Trying something new here

2 years ago | Tintenteufel (Member)

Good day, dear Sirs and Madams,

After quite a time on the sidelines I have decided to join the game.
Introductions are in order I think so let it be short:
I am Paul, Tintenteufel is just a penname, and as you might have guessed: ¨Ich bin ein Berliner¨, curently based in Austria. Doing Universitystuff and a little on the sides. Writing mostly and reading and videogames, lots of videogames. But I am working on that addiction. Now I would like to step up my game, go from writing sometimes and doodling and angsting and plotting over minor errors and such to a webserial - which would undoubtly necessitate some discipline and consistency. But that is exactly what I am trying to teach myself anyways.
Mainly because of Wildbow (to whom I tip my hat...) and his inspiring giant of a story.

However: There are a few questions about which I am rather unsure, even after abusing the forum search a little bit. Please forgive me if they are already answered elsewhere and simply send me a link. :)

1. The Format
Obviously the word count is most often asked about. I already have kinda decided on a schedule (about 4-5 pages a week/8-10 a fortnight. Depends on how the editing goes) but my concern is bigger: I would like to write shorts, mabye novellas and novellettes, that paint a broader picture. A bit like Randolph Carter in H.P.Lovecrafts writing maybe.
Would that ¨count¨ as a webserial? Would it even be advisable since - overlapping, shared continuity, characters, places and metaplots notwithstanding - it somewhat robs the reader of a strong protagonist and splinters the story?

2. The Editing
There is some editing, I know that from a few comments I read and what I could gather. But how often, when, how much do you edit? I have planned thath much time for that small amount of text since I am reusing/reshaping lots and lots of older stuff, have no problem with fast writing according to a specific mood or plotpoint (lots and lots of PnP in the forms...) but I am rewriting some of it a third time. By which I do not mean reading for typos but honest to god rewriting: Reading it, ironing out the stupid stuff, even writing some pages completly anew if they are stupid.
I want quality content and should be able to hold it up, but...am I overdoing it, maybe? :/

3. The Language
My greatest Angst.
My mother tongue is german and altough I am somewhat comfortable listening and reading in english but nontheless would I positively HATE writing in it. So I write in german.
But the US, UK and Canada are way ahead on the digital ¨market¨. The sales of ebooks is way higher (in percent, not only in total), writing groups are more comfortable talking about that and people actually...you know...DO stuff. I have not encountered one single case of german fiction on the web - in one of the biggest reading cultures the world currently has.
Conversely that is precisely why I want to do it. I am quite optimistic to get something started. Especially since I am not completely stupid and know a thing or two about literature and have quite a few ideas about how to approach something new with webfiction.
So: Do you know any german webfiction, perchance, or have recommendations? Should I just write in english and reach for a bigger audience?

Blut und Rost - German Webserial about the horror that is human interaction

Read responses...

Page: 12

Responses

  1. Kess (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    Hi and welcome! Great to have you here, Paul. :)

    Interesting questions, I'll give them a shot:

    1. If you build it, they will come. There are lots of different kinds of serials out there, including some comprised of shorts and standalone pieces rather than a continuous narrative. You may well attract a different audience with a serial like that, but that's not the same as no audience.

    There aren't many (any?) hard-and-fast rules with web serials. If you're posting on a regular basis, I think it counts. Go for it!

    2. Each chapter that goes up on my serial has had at least three read-throughs before it goes live. The first one or two passes usually involve a bit of rewriting; occasionally, it'll be a more drastic rewrite, depending on how organised I was when I wrote it and how difficult the scene is.

    I keep going over it until I can get a clean read-through (no more proofing corrections), and then it goes live. At worst, that means five passes through the piece; three is more normal.

    With quality, you get out what you put in. Self-editing is hard (our brains are not well-suited to it), but it's worth the effort in my opinion. The readers notice.

    For me, even with taking time and care, typos still slip through (luckily, not often). My readers point them out, and I make a point of thanking them, because it means I can fix it up and make it the quality serial I want it to be, for them.

    3. That's a good question! I don't know of any German-language fiction online. A good chunk of my audience is in Germany, but I write in English, so I'm not sure what that means. Perhaps it's a great, untapped audience just waiting for some awesome German fiction to appear?

    I guess it might depend on what you're looking to get out of your web serial. Is it sharing your stories with anyone who might be interested? Breaking new ground? Building a big readership? Making money? Do your priorities point you towards a particular language?

