My New Approach

#1
I already have one fic up (Saviour of the World) that I'm posting once a week. I have it planned out and I try to make each chapter as complete as I can. It takes quite a lot of time.

So, I've decided to do another fic at the same time that I will be posting daily. But to do that, I'm making each chapter very short, 400-800 words (basically 1-2 pages). I think I can keep up this pace for at least the next 30 days.

Anyone tried something like this? Any advice/warnings for me?

I chose a summoning to an RPG world type story because I like them, people here seem to like them, and the tropes and general setting are familiar enough to give me an easy start to the story. 

I should point out I'm improvising the story with no idea where it's going or how they even got to this world, so any help I get from using established tropes is attractive to me, although maybe I'll end up writing something horribly clichéd. 

The characters aren't OP. The opposite in fact. They're the guys left behind when everyone else parties up and they struggle to stay alive. Still not all that original but hopefully it will allow for some dramatic moments until I get a plot going.

So, do you think short, regular chapters will appeal to people here? Has it been tried before?

You can check it out here: How to Avoid Death on a Daily Basis 

So far I've got two chapters up. But as an idea, a daily serial that only gives you a very short snack rather than a meal (a bit like a 4-koma manga) is it enough to hold interest? And what elements do I need to introduce ASAP?

RE: My New Approach

#2
Don't post chapters simply based on word count.  Your story will suffer.

Chapters serve a very real purpose in a story, just as paragraphs and words do -- they help control the flow and pace of your story.  Chapters are traditionally a transition from one scene to another.  For very fast, action paced scenes in your story, the chapters should be short, brief, and tense.  After all, who wants to read 4 pages of description about the make, model, size, smell, metal the gun is made out of....  in the middle of an intense gunfight?

Those scenes should be short, and intense.  Pick up a good thriller (like any from James Patterson), and you'll see that those chapters are only 6-700 words each.  You want white space in the story, rapid turning of pages, and quick lines for the reader to scan rapidly to produce that feeling of intensity and action.

On the other hand, romance novels are very descriptive, holding onto the moment and going into every little detail.  Those stories are 3000+ words per chapter on average, as the pacing tends to be slower and steamier...




My advice?  

If you can only write 500 words a day, only write 500 words a day.  Just pick back up where you need to the next day to finish your scene.  Let the scene, and the chapter it's contained within, take as many pages as it needs to described properly -- whether that's a single word, or 100,000.  

Don't let math and word counts be a part of your writing.  Enjoy the story you're telling, and let it flow at its own pace.  If you like your work, in time other people will as well.  If you think your work is a "chore", that'll come across in your writing and others will pick up on it and feel the same way.

The most import thing of all:  Simply enjoy yourself, and enjoy the story you're telling.  Everything else is just not worrying over.  :D

RE: My New Approach

#3
@Darkbringer

I take your point and in general I agree with you, but I'm already writing a standard novel in the manner you describe. This is more about putting restraints on myself to see what I can produce under pressure.

Putting limits on yourself, whether it's time or word count or whatever, can force creativity. I want each short chapter to have some sort of impact on the reader and I want the story to build over a long period in little chunks. I could fail miserably, but it's already quite stimulating for me mentally.

I don't think being constrained by a format will make for a less enjoyable writing experience, and in many ways it could inspire ideas I might not come up with otherwise. I'll have to wait and see.

Thanks very much for your input.

RE: My New Approach

#4
02/12/2016 18:17:53mooderino Wrote: [ -> ]I already have one fic up (Saviour of the World) that I'm posting once a week. I have it planned out and I try to make each chapter as complete as I can. It takes quite a lot of time.

So, I've decided to do another fic at the same time that I will be posting daily. But to do that, I'm making each chapter very short, 400-800 words (basically 1-2 pages). I think I can keep up this pace for at least the next 30 days.

Anyone tried something like this? Any advice/warnings for me?

I chose a summoning to an RPG world type story because I like them, people here seem to like them, and the tropes and general setting are familiar enough to give me an easy start to the story. 

I should point out I'm improvising the story with no idea where it's going or how they even got to this world, so any help I get from using established tropes is attractive to me, although maybe I'll end up writing something horribly clichéd. 

