suspect the implied meaning is: what's the difference between someone who doesn't finish a story before posting weekly updates, and one who doesn't finish every single book in an extended series.

To answer my own post, the answer would obviously be quality, as the author has the opportunity to 'clean-up' the text, something that, while not impossible, is incredibly difficult to do when you don't know which elements are necessary and which won't actually lead anywhere.

Still, I understand the point, that it's frustrating to have to wait years for an author to get around to writing a sequel. However, I'd rather wait for a sequel worthy of the series, rather than one was rushed into production, even though the plot didn't get the extra attention it may have needed. (But this is more personal with me, since I've often written sequels I never though I'd write, only because I get a workable idea long after I completed the original.)

Crumbly Writer

@REP

It was clear. How do you propose finding out how many unfinished stories the 'post when complete' authors have written?

I think (given the context) that he was asking, much as I had with the previous question to his, for authors to self-report on this thread just how many unfinished stories they have.

In answer, there's a big difference between 'unfinished', 'abandoned' and 'haven't yet gotten to'. For myself, I've published 16 books (posted 15), have 7 books that I've 'abandoned' (though 3 of them I may still get back too after I complete my other stories. Two of those never got off the 'conception' phase, and three of those are in one series I abandoned after not-starting for several years.

In short, I've never abandoned a single story I've started (though I've got one I'm questioning abandoning at the moment, though I'll have to see whether I can save it or not).

I think that's the difference between not fully planning the scope of the story, rather than finding you can't resolve particular plot holes. Plot holes you can clean up before readers ever see it if you only post complete stories. Not planning the scope of a story, and simply writing to 'see where the story goes' tends (I suspect) to more 'abandoned' stories that were dropped mid-way through the writing process.

That's an overly detailed answer, all about myself, I know, but I think that's the kind of feedback he was asking for. If not, I apologize for the overly long self-indulgent rant.

Crumbly Writer

@BlacKnight

It's just that GRRM isn't as professional a writer as CW.

The definition of 'professional' is 'one who charges for their profession'. There's no way I'll ever come near the success he's achieved, so let's just table that entire discussion. He's had success I've never enjoy.

My main problem was that I didn't know the relation between the two authors being discussed, thinking the reference was a purely abstract one. My bad!

Crumbly Writer

@lichtyd

BTW, I still think about how easily you rewrote that one scene of mine. I use your version as a guide.

I'm always happy to help, but as I mentioned previously, I'm an overly harsh editor, which is why I avoid doing it. I tend to scare away more authors than I actually help. However, I also deal with the story content, and how to improve the story rather than cleaning up the language, which makes a significant difference from standard 'editing'.

In the end, I don't expect any author to accept my choices for their story, but just hope they pick up reasons I relate in my choices when they continue writing, so they can avoid those types of situations in the future.

Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

(Yeah, I know that really DID happen, lot's of people don't.)

It's happened (in real life) more than once. It's not as 'unusual' as we'd prefer to believe. Desperate people do desperate things.

REP

@StarFleet Carl

I'm glad I wasn't the only one ...


I recall reading about other incidents where flight crew had mental, alcohol, or drug issues, so my thought was whether I ever wanted to travel by air in the future.

Replies:   Uther_Pendragon
Ross at Play
Updated:

I don't have evidence to substantiate this, but I think one reason to favour posting stories as a serial is they'll probably receive a better score, mostly because readers are less likely to detect repetitive plot elements when reading a story in fragments as a serial.

I notice that a lot with TV shows. For example, two of my favourite programs as they were being released were Breaking Bad and Criminal Minds. I found both somewhat tedious when I rewatched multiple seasons sequentially.

With Breaking Bad, the on again-off again relationship between Walter and Jesse quickly became very obvious and very irritating. With Criminal Minds it was that almost every episode is resolved with 'Dues ex machina': someone asks Garcia to do a search and the name of the culprit instantly pops out of her magical computer.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

I don't have evidence to substantiate this, but I think one reason to favour posting stories as a serial is they'll probably receive a better score, mostly because readers are less likely to detect repetitive plot elements when reading a story in fragments as a serial.

Many of the stories posted and listed on SoL as serials are completed at one point. If your assumption would be true, the scores of those former serials would decline over time. I don't know if that's true but personally, I haven't noticed it.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Uther_Pendragon

@REP

so my thought was whether I ever wanted to travel by air in the future.


Adding up all the causes of crashes in airplanes against all the causes of crashes in automobiles, it is vastly safer per mile to travel by airplane,

Replies:   REP
Ross at Play

@robberhands

If your assumption would be true, the scores of those former serials would decline over time.