    At heart, though, I think you should write the stories you want to write and see what happens. (See answer #1)

    Good luck, whatever you decide!

  2. Shaeor (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    Don't know if you'll find any useful insights here, but I might as well throw in my two cents.

    Although I don't really have anything to say towards your third point except: depends on what you want out of your work. I would like to say I'm intrigued by the idea of a webserial made up of shorter works which constitute a bigger picture. I myself am in the early stages of a work which takes place in a vast setting with a lot of pre-established characters and event - and something I've wondered about is whether or not it would be better to write in third person and focus on the world and the metanarrative, or if it'd be better to follow a sole protagonist. Wildbow makes the second of those look easy, but in practice it can be hard to find the right character that balances themselves with the world around them. I don't think it'd effect the quality of the story to tell it in that manner though, again I think it depends more on your motivation and preferences than anything. Although I’ve never read the works of George R.R. Martin, I know he’s painted a world told through the narratives of many individuals and his books are very popular.

    I think it would be advisable to keep a few characters around for a reader to familiarize themselves with, else there’s no real tether to keep them coming back to your story. But I’m unexperienced here.
    And as for the editing thing, I don’t know. I tend to over-edit my own stuff, so I don’t think I’ve got any advice there.

    Sorry for taking your points in the wrong order. Welcome to WFG, I just got here too. I hope your writing goes well.

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

    Posted 2 years ago

    1. Write what you want to write. Writing something you're not really into to try to please an audience you don't even have yet is not gonna capture anybody. You won't thank yourself for it down the line. If you really believe that what you're doing is good, that'll come across better than anything born out of insecurity.

    2. Give yourself plenty of lead time so you can make at least two editing passes. One a few days after you finish writing a chapter (or whatever), to go at it with fresher eyes, and one a few days before it goes up. Don't do it the day it's supposed to go up, 'cause that leads to stressing and second-guessing.

    3. See point 1. :P If you're not really comfortable with a language, don't write in it, unless as a personal challenge to improve yourself. Something you're not going to pin any hopes of success on. I can sympathise as a fellow European, and from personal experience it takes a big commitment to become truly fluent in another language. It's something you should only do if you derive a particular joy from it. I love English, I loved learning it, and I love crafting things with it. That's clearly not the case for you.

    Try doing what you want to do. If, later on, you still feel like the language barrier is holding you back, find yourself a good translator who understands both German and English at the colloquial level. They'll be better-equipped and better-motivated than someone who hates writing in English. You wouldn't be doing your own work justice.

  4. mathtans (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    Regarding "shorts" in a broader universe: I think it could work? At least, that's what I decided I would try with my "Epsilon Project". Basically I had a central station that recruited teams of individuals and sent them out to solve problems. The station itself (and Alice, as it turned out) was the only thing to carry through both stories I did. Granted I only did two stories (then transitioned to my time travel one for reasons I blogged about) but my intention IS to return for another one next year. The puzzler I had was whether I should submit them here separately or not; I did, which was maybe for the best since one of them featured a Time Lord and was deemed fanfic, so only one got listed anyway. I don't know what the opinions of others would be on that.

    Regarding edits: True reality is probably somewhere between my two extremes? "Epsilon Project" was done based on reader suggestions, meaning I had less than a week from when the polls closed to posting the work up. So an "edit" basically meant re-reading it before I posted it... but then, I tend to edit as I go (i.e.- every time I open the file I read from the start, rather than jump down to where I left off). Conversely, "Time & Tied" is a story I wrote 15 years ago. It already had one pass for edits a couple years back, and is now seeing another before I actually publish it. Which sounds a BIT like what you're talking about (I have rewritten at least two entire passages), so maybe you're not overdoing it - or we both are. There's individual quirks to take into account as well; I think through 20+ T&T parts I've caught 1, maybe 2 typos... but oh GOD did I overuse the word 'just'.

    Regarding language, don't try for English if you won't enjoy it. You may not get an audience either way, so enjoy what you're doing. I don't know of any German web fiction (but then, I don't speak German), so branch out! Create something. Yay, I answered a question without using a question mark!

    Writing a Time Travel serial: http://mathtans.wordpress.com
    Writer of the personification of math serial: http://www.mathtans.ca
  5. Tintenteufel (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    That is some very grounding and sound advice. Thank you all very much. For the warm welcome as well.^^ I hope to catch up on a few reviews in the near future.

