Changing the Landing Page

11 months ago | mathtans (Member)

That's something I’ve been wondering about for a while now, and I'd like input. Has anyone else changed the first click into your story from WFG, so that it’s not at Part 1, but rather the start of a different arc? (That still works as an introduction?)

I’m of two minds about it. On the one hand, I feel Part 48 (3.01) is a better introduction in almost every way. The main character is more genre savvy, less selfish, and more powerful... the time travel is seen in the broader context... and it was written much more recently. On the other, there are oblique references to prior events (but maybe that’s a hook?), it could confuse, and I’m not sure it would make a damn bit of difference either way.

Anyone else have thoughts? Either in the generic, or as to whether I'm completely wrong and my Part 48 (https://mathtans.wordpress.com/2016/06/24/tt3-48-talking-to-herself/) is a terrible introduction by comparison? Thanks.

Writing a Time Travel serial: http://mathtans.wordpress.com
Writer of the personification of math serial: http://www.mathtans.ca

Read responses...

Responses

  1. Tartra (Member)

    Posted 11 months ago

    Alright - so three things:

    1.) I legitimately prefer the pacing and action of part 48 to part 1. There seems to be so much more purpose behind what everyone's doing in 48, where while I'm not too sure who everyone is, I can get the gist and there's enough mystery for me to want to figure out what's happening. Part 1 is very 'opening chapter-y', where yes, you're doing the appropriate introductions of all the concepts, but although you're appropriately giving Carrie's shock towards the events - and the sudden revelation of the events happening at all - the necessary amount of page space, it falls hard on the side of 'expected'.

    Now, if you were writing a novel, I wouldn't say anything about it. Part 1 is a good example of what a first chapter should be. But because you're asking (and I know you've noted a few issues with your readership), and because it's not a novel where I'd sit down and buckle up for a nice, slow build of mystery, I'm with you on thinking about a bump up to something like this as your first chapter instead. If you want the full force hit of What I Would In Your Shoes With Infinite Time On My Hands, I'd use 48 as my prologue - one of those teasers where you get a glimpse of events to come - and retool it to lead into 1 as a "Carrie thought back on how she got into this mess at all" deal. Because really, Part 1 is a good opening chapter, but it doesn't have that hook for me. I think, though, if I didn't have Part 1's content immediately coming in (as flashbacks or something; again, In Your Shoes With Infinite Time, I might write Parts 1 to 47 as fun flashbacks to pepper in and get super in there with timelines and continuity), I'd be too confused for too long to enjoy the payoff.

    2.) For me - and this is very, very subjective - 48 runs a little long. I know that as a serial, chapters can run as long as they need to, but I think for the sake of seeing how far readers go into your story, it'd help to have smaller and more focused sections. In 48, the natural break feels like where Buffy first says, "I think I'm funny, but I'm not." And In Your Shoes, I'd have a flashback to Chapter 1's content after, "Someone just tried to run off with my time machine," leading very neatly into Carrie's first thought of, "A time machine. That would solve everything." I'd want to make it look visually different, maybe as a different font or size or colour or whatever sort of formatting, to emphasize that this is happening in an earlier/different timeline for the reader's sake (and if you ever go down that crazy road, you can give Elizabeth and Buffy formats for their particular timelines; say if you made Elizabeth's red, then every time Elizabeth's name and dialogue came up, her words would also be in red, so they'd constantly stick out in Buffy's blue timeline or Carrie's original black), but you have enough content to go nuts with this and still stay organized.

    I'm emphasizing the length and pacing overall so you get one opinion you can specifically tie to a demographic to take with as many grains of salt as necessary: I like fast, rushed, action-packed stories, where things only happen because they're interesting and move the plot along, and where even if it means I have to be confused for a little while, that confusion is part of the fun and I trust you to fill me in when the time is right. Right now, I'm reading your chapter as very gentle, generous explanations of every obligatory scene. There's not a lot of risk-taking happening, so while I have every question answered that I could ever think to ask, I'd like to be thrown around a little more. Am I the sort of reader you want? Kinda? Then that's about all the attention you should give to this.

    3.) COMPLETELY UNRELATED - dude, I so totally left you a comment the other day! I wrote one on your short story with the mute magician (still love it, seriously). I was thinking of sending you an email but didn't because hurgle-blurgle, but what happened is that the comment wanted me to choose a profile as my ID (so WordPress was the one I picked, but there were a bunch of other ones), asked me to add in my WordPress url, and then redirected me straight to WordPress once I hit submit. I tried twice and then just left it in case you needed time to approve the comment, but I guess it never went through at all...? Just take another look at what you're using for comments. I don't know if it's worth fixing or if I'm the only one, but that's what happened to me.

    <3 you, mathtans. I'm always blown away by your commitment. I don't know of many writers who'd ask a question like this instead of throwing in the towel, because the thought of changing something so drastically would scare them. If I can help, I will. :)

    The Other Kind of Roommate — Like Fight Club meets X-Men meets The Matrix meets Superbad.
  2. mathtans (Member)

    Posted 11 months ago

    That's interesting and informative, thank you Tartra... in particular because it makes me realize how much the original Part 1 may be more indicative of my style of writing. I tend to spend 15-20 parts setting up the dominos (perhaps to the point where someone is wondering "why did he even tell that side story?") after which I tip one over, which hits part 6 which springs into part 13 which pops the balloon of part 9 and so forth, very Rube Goldberg. Then after 8 parts of everything imploding, I set more dominos up. So things DO move the plot along, but it takes half a year to realize it. (For instance, Carrie breaks her swan in Part 1. In Part 27, we realize that's what drove her and Julie together.) Even "Epsilon" suffers from this, which may be why only those invested in the original votes read on.

    Part 48, written as a stand-alone (much like the entry for Jim's site, or the mute magician piece) couldn't do that. Hence more rushed, with more action and pathos. But more atypical for me as far as serial writing. And I don't want to lure people in with a false promise, so maybe I should keep things as they are? It doesn't fix the lack of any hook in Part 1, but it doesn't give me a host of new problems. Aside from maybe the problem of, is this my style particularly atypical? Are more of you out there risk-takers?

    I tend to agree about the length, but all my T&T parts are about 3,000 words, since that's how I originally wrote them 15 years ago, and my edits only do so much. I debated two parts per week of 1,500 but they don't all have natural breakpoints and I wanted to keep scheduling simple and consistent. If I do push on into a new Book 5, the plan is to handle that better. You're kinda the reader I want in terms of being able to help me out, but point taken in that your style of reader may not enjoy my writing. :)

    On the unrelated note... I hate Blogger. It literally eats comments, because it wants you to be logged into it with your personal gmail as soon as you arrive (so it can track you?), and if you're not, it'll treat you like a second (fourth?) class citizen. At least WordPress tends to make it clear when a post doesn't work. Alas, I started with Blogger, and I use it for my math stuff and one-shot deals like that story. (I'm an OCD organization nut and publishing non-serialized things to my WP serial site would be like having one picture in a set of five slightly out of alignment. Auggh.) So no, I didn't see your comment, and you're not the first, and Blogger sucks. Ah well, thanks for trying!

    This stuff means too much to me for throwing in the towel... besides, according to this book here, I should always know where my towel is. So, has anyone else ever changed their landing page, or considered it? Guessing no?

    Writing a Time Travel serial: http://mathtans.wordpress.com
    Writer of the personification of math serial: http://www.mathtans.ca

Reply

You must log in to post.