See You, Space Cowboy

4 years ago | Khronosabre (Member)

Last night, the final chapter of Caelum Lex went live.

Chapter 1 was posted on September 21, 2012. 818 posts, over 650,000 words and exactly 3 years, 1 month and 30 days later, it's finally done. And what a mess it's been.

I don't really have the kind of useful statistics or information that other people here have, but nonetheless, I wanted to share this with you lot, not really because I'm that active here (I'm not, honestly, for which I apologize. I never really had the time to be a true community member), but because this place has definitely been a source of motivation for me throughout. Not just because of all the hits I got from here (which were awesome, by the way, thanks for all that) but just the fact that there were other people out there doing the same thing and doing it so well.

I'm not a writer, or at least I would never call myself that. I write, so I guess technically I am, but it's not a title I really identify with. I just like stories and don't have the time to illustrate them so I use words to get them out of my head instead. That being said, slogging through a 3 part, 3 year webserial was not the easiest thing for me. A lot of things can change in 3 years, y'know? When I started this beast, I was working at a small agency, 8-5 every day, plenty of free time in between and a cowriter to help me out. Now, I'm working at the largest entertainment agency in the world, 50-80 hours a week, writing and illustrating alone and let me just tell you, if this had been the case three years ago, Caelum Lex would not have happened haha...ha...

But I did it! I finished something! It's not the best, hell, I hate a lot of it, but I finished something! Something bigger than anything I've ever attempted before and on the one hand I feel incredibly relieved. It's like I've been trapped by this thing for so long and now I'm finally free from it, not bound to do its bidding week after week after week. No longer will I have to toil towards deadlines and go crazy over plot lines and spend every free moment I have wondering how the hell to get space pirates to do what I need them to do. Freedom!

On the other hand, it's only been a day since I finished writing and already I feel the void. 3 years of slavery, now I'm left wondering what to do in those spare moments...

So you wonderful people of inspiration who have also reached this jarring milestone. How do you deal with it? How do you go from being so caught up in your characters' lives to suddenly just -- not be? How do you go on once it's over? What comes after the end?

I suppose at some point I'll start something new. I don't know what's next though. I think I'm over prose for now, but maybe I'll write the sequel eventually. I'd like to spend more time on illustration. Maybe a comic. Maybe some t-shirt designs that've been floating around my head for a while. Maybe I'll read some of YOUR stories like I've been meaning to for ages. Shoot me your recommendations, anything but superheroes (no offense meant, superheroes just aren't my jam).

In the meantime, I'll be over here playing Fallout.

Thanks for a memorable 3 years, Caelum Lex. May you rest in pieces. <3

Read responses...


  1. Emma (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Love the Coybow Bebop reference, and congratulations! Finishing a web serial is a huge deal so a huge congratulations on that. And whether you write for fun or for money, you're a writer. Good luck with Fallout! It is the reason I am behind on my writing deadlines.

  2. LEErickson (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Three years is huge. 650K words is HUGE. Congrats on slogging/dragging/bleeding your way to the end of it, and on that awesome sense of satisfaction for completing it!

    You've definitely earned some decompression time. I'm not a big Fallout fan, but I also tend to binge on video games when I need a break. Don't worry, the next project will find you when it's time. ;) Sounds like you have a few stalking you already.


  3. mathtans (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    That's awesome, congratulations! (And you must be partially active, I remember reading an April Fools entry last spring.) It's great that you stuck with it, even if it was taxing at times. Updating multiple days of the week, no less!

    In terms of dealing with it "being over", I'll offer how I dealt with the end of my math web serial. I spent about a month feeling glum (I'd closed it off mostly because I'd decided it wasn't worth the effort of continuing). Then spent the summer tooling around with other miscellaneous pieces of writing. Then launched a new site, which is the one I have now. But here's the fun thing -- your story is now out there. People can still run into it. Nearly a year after "personified math" was done, suddenly someone was binging the archives and sending me emails. My Facebook likes actually crawled up past 20. Blew my mind. And in the end, I decided to relaunch the whole thing as a webcomic.

    Yeah, I apparently don't know how to do "freedom".

    Writing a Time Travel serial:
    Writer of the personification of math serial:
  4. Chrysalis (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Yay, Hayley! You go, girl! Now you can get that magical 'complete novel' tag for Caelum Lex. :)

    I don't have much to add except that I envy you (I've wanted to quit at least 5 times the last week alone). Time to fly off into the sunset and get some well deserved relaxation time before you tackle the next project. I'll be cheering you along. :)

    Anathema, a web serial about the effect superpowers would have on our world.
  5. Fiona Gregory (Moderator)

    Posted 4 years ago

    When did you lose your co-writer? I thought she was just shy.

    You've written the equivalent of eight novels in three years. Good ones. With illustrations. holy smoly.

  6. Khronosabre (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    @Emma Thank you! Fallout is a terrible motivator for webfiction. There is a reason I made the end of my serial coincide with its release...Good luck overcoming these troubled times :P

    @LEErickson Huge is pretty much how it feels yeah haha I don't really remember a time BEFORE having to write this every week. It's going to be a weird transition period I'm sure. But thank you! Video games are definitely going to be my go-to. Fallout and now Battlefront just arrived in the mail yesterday, I have plenty to keep me going til that inspiration catches up to me.

