Web Serial Newbie

5 years ago | EvoletYvaine (Member)

Hello all,

My name's Evolet and I'm an aspiring erotic romance writer. I recently decided to start a web serial for some series ideas that I have and I'm hoping to get some pointers/advice, etc from you all. I don't ever plan to publish these stories through eBooks or paperback, just online. I don't know how this type of storytelling is going to work for a COMPLETE PANTSER like myself, so any guidance on that end would be greatly appreciated. Here are my questions:

1) Are there any pantsers out there doing this? If so, share your method. I'm allergic to plotting/outlining/planning, so if you're doing something that's working for you, I'd like to try it.

2) Are your posts professionally edited or are you doing it yourself?

3) How are you protecting your work online? Are you putting up copyright icons anywhere?

4) Website Design - I currently have a website--www.wetpantystories.com--where I was going to publish my different stories. Should I keep it and just revamp? Or should I create a site specifically for the series? Additionally, what kind of info should be on a web serial site? If you can suggest sites in my genre to look at (if you know that have their own dedicated site) where I can get a frame a reference, that would be helpful.

That's all for now. Thanks so much.

Evolet Yvaine|Erotic Romance Author

Read responses...


  1. Patrick Rochefort (Member)

    Posted 5 years ago

    I'm a 'seeder', creatively. Most of my stories come to me as a small but intense scene, and I have to work forwards and backwards from there to figure out how it came to that moment, and where it's going. It's a style that's very well suited for short fiction, but I don't recommend pantsing it out in any way with web serials; that's how you end up lost in your own words and uncertain of where you're going.

    With that in mind:

    1) I got over my allergy to plotting and did the work, because it's work that the story needs if it is going to be novel-length. The good news is that your initial plot outline on a major work can be as short as 2-3 pages, but it should grow over time as you flesh it out from an outline to a summary. There's really no way to reliably keep all the important parts of your story in your head and keep a structure in mind without doing SOME of the work here.

    2. Yes. I and my co-author start with the basics. Spell check, grammar check, punctuation check. Then we consult our running list of larger, more flagrant style errors. I'm horridly bad in my first drafts, for example, for using semicolons where they don't need to be, and of leaning on the adjectives 'softly' and 'gently'. So co-writer and I keep a list of about 17 items that we do a ctrl-f for through the document, count up the issues, and fix those. Only THEN do we get into the process of *serious* editing: We leave a chapter for a minimum of 2 weeks when we can, and then come back and do a hard, harsh 'cold read'. Once we've done a re-write as we did our cold-read, we then load the story up into a program called 'The Hemingway Editor', which helps automate some things and keeps me from running incredibly long sentences. /THEN/ we publish, and then comes the long promotion checklist: Patreon, Facebook, Twitter, WFG, and the cross-posting method list to sites like Wattpad and RoyalRoadLegend.

    If this all sounds like a lot of work... yep, it is. Welcome to the marvelous new world of online self-publishing!

    3. Work is "protected" by copyright from the moment of creation. That being said, I'm giving it away for free online to anyone who wants to read it, so I'm not exactly concerned with protecting the IP. The simple fact is, nobody wants to steal my shitty ideas, or yours, or anybody's, and if they actually do, then there's a long online "paper trail" that makes it quite easy to prove in court that the work is mine. Piracy of my work is unwelcome but inevitable, and all I can do is ensure that that work includes links that potentially monetize back to me. Hopefully, anyway.

    4. You should revamp, but not for the reasons you're thinking. The style is busy and could use some cleaning up, but the bigger part is the user flow and content. At a glance at your site, I haven't the faintest idea where I should go to actually READ a story there. And with article sideboards like your 'Fuck Bucket List', my first instinct is to sniff, say "Great, some myspace-esque bullshit," and close the browser tab. Your site design, flow, and content, need to all be built around great truth of writing: The Reader Is King, and you're here to serve them. Make sure that, at a *quick* glance, a reader can immediately tell where they need to go to get to the goods. Who you are as an author? They're not ever going to care unless they're hooked on the writing content. So get them reading that. If you're going to monetize, monetize, and make sure a reader never has to ask "Where DO I go to support this person and give them money, anyway?"

    Good luck, have fun, write hard, and in the always apt words of novelist Chuck Wendig: "Read books. Do shit. Staple-gun your butthole to the office chair & write like a motherfucker, motherfucker."

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

    Posted 5 years ago

    A fellow erotica romance writer. I'm currently doing the first round of edits on my first novella. A very long process.

    1) I'm mostly a pantser. I do have an outline. I have major things in my web serial that has to happen and I make sure that every chapter has something that leads up to those major events. Each major event is basically an arc for me. Then, I have an overlying arc for the entire series. Basically, I outline things loosely so that my characters get there on their own. It saves me some aggravation doing it this way because I would go crazy if I outlined everything to the letter. Some people can do that, I can't. Mostly because if a character did something that wasn't outlined, I would have a melt down. Doing it this way saves me a lot of stress.

