An autopsy report for The Archive of Unusual Events

Hey Webficcers,

Having finished writing the Archive I wanted to put some time to think about it, a fiction autopsy perhaps. This is a modified/updated version of the autopsy I put on my blog, I didn't write a huge ongoing epic like many of you here, but I'd love to get any feedback from the community on this site (and maybe it'll even help somebody else, who knows!) You can see the original here for the curious:

I think the end of the serial was pretty bad. I wanted to draw it to a close and find a good place to do so, but how to do that in a story without a real plot? I spent months thinking of that and found the best solution I could, but I doubt it was the best possible solution. At the same time I didn't want to keep writing just because I couldn't think of a good ending, that didn't seem sensible.

Thanks for reading if you got this far! I'd love to hear your thoughts.

I think you've put your finger on it. You need to start putting some story arcs in, get rid of the passive language, extend the length of your entries, etc.

Something that's occurred to me now. The fun ideas and lack of major arcs could, in some sense, be seen as a strength too. It meant that, even if there was an entry someone particularly didn't like, as long as they liked the story's premise (strange things around us), they could still go on to the next instalment. Because whatever they didn't like might not be seen again, and there might be something coming up they'd still enjoy. It also allowed for unexpected reincorporation. You don't know which items are one-offs, and which ones might return; the sudden return of the Radio-Controlled Airplane Hobbyists was, in my opinion, something of a master stroke.

That said, a few of the items with mini-arcs had more staying power. That creepy, creepy thing with the Train comes to mind... granted, not being into horror, if everything was based on that, I might not read it (see above), but it worked in context. As to the ending, I don't think it was that bad, as far as mini-arcs go. Maybe it wasn't great, but as a concept, that closure works. Perhaps avoids a cliche of the archive being forced underground? Who's to say. I will add that (for me), the passive language wasn't a barrier, and I don't think shorter entries were necessarily a problem. I was able to read multiple entries at once, whereas usually I stall out after 3-4 longer ones (attention span my end, I suspect). Quality over quantity. But I can see the "meandering" nature becoming a long term problem.

At any rate, all the best to you with your longer stories and other goals. Thanks again for giving me the opportunity to write an entry.

Thanks guys. And you're right Mathtans - I think there was/is a small niche for the Archive and its style. If I had infinite amounts of time I might have kept it going a lot longer. (Also your entry was great, so I should be thanking you. :D )

I love everything Ursula does, so if it was inspired by her, I'm going to have to go read!

I might add, from the sounds of your format, it reminds me of an ongoing anthology ive contributed to, . id suggest taking a read. it uses the exact kind of language you mention (usually) and is individual stories from a lab report kind of bend.

Sounds fun! Checking it out. Cheers!