    @mathtans I'd consider myself 'vaguely active'. I actually read new posts on the forum every few days, I just rarely login to reply to anything. You all seem pretty good at giving each other advice and I am, frankly, not, so I just lurk :P I do wonder how long I'm going to feel compelled to haunt my site stats. That'll stop eventually..right?

    @Chrysalis Hey don't you dare quit! Your story actually made me enjoy some superheroes (seriously, they are NOT my jam, I barely even like the movies) so you keep doing your thing. OR ELSE. I'm kidding. Am I???

    @Fiona Hahah she's not shy, for sure. Her life just kind of amped up probably around the beginning of this year and she no longer had the time or brainspace to help out. Neither did I, honestly, but I'm stubborn enough that I just wanted to finish it :P She was still reading some of the last few chapters for typos though. And god, when you put it that way, that is kinda terrifying! What the hell have I done...

  7. Jim Zoetewey (Moderator)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Are you thinking about putting it on Amazon? Making an ebook/print book isn't that hard once you've got the material. You're ahead of most people in that you know where to find a cover artist.

  8. Tartra (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    You did it! Congratulations! And Jim's right, you're now way ahead of the curve of the whole publishing process. Knowing where to get a cover artist is important, but you just did what so, so many writers haven't: actually finished. :D This is awesome news!

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

    Posted 4 years ago

    Hey, if anyone needs a cover artist, I know plenty!

    Of course Hayley could make her own cover, which would be way more awesome. :)

    Anathema, a web serial about the effect superpowers would have on our world.
  10. a_chiba (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Congratulations! Finishing a long-term creative effort is emotionally hard, kind of like finishing that awesome novel you're reading x10... or 100, given the amount of time/love/swears/etc you put into CL. Personally, I've found that these characters I've created end up taking spaces in my memory right along with people I actually knew. I think of saying goodbye to them kinda like moving cities or changing jobs or what have you. And you may find yourself sucked into a new project pretty quickly. I found "freedom" has never agreed with me, even in the years I only wrote for myself. In the meantime, enjoy video games and have fun!! ^.^ You earned it.

  11. Khronosabre (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    You know that saying about doctors making bad patients? The same thing is true of designers. We make TERRIBLE clients hahaha

    Yeah, if I choose to publish, I would of course make the cover myself. And that's still an if. A number of readers have already asked about it so it's something I'm considering, but I have this problem. Theoretically, I suppose I could just do a sweep of the story for typos and mucked up grammar or what have you and publish as is, but as I was saying before, three years is a LONG time and, as can be anticipated over long periods of time, there's a LOT of storyline in the older chapters that I'm not happy with. Fixing it would probably turn into a bigger effort than I'm willing to commit to right now.

    But I don't know. Some of you have published your serials, yeah? What did you do? An edit or an Edit?

  12. Jim Zoetewey (Moderator)

    Posted 4 years ago

    I'll start off by saying that I can recommend at least one proofreader, and with a little work, I could probably recommend more (mostly by asking people in the Pen and Cape Society for recommendations).

    To reply more directly, my approach is somewhere between "an edit or an Edit." Basically my assumptions go like this:

    1. You've got two audiences for the ebook: those who read it online, and those who didn't.
    2. Those who read it first online want something that resembles the story they read online.
    3. Those who didn't read it online just want a good story and don't care what appeared online.
    4. You became better at writing over the course of writing the serial.

    Bearing in mind those assumptions, my approach is this:

    1. Where possible, I don't edit at all except to fix inconsistencies, problems with grammar, lack of clarity and so on.
    2. Where there are big problems--structural problems (it starts too slowly, for example), out of character issues, and that kind of thing, I Edit.

    Basically I could write everything I've written better now, but I doubt strongly that readers would be happy to discover that I've combined characters or made major changes to the plot--something I'd be willing to do if the story hadn't appeared online first.

    In my view, it's like any piece of art in that you have to make a deliberate choice in terms of where you're willing to let go and stop making it perfect. You can always make it better, but that will be at the expense of not writing other things.

    Overall, my advice would be to ask what level of imperfection you're willing to live with, and if it's there, you can publish it. If it's not there, you'll have to ask yourself if it's worth getting it there. All that said, if you're only doing it for people who loved the serial and don't hope to snag a bigger audience, you might be ready now. In that case though, I'd still advise hiring a proofreader. People are less forgiving of typos in ebooks.

  13. Khronosabre (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Thanks for the advice Jim! A couple weeks out, I still feel no urge to return to the material and the level of imperfection I'm willing to live with, as you say, if I did return to it, I think would be a little too big for it to be short work. I might just be satisfied letting it live on as is.

    Maybe I'll feel differently later when I get bored of Fallout and miss writing. Only time will tell :P

  14. Alexander.Hollins (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    I said it on facebook and the site itself, but I restate, You did AWESOME. Calum Lex is a great story of a lot of interesting characters, even if you killed most of them off near the end. :crys for the Dionysus and crew:.

    When fallout stops being shiny, you should totally get back in the saddle. You may not consider yourself a writer, but I do.


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