The characters aren't OP. The opposite in fact. They're the guys left behind when everyone else parties up and they struggle to stay alive. Still not all that original but hopefully it will allow for some dramatic moments until I get a plot going.

So, do you think short, regular chapters will appeal to people here? Has it been tried before?

You can check it out here: How to Avoid Death on a Daily Basis 

So far I've got two chapters up. But as an idea, a daily serial that only gives you a very short snack rather than a meal (a bit like a 4-koma manga) is it enough to hold interest? And what elements do I need to introduce ASAP?


My story is pretty much a short chapter with daily release. I get a lot of comments about chapter length. Four hundred words is definitely too short for once a day. Six hundred to eight hundred is still kinda cutting it close, I believe. I started off writing 400-800 words for my first few chapters and the majority of the comments were, 'chapters too short.' I don't have another story I write on the side, so I don't know how that'll factor in. As long as you stick with it and your story is readable, I think it'll work. Other examples of short stories with daily releases would be Descent of Phoenix and The Demonic King Chases His Wife (although those two are chinese webnovels and I'm not too sure about their success).

In other words, short chapters with daily release works for me, although I've been trying to increase the length of my chapters. I average about 1300 words a chapter now, but still get the occasional 'chapters too short' comment.

RE: My New Approach

#5
02/15/2016 03:49:14Virlyce Wrote: [ -> ]My story is pretty much a short chapter with daily release. I get a lot of comments about chapter length. Four hundred words is definitely too short for once a day. Six hundred to eight hundred is still kinda cutting it close, I believe. I started off writing 400-800 words for my first few chapters and the majority of the comments were, 'chapters too short.' I don't have another story I write on the side, so I don't know how that'll factor in. As long as you stick with it and your story is readable, I think it'll work. Other examples of short stories with daily releases would be Descent of Phoenix and The Demonic King Chases His Wife (although those two are chinese webnovels and I'm not too sure about their success).

In other words, short chapters with daily release works for me, although I've been trying to increase the length of my chapters. I average about 1300 words a chapter now, but still get the occasional 'chapters too short' comment.


Thanks for sharing your first hand experiences.  The length of my chapters is more to do with how much time I have available than anything. I'll try to make them longer if I can.

I noticed with your story you posted several chapters a day on some days. Was it popular from the get-go or did it take off after a certain number of chapters were up?

RE: My New Approach

#6
I'm doing something similar with Sasha (not posting in full length chapters), some people complain about the word count (but I ignore them, Bwahahaha!)

Used to post full chapters, but I find it harder to post at a regular pace. (Might be just me)
So ya, *still trying it*, but I'm leaning more toward actually writing and finishing stories first BEFORE even posting a single part or chapter, then just edit them as I post. (My next strategy)

RE: My New Approach

#7
02/15/2016 13:00:34Chiisutofupuru Wrote: [ -> ]I'm doing something similar with Sasha (not posting in full length chapters), some people complain about the word count (but I ignore them, Bwahahaha!)

Used to post full chapters, but I find it harder to post at a regular pace. (Might be just me)
So ya, *still trying it*, but I'm leaning more toward actually writing and finishing stories first BEFORE even posting a single part or chapter, then just edit them as I post. (My next strategy)


Having a complete story to post would be best but would need some kind of planning and effort (whatever those are).

I can see why people would want longer chapters, especially once they get into the story, but I think of it as one long chapter you could read once a week if you wanted to, just that posting daily gives it more exposure (maybe?).

Would be interested in any observations you make as you post your short chapters. If there's a point where you gain critical mass, if posting more than once a day gives you a spike, if things like positive/negative reviews make a difference etc. These are things I'm wondering about but haven't really got far enough into my story to know the answers.

RE: My New Approach

#8
02/15/2016 11:41:28mooderino Wrote: [ -> ]Thanks for sharing your first hand experiences.  The length of my chapters is more to do with how much time I have available than anything. I'll try to make them longer if I can.

I noticed with your story you posted several chapters a day on some days. Was it popular from the get-go or did it take off after a certain number of chapters were up?


Usually, I have extra time on weekends so I write more than one chapter on those days. I'm not sure if it was popular from the get-go because it's my first story I'm writing. Once I hit the top weekly 5th place, the number of views kinda exploded to where I am now.