Yes, that would a consequence of my assumption, but stories could still eventually settle at a higher score than they would have if posted all at once.

And we can't ask for anecdotal evidence from the usual suspects here ... ? Them saying they've noticed a fading of scores after posting is completed would amount to an admission their plots are repetitious. :(

Uther_Pendragon

@REP

It was clear. How do you propose finding out how many unfinished stories the 'post when complete' authors have written?


Is that even a fair question?
When you post a story and leave it half done, you've wasted one hell of a lot of readers' time. when you abandon a story before posting, you merely have a mine for story aspects you can go to in the future.

Ernest Bywater

@Ross at Play

And we can't ask for anecdotal evidence from the usual suspects here ... ?


True, because some of us don't track the scores at all. The only times I look at the scores is when I see a need to reference them in a forum thread response.

I post my stories over a period with 5,000 to 10,000 words going up every other day because I learned, from their feedback, that's what a majority of my readers like to see as a new new posting. Sure, not everyone wants it that way, but that's what was wanted by the majority of those who emailed me in the past, so it's what I do.

robberhands
Updated:

@Ross at Play

Yes, that would a consequence of my assumption, but stories could still eventually settle at a higher score than they would have if posted all at once.

I posted my first story on SoL 2012-09-09, and completed it 2012-12-21. The story is 936kb in 29 chapters. By the end of my about weekly posting schedule I had aproximately 6,000 weekly downloads of a newly released chapter. Since the completion of the 'serial' in 2012, the story accumulated four times as many downloads and votes in the time following its completion. And no, the score did not fade over time.

You apply the term 'serial' purely in regards to the primal posting schedule but you have to keep in mind that the majority of readers will read the story (not a serial) after it's completed.

Reluctant_Sir
Updated:

@evilynnthales

I tried the serial route, posting chapters as I wrote them, and I can say that it failed miserably. When I hit a wall, I let the story languish for a year before I got back to it.

That failure bugged me so now I only post completed stories. I still post serially, a chapter every other day, but they are complete before the first chapter is posted.

Anecdotally, I have experimented with my last five stories, varying 'full post' with serial, and the frequency of posting chapters. I have had a much better turnout, more apparent readers, posting every other day.

It keeps the story appearing on the front page and more readers see it than if you post the entire story and walk away. Then, only your dedicated readers see it unless it comes up in a search.

This is only my totally unscientific approach and I obviously don't have a significant sample for a real statistical analysis so it all comes down to.. 'In My Opinion'

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play

@robberhands

the story accumulated four times as many downloads and votes in the time following its completion.

Which suggests about 80% read the story after it was fully posted. That's more than I'd have guessed.

And no, the score did not fade over time.

I'm impressed. I genuinely believe that it's much easier for readers to notice things in a story which disturb them if they read an entire story sequentially.

robberhands

@Ross at Play

I'm impressed.

80% readers in the five and a half years since the story was completed, versus 20% readers within the four months of its posting. I don't know whether that's unusual or even impressive.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@robberhands

I don't know whether that's unusual or even impressive.

I was impressed that the score did not fade after posting was completed. That suggests to me that the plot does not have major weaknesses. :-)

robberhands

@Ross at Play

I can't even understand why you would suspect a weakness in a story I wrote.

Replies:   Ross at Play
REP
Updated:

@Uther_Pendragon


it is vastly safer per mile to travel by airplane,


Yeah, I know. For me it is more a matter of control. Do I want to place my safety in the hands of people I don't know?

Add in the frustration of TSA lines and rules, putting up with fellow passengers who are inconsiderate and idiots, crying babies, and parents allowing bored kids to kick the back of your seat and scream at each other.

ETA: I almost forgot the United flight I was on where they served a buffet lunch. Everyone had to get out of their seats, move to the rear of the airplane using the right aisle, get their food, and return to their seat using the left aisle. I'll never forget the woman who intended to lean on my seat and ended up sitting on my shoulder totally unaware of what she was doing. Heaven help anyone who had to use the toilets that were at the rear of the airplane. They ran out of food before everyone was served.

Replies:   BlacKnight
BlacKnight

@REP

Yeah, I know. For me it is more a matter of control. Do I want to place my safety in the hands of people I don't know?


So instead of placing your safety in the hands of a handful of trained professionals you don't know, you'll place it in the hands of all the thousands of other people you don't know who are allowed to share the roads with you because they took a twenty-minute test when they were in high school.

