Serial Writing is Hard

I’m writing my serial novel (if you follow this blog you may have noticed me mention it once or twice). The actual writing isn’t that hard, I just sit down and bang out a thousand or so words a day. It typically takes less than an hour of my time. Some days I do more, depending on what’s going on.

Here’s what’s hard: I don’t usually write in a linear fashion. When I was writing A Long Walk I did it faster than I’m doing Spellcraft and Heavy Artillery, but I did it completely non-linear. I wrote the intro, then I would maybe write a chapter near the end, then catch up with my main character again somewhere in the middle. If I wanted an easy day I would drop a chapter from the antagonists point of view (he was the easiest for me to write, completely self absorbed he rarely engages in actual conversation – I sometimes find dialog a challenge).

I can’t do that with Spellcraft and Heavy Artillery. I need to do the whole thing start to finish. No choice in the matter, I have to release a chapter every week, which means I have to have written that chapter, not some other chapter from three quarters of the way in. It’s a very different way of working. The software I use (apollopad) lets you re-order chapters by dragging and dropping them. I used that feature a lot during A Long Walk. It’s useless to me now.

Editing is another issue. Sure, I can make small edits as I go writing this book, but not major changes to continuity. I had to do that more than once during A Long Walk (if he didn’t have the tools to make fire before hitting the bridge he probably didn’t have them when fighting on the bridge… so I had to make those tools available beforehand). I’m certain I will make mistakes, I will have continuity errors, I will want to modify narrative choices, etc. and I really can’t, because those will have already been released, and been read (at this point I get about a hundred readers the day I release a chapter… which makes me really happy!).

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