I think people might be put off by short chapters because it interrupts the flow of the story if they have to wait every day for minor advances in plot. I think it worked for me because my story's a comedy.

RE: My New Approach

#9
It all depends on the content and genres. Comedies work well with short bursts while serious ones are better left at the size of epics once written and work better served in chunks, rather than nibbles. The more I write my joke projects, the more they tend to be quick, simple, and under 5k words while my more serious pieces are at least 3k word pieces and continue on past the individual chapter.

As long as you can intro a new piece, flesh it out a bit, and wrap it up nicely (cliffhangers work too) all in one neat little package, then go ahead and write your story in bites. I'm sort of doing this with Noodle Knight, but I write at a far slower pace and with much less dedication than many of the others who've been commenting in the forums.

RE: My New Approach

#10
02/15/2016 22:47:40Virlyce Wrote: [ -> ]Usually, I have extra time on weekends so I write more than one chapter on those days.


That's interesting. I might post twice this weekend to see if that makes a difference, just as an experiment.


02/15/2016 23:19:45j0nn0 Wrote: [ -> ]It all depends on the content and genres. Comedies work well with short bursts while serious ones are better left at the size of epics once written and work better served in chunks, rather than nibbles. The more I write my joke projects, the more they tend to be quick, simple, and under 5k words while my more serious pieces are at least 3k word pieces and continue on past the individual chapter.

As long as you can intro a new piece, flesh it out a bit, and wrap it up nicely (cliffhangers work too) all in one neat little package, then go ahead and write your story in bites. I'm sort of doing this with Noodle Knight, but I write at a far slower pace and with much less dedication than many of the others who've been commenting in the forums.


I'm trying to make sure each chapter has some sort of impact within it. Sometimes humour, sometimes a fight, something memorable to make it feel like it was worth reading even that small amount. Not saying I succeed always, but that's my goal with each submission.

RE: My New Approach

#11
02/16/2016 15:06:41BlaiseCorvin Wrote: [ -> ]This is not (entirely) a shameless self promotion.  Honestly.

OP, my story on RRL is about 2 men who are abducted to an alien, sword and sorcery world.  I like what I've been doing so far.  My chapters are longer than you intend yours to be, but you might get some ideas from looking at my stuff.

Story's name is Delvers LLC  ::) Link is in my sig.


I had a look (your diabolical plan worked!) and it seems much more like a normal length for a chapter but you're posting daily (sometimes more) so either you have a lot of spare time, write very quickly, or completed multiple chapters before you started posting. At least that's what I'm guessing, I could have overlooked an option. I'd be interested to know your method, if you care to share.

RE: My New Approach

#12
02/17/2016 05:41:48BlaiseCorvin Wrote: [ -> ]It's actually a combination of all three.

I'm benefiting from the fact that I already did a big chunk of world building for another story I'm writing and 'Delvers loosely fits into that universe.  The races for example are really nice to already have fleshed out.

I also worry less about world building for Ludus than other stories I've done.  It literally took me 10 minutes to draw up a world map in MS Paint and give countries names.  I'm like the Hakuna Matata writer.  

For my writing speed... yes, I can write fast.  My typing speed is around 80-90 WPM and 'Delvers is one of the easiest things I've ever written.  It just kind of finds its way onto the page.

I actually don't have loads of spare time.  What I've been doing to be more productive is waking up early and writing before work.  I've found that when I wake up, I'm already in work "mode".  If I wait to write after work, sometimes I put it off or I feel lethargic.  It was a simple life change but it had a profound impact on my writing speed.

Last but not least, and this definitely may not work for everyone, I have loosely plotted my story but that's it.  I'm allowing the specifics to write themselves out organically.  I kind of learned this lesson when I used to GM RPGs.  I'm treating my characters as my players and I think it has made my character interactions more realistic, which in turn makes me enjoy writing more, which makes my characters realistic... etc. etc. 

I'm not sure if any of this will work for you, but it has been working for me.

One last point worth mentioning is that Delvers is a fun story and it's a fun story to write.  I actually started writing Delvers as a writer's doodling exercise when I had writer's block for my other story.  I never intended to write more than a single chapter.  However, I got so many people saying they liked it that I just kind of stuck with it.  Now here I am. :)

It may sound cliche, but the more fun you have while writing, the faster you may be able to write.