    So...writing comfortably and what I want, not some preconceived false notion about a possible audience, is key. Check. Gonna do that.
    As for the format:
    Could you elaborate Mathtens? Epsilon Project might have two stories but there are multiple parts to each story, are there not? Like, Story 2 has about 17 parts with a few pages each (roughly,I did not countthem. Sorry). What I want to do is really much shorter. Stories of about 2 to 5 Installments, maybe less, maybe more.
    I think I will structure them around a handfull of recurring backstory characters. And places. I really like the idea of your central station.

    The editing tips will prove to be really helpful, no doubt about it. :) So it is perfectly normal to go over it quite a few times and work with a backlog. Working on that.
    I am doing the first draft by hand so technically there is the possibility for two to three edits. Last one a day or two before an update seems very sound, Ryan.
    My priorities really are to just get the dreaded million words behind me and maybe get something done I can point my finger to and say ¨That is mine!¨, when I am begging for jobs and breadcrumbs in a few years.^^ So it really should be okay to try it with a german niche. Thank you.

    Blut und Rost - German Webserial about the horror that is human interaction
  6. Ryan A. Span (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    It's perfectly normal to edit as many times as you feel is necessary. I obsessively polish my first drafts as I go along, but they still get at least two passes before publication. First full pass when it's done. Second after feedback from beta readers. Then my editor at Gryphonwood does line edits and corrections, which catches all the errors I miss or end up introducing during mine. :P The only time you should absolutely stop editing is if you're fiddling with a story for fiddling's sake, not sure whether you're actually doing any good. You've got to cut the cord at some point and just hit upload.

    If you're just wanting to start a site for random short stories, I'd recommend doing that under a general brand for yourself as an author. If it's going to be stories set in a shared universe, that's totally workable, but you will need some kind of throughline that connects them. Shared characters, shared locations, ramifications of events described in previous stories, that kind of thing. If they're not connected by a common thread, they might as well not be in the same setting as far as the reader is concerned.

  7. Tintenteufel (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    Yeah, well...Okay, I really do not want to only talk about my stuff here. Which is...kinda odd, now that I think about it, since I started this thread for that reason precisely...But the strucure and stuff more than the content.
    Anyway: I want the series in the same setting. Mythos-esque,as I said. I have notions about bigger metaplots and a few lines along which I may link stories together, but that is all a bit sketchy. A lot actually. So I will write the backlog out of a few random stories I got lying around and then try to piece it all together. :) A litte puzzle for myself and eventual readers. But they should really be connected, yes.
    My primary fear is that I put to little or to small details in that link them together.
    Since I do not want to write one story through many eyes and do not want them to directly interact (most of the time) and want to keep the main plot shadowy and in the background to encourage the helpless, hapless feeling the characters themselves should feel...it is kinda hard to pin down that sweet spot between knowing and ignorant bliss the reader should have. But I do think that is something only practice will do, right? It is no help just fantasizing about it. One of the reasons I want to start this thing.

    With the general brand you mean...? Putting myself as the main attraction and then telling about the stuff I also got in my back? Wildbow obviously is putting the story first what with his separate blogs for everything. Your site starts with Info about your writing but the serial is somewhat hidden, I noticed. Or atleast not the first thing on the page but on the right. Do you mean like that?
    Kudos btw. for M&B. Really like those games. :)

    Blut und Rost - German Webserial about the horror that is human interaction
  8. mathtans (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    Elaboration: Yes, "Epsilon Project 1" was 12 parts and "Epsilon Project 2" was 16 parts (17 including the "April Fool" entry). Each part approximately 2,000 (english) words. But that was partly due to the voting. For #1, at the end of Part 5, two of the three choices were to capture the villain, thus it probably would have wrapped up with Part 6. The votes were for the villain to escape, doubling the length. What could have been the climax merely became another point of conflict.

    It might help to have context - when I write a story, I rarely know how it will end. I may have a vague idea for a climactic scene, or a character arc, but it's all flexible until the writing is occurring. (That said, when I start a serial ENTRY, I generally know how it will end. I merely don't know what I'll be doing two parts later.) So if you've got a story vision in your head, and it makes sense for it to be only 2 parts long, go with it. But I think Ryan's right, you may want to "brand" yourself (or the world/universe the events occur in) rather than the stories themselves, if they'll be shorter.
    Addendum based on your last: Yeah, the branding is kind of how you market your content. I've (somewhat inadvertently) used myself, because if you search "mathtans" on the web, it's bound to be me, even though that comprises math stuff, serial stuff and more. Oh well.