    2) At the moment, my posts are only proofread by my mom and me. Having someone else do the proofreading helps catch all the mistakes I would have normally missed. I do plan on turning the serial into novels, and when I do that I'll edit them myself and have a professional go through it.

    3) Like Patrick said, no one wants to steal anyone's shitty ideas. It's too much of a hassle and too big a risk, especially for other writers. It's a good way to lose readers and contracts if you have them. Also, no one wants to be known as a thief.

    4) As for a website, I prefer having each of my web serials having their own site. It gives you room to make them unique. Have different themes to them and make it known they are their own story. That's just personal opinion though. You'll have to go with what you like.

    Good luck! Look forward to seeing your work.

  3. mathtans (Member)

    Posted 5 years ago

    I think I've written in every way, it depends a bit on the genre and what I'm trying to accomplish.

    1) "Epsilon" for me was week-to-week. 2,000 words each time based on votes that came in. For instance, in "Wish Fulfilment", when I started, all I had was the characters, and "An evil object is granting wishes". No outline, no arc, no idea where that would go. The main thing when writing this way is (reaching for a metaphor) to have your car headlights on "high beams", while the readers only see what's on low beams. When you're writing part 4, you might not know what part 7 will look like, but part 5 should definitely be taking shape in your head. The added benefit of this is you can end each part on a bit of a cliffhanger (that you know how to resolve!) which is important in serials to encourage readers to return.

    However, every 4 parts or so (i.e.- every month), also GO BACK and reread EVERYTHING you did from the start. It's easy to forget about a plot thread you left dangling in part 3. To that end, it's worth leaving random ideas or key plot threads in some unpublished file somewhere too, to recall them or use as inspiration later on. For instance (again on "Wish Fulfilment") at the end of part 6, I'd scribbled "Wanda is now the Wizard". From Part 7, "can only cast a set amount before a bit of a recharge" and "weapons trunk". Part 11, "only certain people have magic" and so forth. For that reason, I also recommend not doing this with a 30 part epic (I was aiming for half that)... partly because it gets to be a lot to remember, but also because once you hit what feels like a climax, the status quo should change, and you don't want to have to remember many different continuities. Or I didn't want to, at least.

    2) I do it myself. The key is to let it sit for about 24 hours before giving it a final look-over, similar to what Patrick said. Of course, I've also been doing editing in one form or another for close to 20 years, to the point where it's actually difficult for me to read anything without seeing typos, or over-analyzing where the plot is going to go next. (Anyone whose story I've commented on probably has noticed this.) My look-over is largely for style (I tend to overuse 'just' and 'suddenly'). Your mileage may vary. (I remember at an erotica writing panel I attended, how the mood can be shattered if the girl reaches out to grasp her lover's sock. Important to spot those.)

    3) I have a little copyright thing I put on all my images, but it's more to track the year (in theory I'm improving). I'm mildly more concerned about the writing, but not enough to keep me up nights. Mainly since my blog would need to have hits first anyway. (Though someone actually read T&T Part 2 yesterday, my first hit for it since May! Blew my mind, thanks to whoever that was.)

    4) I wouldn't make a separate site, unless you are REALLY sure people will follow you. A video reviewer speaking at a Convention said he lost his audience twice by shifting to a new channel. Even if you keep the old site going alongside, there's no guarantee -- I have "mathtans.ca" that I used for 3+ years for personified math. I decided my different serial stuff should have a different site, "mathtans.wordpress.com". I cross linked them. Today, I regularly get 100+ hits per week on that first site... and only 30 per week on the offshoot. Granted, the content is different, but I recall other authors (like Wildbow) saying readers don't always follow to the next serial, so to have a totally new site... I feel like that's a gamble.

    Of course, that's just me. (In terms of a revamp, I do see Patrick's point though. The "Stories" link the header is a good start, but lacks description.) I don't know anything in your genre either, sorry. ("Wish Fulfilment" is in WFG if you wanted to see how I made my way through it though.) All the best with it!

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

    Posted 5 years ago

    Thanks for all the responses. I started the website as a book review site with the future intention of turning it into an author site. I'm not writing, writing yet. I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo in July this year. It was 27,900 words worth of random scenes of Book 1. And by random, they really are random. And the story is not done. I still need to go back and edit those scenes, put them in order, and then actually finish.

    Evolet Yvaine|Erotic Romance Author
  5. EvoletYvaine (Member)

    Posted 5 years ago

    I'm not sure how I should set up this series. Originally, it was going to six separate books, about a different member of the team. I'm not sure how to make it one seamless story. Do I have to? I mean, is there a hard and fast rule about setting up a serial?

    Evolet Yvaine|Erotic Romance Author


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