Add in the frustration of TSA lines and rules, putting up with fellow passengers who are inconsiderate and idiots, crying babies, and parents allowing bored kids to kick the back of your seat and scream at each other.


The TSA is the reason I don't fly anymore.

Replies:   REP
Ross at Play

@robberhands

@robberhands

I can't even understand why you would suspect a weakness in a story I wrote.

@Ross at Play

Trust, but verify
- Ronald Reagan

REP

@BlacKnight

So instead of placing your safety . . .


Trained professionals who might be drunk, on drugs, suicidal, etc. When I drive those thousands of people can adversely affect my safety, but they don't hold my safety in their hands. Up to a point, my safety is in my hands. I can change my speed, adjust my following distance, change lanes, and do other things to reduce the probability of my being injured.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@REP

When I drive those thousands of people can adversely affect my safety, but they don't hold my safety in their hands.

You'd be safer spending your entire life on passenger planes than walking the streets of America.
- Total deaths worldwide during 2017 from passenger plane crashes: 0
- Total deaths in America during 2017 from mass shootings: 118

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

If your assumption would be true, the scores of those former serials would decline over time.

Yes, that would a consequence of my assumption, but stories could still eventually settle at a higher score than they would have if posted all at once.

And we can't ask for anecdotal evidence from the usual suspects here ... ? Them saying they've noticed a fading of scores after posting is completed would amount to an admission their plots are repetitious. :(

Given that scores for these stories tend to rise over time, rather than falling, I suspect the opposite is true. That the stories are so popular, that readers more easily forgive their many faults, as long as they are posted on a regular basis and readers can continue to enjoy the story even long after they first finished reading the completed story years ago.

Crumbly Writer

@Uther_Pendragon

Is that even a fair question?
When you post a story and leave it half done, you've wasted one hell of a lot of readers' time. when you abandon a story before posting, you merely have a mine for story aspects you can go to in the future.

I agree. There's zero 'social' costs for an unfinished and unposted story, while an abandoned story is a major disappointing time-such for many individuals who all tend to feel abused by the author—whether it's legitimate or not.

Replies:   robberhands
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

- Total deaths worldwide during 2017 from passenger plane crashes: 0


Incorrect. Zero is the total number of deaths from commercial passenger jets.

When you factor in other commercial planes plus non-commercial planes and helicopters, I'd be extremely surprised if the total didn't exceed 118. And the total number of person-minutes of air-travel worldwide is considerably less than the number of person-minutes of people in America.

AJ

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

You apply the term 'serial' purely in regards to the primal posting schedule but you have to keep in mind that the majority of readers will read the story (not a serial) after it's completed.

What's more, most readers will re-read their favorite stories multiple times.

Crumbly Writer

@Reluctant_Sir

It keeps the story appearing on the front page and more readers see it than if you post the entire story and walk away. Then, only your dedicated readers see it unless it comes up in a search.

This is only my totally unscientific approach and I obviously don't have a significant sample for a real statistical analysis so it all comes down to.

Your observations are borne out by the (anecdotal) evidence observed by many authors as well.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

the story accumulated four times as many downloads and votes in the time following its completion.

Which suggests about 80% read the story after it was fully posted. That's more than I'd have guessed.

Not necessarily, as I just stated above, many readers semi-frequently reread their favorite stories. What's more, those who've been reading a story a chapter at a time will often go back when it completes and reread it as a completed work. So far, no one seems to have a decent feel for how many of those are new readers as opposed to re-readers. :(

Replies:   helmut_meukel
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I was impressed that the score did not fade after posting was completed. That suggests to me that the plot does not have major weaknesses.

Once again, the trend for most (non-controversial) stories is that the score jumps at the completion, as readers post their 'final' scores, then drops significally within a few days as those who weren't interested enough to read it as it was posting vote that it's still not their favorite story. However, over time, the scores tend to increase over time, so you really can't base your success on your initial scores.

My all-time favorite stories on SOL (based exclusively on scores) were often my lowest rated stories, as they were the last in the series, where the readers had to finally say 'goodbye' to the characters, yet in the long run, the final wrap up, even if the main characters ended up dying for their cause, end up as the most memorial.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

When I drive those thousands of people can adversely affect my safety, but they don't hold my safety in their hands.

You'd be safer spending your entire life on passenger planes than walking the streets of America.

He wasn't saying that we was safer, only that he felt safer. In other words, being in control gave him a greater feeling of confidence, as opposed to blindly trusting people he had no reason to feel confident about.