    By the way, don't worry about not doing a count, if that was you on those 2 index pages and my 'About Me' then you singlehandedly doubled my hits for the day. Huzzah! ^_-

    Writing a Time Travel serial: http://mathtans.wordpress.com
    Writer of the personification of math serial: http://www.mathtans.ca
  9. Ryan A. Span (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    Tinten: That's close to what I mean. If your stories have nothing gluing them together other than yourself, you should market the common thread, I.E. you. If you want to market the stories specifically, they have to have something a little bit concrete to unify them, like the stuff I suggested (and a hundred other ways of doing it). It doesn't have to be something really obvious, as long as it references your other stories in some capacity.

    My own site isn't quite the same. It used to be all about the serial, but the serial is done, has been for years, and games are my main business and source of income now. New clients see that site as the first info about me, so I have to give priority to my best, newest stuff. Stuff that I'm not giving away for free. :P

  10. Ryan A. Span (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    Lovecraft for example had tons of common threads. His stories are filled with references to the same things, like Cthulhu, the Necronomicon, etc. etc..

  11. Tintenteufel (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    That Brand-thingy is quite good, since I wanted to do that anyway. I have got quite a few paraphernalia from University (love that whole business with the essays and such) I would like to edit and post that way. Plus a monthly Review of the stuff I do. So making it all a bit more a bit about myself is fine.

    However: Lovecraft did have common threads, yes, but no cohesive storyline. Except maybe for the awful, awful things happening to Randolph Carter (basically all of the dream cycle plus statement of Randolph Carter) and the general direction of the universe ignoring and aliens eating us there is no overarching plot. There is little to no connection from Call of Cthulhu to Shadow over Innsmouth or Rats in the Wall or Dunwich Horror except the Background and Mythology. There is no single Story behind some of his shorts that connects it all. Which is totally fine since they are awesome through and through. But there is not one single piece holding it together except for the Mythos which is way to dependend on cult status and amassed fandom over time. I mean...it took 40 Years or more for it to take hold.
    It is awesome but I want a stronger thread, if you will, to bind all the shorts together. Some sort of bonus for observant readers.
    I really would like someone to go "Oh hey, I know that name! He got mentioned three months back as a patient of Doctor X after a heartbroken atempt at suicide. Wait, what? Why is he in prison? KILLED his father to get all the Inheritance? Wait, his father wrote a will to leave everything to his old pal...who is in a mental ward of Doctor X! Who will legally manage the funds and likes hypnosis. Dr.X you sly bastard!¨
    Sort of like you feel even more sorry for Randolph Carter in Statement of Randolph Carter after you figure out the timeline of his stories. I atleast feel sorry for a man who escapes the clutches of World War I, deeply traumatized, loses his ability to enter the Dreamlands because of that, tries to connect to a friend who still can dream and inspire and has him stolen by some evil, horrible thing in a graveyard.
    At least if my memory serves.

    Blut und Rost - German Webserial about the horror that is human interaction
  12. Jim Zoetewey (Moderator)

    Posted 2 years ago

    Since there are a lot of reasonable replies already, I'd just like to amplify and possibly take a slightly different position on something Ryan mentioned earlier.

    Bearing in mind that there's no German equivalent to Web Fiction Guide that I'm aware of, you might consider writing it in German, translating it into English, and publishing both. Of course, that assumes that you're comfortable doing that, but from what I see of your writing here, you seem capable of it. It would be extra work both on the writing end and on the website end. On the other hand, you might well get readers for the English version more quickly than the German one. That might help keep you writing while waiting for a German web fiction scene to develop.

  13. Tempest (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    Ive come across a serial in Dutch. One of my readers actually. It was rather odd, I felt. I should check that out again at some point. See how its doing and all that.

  14. Ryan A. Span (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    Tinten: That's not a 'however' at all. The Mythos is a great binding element. Just ask yourself, do you ever think of those stories individually, or do you always connect them as parts of a larger whole? That's the point I was trying to make.

    Not that it matters -- it seems you've already decided which route you want to go with branding. ;)

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