Thanks, very interesting. Although what is this "waking up early" you speak of?  Must be an ability I haven't unlocked yet.

RE: My New Approach

#13
02/17/2016 18:30:41BlaiseCorvin Wrote: [ -> ]
Quote:

Thanks, very interesting. Although what is this "waking up early" you speak of?  Must be an ability I haven't unlocked yet.


You might need to level up but I hear "coffee" is a pretty good consumable item to get past the necessary grind. :P


"Waking up"? This I do not know. Coffee, I understand. Is "waking up" somehow related to that odd "sleep" thing you humans do?

How marvelous!!

RE: My New Approach

#14
Quick update on my little experiment.

I managed to post daily, chapters around 600-800 words and by the end of the first week I had an avg of just over 200 views and 19 followers. That's around 10%, which someone mentioned as a decent ratio for a fic on this site.

Quite happy so far, but I did get a few complaints about chapters being too short (as predicted by some in this thread). Taking a tip from another post in this thread I told followers I would post multiple chapters over the weekend when I had free time. 

On both Saturday and Sunday I posted 3 chapters. My avg views is now a bit over 400 and I have 47 followers (still around 10%).  More chapters brought in a lot more readers and more comments. They aren't silly numbers, I'm not going to break into the top 5 any time soon, but readers do seem to respond well to more regular subs.

Of course they have to like the story to stay, but as a way to attract attention, spamming chapters does seem to work.

Will be interesting to see if numbers drop as I return to a one-a-day release schedule for this week.

RE: My New Approach

#15
02/22/2016 14:05:14mooderino Wrote: [ -> ]Quick update on my little experiment.

I managed to post daily, chapters around 600-800 words and by the end of the first week I had an avg of just over 200 views and 19 followers. That's around 10%, which someone mentioned as a decent ratio for a fic on this site.

Quite happy so far, but I did get a few complaints about chapters being too short (as predicted by some in this thread). Taking a tip from another post in this thread I told followers I would post multiple chapters over the weekend when I had free time. 

On both Saturday and Sunday I posted 3 chapters. My avg views is now a bit over 400 and I have 47 followers (still around 10%).  More chapters brought in a lot more readers and more comments. They aren't silly numbers, I'm not going to break into the top 5 any time soon, but readers do seem to respond well to more regular subs.

Of course they have to like the story to stay, but as a way to attract attention, spamming chapters does seem to work.

Will be interesting to see if numbers drop as I return to a one-a-day release schedule for this week.


I don't have much to say on writing, but from a readers perspective, I kind of wish this site didn't incentivize spamming chapters as much as it does. Mostly because I prefer works that are as long as possible. If I'm going to follow it, I will take time out of every day to come to the fiction's page and look for updates. If they are too infrequent, I eventually stop until it gains some chapters, and if they are too short, I'd rather wait until it's a decent sitting worth of reading.

All of the above being said, I can see how having a word count goal can be both helpful and harmful. It's helpful in that it gets you to explore your abilities as a writer, just like, for example, having to write a haiku. It's harmful because those constraints make it seem like your coloring within the lines, you don't let creativity control the flow and pacing of the story. Which can be boring for a reader.

In any case, it's impressive that you can write two series at the same time, no matter the word count.

I know I certainly can't.

RE: My New Approach

#16
If I could post chapters of around 3000 words daily  I think that would satisfy most readers, but obviously I would end up in the loony bin. I just can't write that much every single day.

It's not so much a word count limit (so far chapters have ranged from 500-1500 words) but more a time constraint. And also it depends on what I can come up with. Some days brain no work.

Since the last update my avg views is 600 and I have 68 followers (still ~10%). So I'm still pulling in new readers, although a little slower than when I spam chapters (or maybe there are more people around on the weekend?). Regular updates seems to be the thing.

My other series which I release weekly has less than 200 avg views and 5 followers. But it also isn't a summoning/vrmmo/xanxia type of story, which I think are the ones that pull in the most readers on this site . O r maybe it just isn't very good.

With so many variable it's quite hard to figure out what works best. Even something like when in the day is the best time to upload a chapter to get maximum exposure is beyond me. All of my findings so far are pretty unscientific. But I do think posting every day is a big advantage. Anyway, got to go. Got a chapter to write.