That's not an unreasonable assumption. It all boils down to whether you base your safety concerns on dry statistics, often taken out of context, or from what makes you feel safer in the long run.

robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

I agree. There's zero 'social' costs for an unfinished and unposted story, while an abandoned story is a major disappointing time-such for many individuals who all tend to feel abused by the author—whether it's legitimate or not.

What about people like me, who greatly enjoyed unfinished stories, even though knowing they'll probably never get completed?

Of course, you are right, if the incomplete story would have never been posted, I wouldn't know what I've missed, but does that mean there is no loss?

Ross at Play

AJ & CW,

Crikey! Do I really need a smiley on that one to tell you I was just trying to have a bit of fun?

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

Of course, you are right, if the incomplete story would have never been posted, I wouldn't know what I've missed, but does that mean there is no loss?

Ross's objections notwithstanding, although I've long maintained that several of my all-time favorite stories are/were abandoned, in the end, there's no 'social cost' to what someone has never experienced. They may have loved the story, but if they've never read it, by definition, they'll have no opinion on it. :) (That's for you, Ross, since I know you enjoy them so much!)

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

...there's no 'social cost' to what someone has never experienced.

What a surprisingly clear and patently shallow statement.

awnlee jawking

@robberhands

What about people like me, who greatly enjoyed unfinished stories, even though knowing they'll probably never get completed?


Oh no, my life is ruined. I'm 'like' robberhands.

(One of my favourite stories on SOL is 'The Private' by Random Writings. It's currently incomplete, updates have become exponentially further apart and, tbh, an ending would probably weaken the story.)

AJ

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@awnlee jawking

Oh no, my life is ruined. I'm 'like' robberhands.

Dream on.

richardshagrin

@Uther_Pendragon

When you post a story and leave it half done

Then you are a serial killer.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

When you post a story and leave it half done

Then you are a serial killer.

Only if you quite mid-way through the series, and then you're not technically a 'killer', you're merely a serial abandoner, like many dead-beat fathers.

helmut_meukel

@Crumbly Writer

many readers semi-frequently reread their favorite stories. What's more, those who've been reading a story a chapter at a time will often go back when it completes and reread it as a completed work. So far, no one seems to have a decent feel for how many of those are new readers as opposed to re-readers.


And then there may be more reader like me.
When I start reading a story and I like it, then I go back and save the chapters I've already read on my computer, then go to the next unread chapter, save it and read it.
When I've read the whole story I've all chapters on a drive and don't need to download it again for re-reading.
So I download only the first few chapter twice. Any observer will probably assume a new reader stopped reading after the first few chapters!

If I really like the story, I use Calibre's edit program to create an ebook and start re-reading the story while still in the edit program, correcting any typos and obvious errors on the fly.

As already stated in another post I usually don't read not concluded stories, with the exception of Oyster50's stories. All chapters I download twice: first time when I see a new chapter is available, the second time when the next chapter is available, to see if the now old chapter got updated and to store the update. I already created ebooks for Community Four(Ever) and Bill and Haley and Deena and add the new chapters whenever I've two or three together on the drive. Finally I update my ebook reader.

HM.

Replies:   Keet  Crumbly Writer
Keet
Updated:

@helmut_meukel


And then there may be more reader like me.


Partly I do the same although I also download stories I previous read just for safe-keeping, especially since stories get archived. The per page "save-as" method is annoying but I have written some code to recreate a nice index, replace headers and footers with new links to previous/next page and have my own css file to make it look good.

Now what does this do the the registering of my reading? Very little since I reread most on the site itself. The downloads are mainly for safe-keeping or for the very rare times I have no internet connection. I even score the story again after I have reread it. Sometimes it's even a different score from the one I gave before.

Replies:   Centaur
Centaur

@Keet

The per page "save-as" method is annoying


I use to use the save-as, I found an FF plug-in that generates the HTML name based on the title so the output looks like.

(story Name) By (author) Chapter (X) (chapter header).htm

instead of

Chapter (x)(stoy name).htm


Title Save

I also use snap2html for file and directory listings

Snap2Html

Replies:   Keet
Crumbly Writer

@helmut_meukel

When I've read the whole story I've all chapters on a drive and don't need to download it again for re-reading.
So I download only the first few chapter twice. Any observer will probably assume a new reader stopped reading after the first few chapters!

If I really like the story, I use Calibre's edit program to create an ebook and start re-reading the story while still in the edit program, correcting any typos and obvious errors on the fly.

