Just Joined, advice?

4 years ago | Shaeor (Member)

Hello everybody, my name's Shaeor. I've been around for a while, lurking, but just joined. I'm glad I finally got around to it! So if I understand right I can contribute to the community by writing reviews, yes? Anything anybody wants reviewed, I can offer an opinion.

I'd also wonder if anybody has any advice pertaining to webserial writing in general and being a member of webfictionguide.com? How does one get their serial listed? I've heard it's a long term game and I'm prepared to keep a schedule. I've also read conflicting information on keeping a chapter cushion, like I should start with a few chapters already completed and keep that lead, yet at the same time I read about people rushing to finish chapters and get them online. Comments on that or anything in general?

I look forward to my time here, you can find my serial at:
It starts on 9/12/15

CHOSEN SHACKLES The screen is running static. Face your shadow.
DIRGE The light is dying. Hold your breath and go gently.

Read responses...


  1. Wildbow (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    I'm looking at your picture and imagining a baby just hammering away at the keyboard, that expression on its face.

    To get listed, you need to have a certain amount of material up. You can find the page here, with the information on criteria on the left: http://webfictionguide.com/about/submissions/

    I personally feel that 4k words or 3 installments is far too few. There's a lot of people who submit and then drop off the radar around the time their submission goes live. Either way, start by writing a backlog, even if it means delaying your serial. Get 16 or so chapters written and done. Use the time you take to create that backlog to gauge how much you can write a day, what length feels comfortable for your chapters, and what things are harder for you to write than others (action for some, dialogue for others, for example). Then take a step back, take a deep breath, and figure out what you can reasonably sustain over a long period of time.

    The long and short of it is that serial writing is more a marathon than a sprint. The backlog is the training, it lets you gauge the best pace, and gives you a cushion in case you stumble, which you will.

    The backlog eventually disappears, unless you're very consistent about maintaining or rebuilding it. My first 16 chapters lasted me about six months, with Christmas totaling the remainder. Thanks to the backlog, I was able to keep the chapters regular through my last and toughest semester at University. From then on, I've been writing chapters within 24 hours of the deadlines, with rare exceptions. I've been doing this for over 4 years now, and I've always had a Tuesday chapter and a Saturday chapter of a certain length. Thursday chapters (donation rewards) have always been provided, though I have had to reschedule now and again. But fans got what they paid for.

    In running this marathon, a stumble early on can leave you limping and frustrated for the remainder. The backlog helps prevent that. Later on, as you adjust and learn how to run this marathon, you don't need the cushion as much (though it'd be nice to have), and it's a hell of a lot harder to put in place.

    Other advice...

    Set expectations low. I think a lot of authors get discouraged when the audience is slow to arrive. Even Worm, which was pretty damn popular, took over a year before it had really regular commenters, passable stats, reader dialogue and critical feedback going on. For much of that year, I was writing full-time hours, 40-50 hours a week. You can't expect too much, and you have to find a reason to write that isn't 'I want my stuff to be read'. It can't be making money either, or it can, but you need to set appropriate expectations.

    The writing is work sometimes. Be prepared. There are days you don't want to write, because it's hard. I've personally found that momentum is critical to just plowing through. Making the writing a habit, and writing that chapter because you wrote the last 300 and got them out on time, and you'll be damned if you spoil that streak by screwing up this time.

  2. Shaeor (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Thanks for that Wildbow, read all your stuff btw.

    In light of that advice, I'm going to need to push the release date back, just knowing the size I want the chapters to run and my output speed on past writing projects. Is fifteen what you'd recommend for everyone or just people who are pulling a two updates a week schedule? If so, I'm still going to need to write about a novella's worth before I get running.

    Not in it for the money, writing is a hobby for me. I've got about four confirmed readers already so I'm not in a big rush (friends/family), but it is true I'd love to see a bigger readership at some point - who in the webserial world wouldn't. I'm thinking of setting up a teaser, since I've already got the site up, like a one thousand word chunk of the first chapter.

    And on the subject of the baby, I imagine that's what I look like when I'm marvelling at my own genius, hammering away at the keyboard.

    CHOSEN SHACKLES The screen is running static. Face your shadow.
    DIRGE The light is dying. Hold your breath and go gently.
  3. Kess (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Wildbow is full of useful advice. :)

    For me, I always start with a handful of posts as a buffer (5-ish, rather than the recommended 15, because I'm impatient, and generally have a good idea of where the story is going and how I'm going to write it, but mostly because I'm impatient). Life generally eats my buffer within the first couple of months of posting a serial, but by then I'm in the swing of the story enough to write and post at a pretty even cadence.

    I miss my buffer sometimes. I'm going to try a bigger one when I start the next book on Starwalker.

    As for getting involved in the community, reviews are always good, and chatting here on the forum is key. ;) Welcome to WFG!

  4. Patrick Rochefort (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Wildbow's hit all the usual talking points, and they're all solid advice.

    One I'd like to add: Please, for the love of god, if you're going to submit a banner to TopWebFiction, please don't make it ugly. Even a little care in the graphic design can go a long way.

    If you're looking to build your readership, cross-posting across sites like WattPad and Royal Road Legend isn't a terrible idea.

