Hello everybody on this sweltering day. (At least it's sweltering here in NYC!) Just wanted to let the WFG crew know that we're preparing another EpiCast -- a podcast that covers the world of webfiction serials in many formats (text-based, audio, graphic, video...). We offer news, installment recaps and story previews, answer questions from listeners, and have a discussion about a topic relevant to the online reading and entertainment community.
This month we're looking for recaps and news for two separate recorings. The recaps will air first, paired with a loooong discussion we've already recorded about, appropriately enough, longrunning serials and how to ensure writers have enough story (and chutzpah) to keep the story going and going.
The news will be paired with a second podcast, aimed at promoting Web Serial Writing Month, aka WeSeWriMo, which is in August. And I hope many of you plan to participate! Writers of any kind of serialized fiction are welcome and encouraged to join.
To submit your installment recaps, which are due June 11:
Please submit about a paragraph (of about 250 words or so) focusing on a single storyline. (Recapping one plot is usually better as it's usually more interesting than less detailed, scattered plot points.) As always we may use your recaps as-is, or as a stepping-off point to look at your serial and add our own spin to things.
Please bear in mind that we can be a bit irreverent, so please don't submit if some light-hearted cracks would bother you. Otherwise, send your recap along with your serial's title, URL, and your name.
BTW, I gotta emphasize the above paragraph. In the past, we've received some email (purporting to be from a reader, but I'm not convinced) who was amusingly irked by some stuff we said about a serial--not even the serial, but simply the format of the recap itself. So if you or, um, your readership, are highly sensitive to the point that gentle, constructive criticism or even just a joke will cause bruising, please don't submit. No harm, no foul!
Want to know what makes a good recap for us? I gave these fake examples last month to help guide writers. They're recaps of a two-part installment of my own series, which was more than 22K words in length, yet I managed to recap them as follows:
Option 1 -- Short but not-so-great:
Operation Mousetrap was finally underway. At the docks, Nick squared off against his crime boss rival, Hugh Vaughan, while undercover agent Jonnie manipulated the criminals, the DA's office, and the cops in order to gain his freedom from the multiple threats to his safety. By the end, no one's hands were left unstained by blood.
The above certainly avoided spoilers, but it's a bit... thin. A more detailed version that still keeps enough spoilers hidden to whet the appetite of protential readers would be much more enticing, not to mention helpful for us.
Option 2 -- Longer and more detailed but still within our word-limit:
The night of Operation Mousetrap, Nick ran into opposition from his wife Hannah, who protested his decision to seek revenge on Hugh Vaughan for the assassination attempt that led to Hannah's paralysis. Knowing she couldn't stop her husband, Hannah could only help him say goodbye to their children. Meanwhile, the cops and D.A. Ross waited at the docks to watch the interaction between Nick and Vaughan, expecting a sting that would take both crime bosses down.
However, none of the participants knew that double- and triple-agent Jonnie Adair had a complex plan that would shock them all. Only smart detective Frank Gabriel suspected that Jonnie might have an ulterior motive, and soon he was proven correct. Team Law and Order were left in the dark while Jonnie executed--in all senses of the word--his plan. Before long, two of Jonnie's supposed allies were dead, Frank's instincts left his life in the balance, while Ross's ambition led him to a frightening standoff with the desperate young man--who threatened Ross's life unless Ross released Jonnie from the plea bargain that had forced him into this undercover role.
By the end of the night, the docks were covered in blood--and none of the three sides was left unscarred from this vicious showdown. And Jonnie got a brutal shock of his own.
That's about 220 words and obviously gives away more of the story than the first option. But there's so much action in this pair of episodes that I still left plenty of material up to the readers to learn more. This version is more likely to make listeners more curious to learn the details of this complicated high stakes con game / standoff.
Anyway, it's a good skill to learn -- teasing without ruining the story -- and if it piques people's interest enough to click over to your site, it's definitely worth it.
Hope this helps. Listen to last month's EpiCast for more suggestions about recaps.
Please send your recaps to me at editor at epiguide dot com. And good heavens, don't forget to include your serial's title, URL and your name (however you want to be credited on the air)! You'd be surprised how many folks forget those little details.
Oh! And if you'd like to take up a sentence of your recaps to add a line teasing something that's coming up in this storyline, please do so! Just heed the 250-word limit, please.
NEWS - Deadline: Friday, June 12
For news--which will air in our podcast about a week later, so don't make it too time-sensitive unless whatever's happening occurs post-June 19th--we're looking for any tidbits that might interest our listeners, whether it's about a single serial or some topic that affects the community. Even if you've just read an interesting article that might be of interest, please send it along. Don't forget to include links to any stories or websites related to the news item.
As always, our recording time is limited, so it'll be first-come, first-served as far as recaps go, with preference given to serials we haven't recapped yet, or not that often. That doesn't mean anyone should refrain from submitting, though: if we don't get many new submissions we'll certainly be happy to include those who are enthusiastic to participate again.
To repeat the above, send everything (and you can submit for more than one serial if you write multiple ones) to editor at epiguide dot com. Please include "EpiCast" in the subject line so it's easier for me to find.
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We do our best to support and highlight the fun and diversity in webfiction serials, so I hope we'll get plenty of participants! Thanks, guys, and let me know if you have any questions.