While that's not an uncommon approach, it means you'll likely miss most of the author's updates, as it's extremely rare that I'll even be alerted to any mistakes within the first week. More often, I'll get someone reading the story much later, who'll point out a few issues. I'll encourage him, telling him how I applied his suggestions, so he'll report a few more. Long story short, they end up doing a major edit on most of the story (if I respond quickly enough, less if I don't), not just changing the obvious typos you might notice, but often changing other story issues as well as making the changes suit the characters and account for what happens elsewhere in the story.

Thus, in a way, you're ultimately cheating yourself out of the later updates. A better approach would be to read the entire story, offer sample suggestions to the author, and then, when you're done, download the entire story as an epub (assuming you have Premium access), converting that using Calibre into whichever format you prefer.

For example, I'm preparing to start posting yet another story. Since it's a sequel, I plan to repost each chapter to include the various updates suggested by my editor including the additions I added concerning any issues they discovered.

In the end, I'm not complaining about your approach, but pointing out that you may be missing some of the finer changes hidden in the newer updates.

Keet
Updated:

@Centaur

I use to use the save-as, I found an FF plug-in that generates the HTML name based on the title so the output looks like.


My code generates new files just using the downloaded files with whatever name they have so no need for any plugins, you still have to download per page. Besides, snap2html is windows only which I don't have.

Replies:   madnige
madnige

@Keet

snap2html is windows only


Not quite - Snap2HTML (says it) needs the .NET framework which used to be MSWin only, but now seems to be more widely available, though I've not tried either, and I doubt it could be usefully integrated into a script.

@Crumbly Writer

missing some of the finer changes hidden in the newer updates.

For non-MSWin this can be avoided with a script that examines the SOL update dates vs the dates of saved stories, and either download&saves, or queues for download&save, examining all the already-downloaded files on a slow, rotating basis to keep site traffic low but assure all saved stories are checked. A script like this is on my 'write it sometime' list, but at the moment I'm more interested in automating the queue-for-save of stories added to the 'to be archived' list, which is a very manual process for me at present.

Replies:   Keet
Keet

@madnige

with a script that examines the SOL update dates vs the dates of saved stories

Am I wrong that to get those dates you have to open a story and check every chapter if it is updated? With a 16-story limit that won't work when the number of stories you must check starts to grow. Besides, I don't think Lazeez will be happy with that sort of actions and will soon find a way to block it. With the way I now download it is just like reading so no extra load for the site. I wish there was a list that gave every (chapter) update in the last 2 days or so. That way you don't have to put extra load on the site and will not miss any updates.

Replies:   madnige
madnige
Updated:

@Keet


Am I wrong that to get those dates you have to open a story and check every chapter if it is updated?


Yes, you are wrong - there is a facility (not a single link or a page) where a URL of the form

https : // storiesonline.net / library / storyInfo.php ? id = (the naked storyID)

(without spaces - added to defeat autoconvertion to link)

returns, for multichapter stories, a table showing posted and (if any) latest update for each chapter. This was once premier-only, but seems to be standard now, and it is linked from the RSS feeds 'More Info' links. E.g.:
https://storiesonline.net/library/storyInfo.php?id=51991

I emphasised a slow, rotating basis because such a script should only recheck stories occasionally, and leave increasing amounts of time between checks; something like 1 week, 1 month, 10 months, 4 years from the download date. You could do it by downloading as you say on a similar timescale, this would create an effective limit of three stories/day. I would expect that if there were a page such as you suggest (all updates in the last few days, or similar), that that page would be a premier-only page so not very useful to you. What I would like would be for the premier status of a story to be flagged in the above info; the only way I can see to get it from a story ID is to get the above info, craft an advanced search by author/title (extracted from the above), and examine the search result; a rather involved process I haven't even started to think about trying to automate.

Replies:   Keet
Keet

@madnige

Thank you! I had no idea this feature was available. You now have given me a big problem: I have to revisit all the stories I have saved to get their id's. That are a lot of stories...

Replies:   madnige
madnige
Updated:

@Keet

I have the opposite big problem; just about all my stories are saved by storyID, so when storyIDs are re-used, I think I've already saved it. I've got to go through all my saved stories (a few thousand) and check that the author and title match what's on SOL (and check there have been no updates, and possibly rename from the old StoryID:PostingID.html naming to Chapter_Title or something else sensible).

ETA:
I've just checked a recent save, and the only place I could see the storyID in the html is in the 'Settings' link, where there's ...refer=/s/12345:987654/chapter-title..., with 12345 being the story ID. I'm not a sed&grep guru, but I think something like
sed -n /&.*refer=/s/([0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9]:.*^/%1/s (with syntax corrected etc) should spit out just the story ID when fed with a saved html file

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