    If you want to be beloved by all on WebFictionGuide, write reviews. Write many of them, and write them well. They don't have to be positive or negative reviews, that's up to you. But write GOOD reviews, ones that show you analyzed a story thoughtfully and that you care about the craft of writing. (Check out the 'First Fifteen' review series for some great examples.)

    From Winter's Ashes: A Detective with nothing left to lose, against a Necromancer with a world to gain.
  5. Shaeor (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Kess - I've decided on eight, since eight is half of Wildbow's suggested sixteen and that'll buy me the same time gain with my update schedule. I expect it might run out, but I plan on being good about updates. Never tried before, might fail miserably! Also, I read a bit Starwalker back in the day, but life intervened and I never finished - liked what I read though.

    Patrick - Though I'm not a digital design guru, I can 'art' well enough, and if I can't handle the banner, (I would never settle for less that perfection) I have a friend that I could maybe coerce into doing one which puts all others to shame. Plus that's a ways out, I wouldn't worry about it just yet. I probably won't cross post, just knowing myself.

    I believe I've got what it takes to write a comprehensive review, I just need to pick something to read through, preferably something which hasn't gotten a lot of exposure I guess. Or not, I'm open to input. What makes a story good for reviewing?

    CHOSEN SHACKLES The screen is running static. Face your shadow.
    DIRGE The light is dying. Hold your breath and go gently.
  6. Emma (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    I think any story can be reviewed, good, bad, or mediocre. I personally only review completed work. That's mostly due to the fact that I think the ending makes the story. If I don't like the ending, it ruins the story for me. I also try to review things that don't have many reviews to get them more exposure. Reviewing is really all about personal tastes. If you have something to say about the story, say it. Author's love to hear feedback on their story.

  7. t4nky (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Trust me: the backlog Wildbow is recommending? It is not unreasonable. In fact, if you ever take a break, you will discover that the bigger your backlog, the more comfortable you'll feel. Trust the backlog.

    "An uneducated man may rob a rail car. An educated man can steal the railway."
  8. Wildbow (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Glory be to the backlog.

  9. Patrick Rochefort (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Can confirm the glory of the backlog. My current backlog is "only" ten weeks worth. D: Keep your backlog fat and sassy, and be prepared to rebuild it!

    From Winter's Ashes: A Detective with nothing left to lose, against a Necromancer with a world to gain.
  10. Shaeor (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    I've been getting into the backlog, plotting and writing, picked out a few stories to review on WFG as well. Praise be to the backlog, it assures posting reliability. But no matter what, I'll be writing the thing and, in a big way, the webserial part of it is secondary for me to the actual telling of the story. It's a story I intend to tell, for me and whoever will read it.

    In the end, the publishing of the story online will serve to make invisible pressure my motivator to continue and at best provide a bit wider audience. So backlogs are important, yes, but this is really mostly for me, and I sometimes write at an abysmally slow pace, sometimes frenetically. If anything, I’m most sure I want people to read it, and less sure I want them pacing me. I understand that’s part of the promise most people make with a webserial, that it will continue reliably – and I don’t defy that convention, but a schedule is something I may end up despising so powerfully that it’s hopeless to apply one. Like Wildbow wisely suggested, I’ll track my pace and make an informed decision. I do however regret making the site this early on, because it may be a very long time before I’d be ready to post anything. I’d say it’s because I’m a perfectionist but I’d feel like I was complementing myself.

    I do love writing and reading other writer’s works though, and I’ll be around for that. But it is webfictionguide, not webserialguide and I may end up wanting to finish and polish the hell out of the thing before letting it free to anyone’s eyes.

    So really, it ends up being a question of whether or not I really, really want to write an ongoing webserial – in which case patience is probably not a virtue which will come easily to me. Or if I simply want to tell this story and publish it online. Realistically, I’ll probably go for the latter, making backlog size a non-issue. But who knows, right now I’m looking at publishing the book I just finished and life happens. So if I can manage writing a huge backlog and end up feeling up to serializing when I’m done, a serial it will be. But for now, it’ll be a lot of writing because I want to, not because I’ve told myself I have to. That’s probably an affront to some people’s writing philosophy, but I’d rather be slow and enjoy the refining process than fast and efficient. I jumped the gun in trying to apply any sort of parameters to this thing, I may just be fickle :P

    This has been a really long post, thanks for reading.

    CHOSEN SHACKLES The screen is running static. Face your shadow.
    DIRGE The light is dying. Hold your breath and go gently.
  11. TimNoel (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Welcome! Seems everyone has given all the advice to be given. The wait to get listed is also time to get your webseries to a reasonable length. I am also very glad I made a backlog, because now I am doing an insane amount of over time at my job and have had very little time to write, but I have 8 weeks of content still ready.

    Chrysalis Experiment Series 1 complete! http://www.TimNoelFiction.com
  12. Unrak (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    I have to add another nod for giving yourself a backlog. This is a lesson I have learned the hard way, as I submitted my story for listing without having a backlog myself. While I have attempted to create one, this summer has made it hard: moving and job hunting in a new city.

  13. Michal (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    "I'd also wonder if anybody has any advice pertaining to webserial writing in general and being a member of webfictionguide.com?"


    Um...that's all I got.


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