First Time Jitters

This isn't my first time writing online, but this is my first time writing a serial, and I have to admit that I'm nervous. I don't think I've ever been so jittery about posting something, not even when I've written competitively...maybe it's because of the marathon/long-haul nature of serials? My serial will launch in a couple of days from now. To everyone that's been in this same boat, how have you overcome the jitters, or how do you cope with still having them if you do? Commiserating together may help us feel better, haha.

Also, I look forward to finally talking with everyone on this site. I've been lurking for a long time. In my free time, I create visual novels and write interactive fiction. This led me to want to make my serial interactive in the sense that readers can make choices at the end of every chapter. It's going to be a wild ride, I bet.

Ooh - Mathtans has some readers' choice / audience participation going on. You two could swap better secrets than any I'd have, what with me being cloistered off in my corner.

I've only had jitters about my shameful update schedule. The big tip around here is "Consistency is king", and I'm like, ":(". Then again, what I'm looking to get out of this might be different from other writers. When it comes to monetization, at least, my mind's more on, "I want somebody to write me fanfiction," rather than, "I want supporters on Patreon." So maybe keep your priorities in hand to add a grain of salt to whatever advice you get.

When hearing "consistency is king", my reaction is similar to yours Tartra. Probably something like "D:".

I think it is necessarily nerve-wracking to put your work out there for all and sundry to see, but it's undeniably exciting too. You open yourself up to critical and harsh words, but also appreciative and kind ones. And that's the heart of the game, I guess; rigging the sail to get the most momentum out of every gust of wind and trying not to let the size of the waves distract from forging through them with determination.

So to answer your question about overcoming jitters... well, you probably don't have to. I like to think of nerves like the vibration of a violin string, or a subtle rumble of thunder before the lightning flash. It's super cool that you care about it enough to make you nervous, and I don't doubt your care will show in your writing too.

I'll second the "jitters aren't necessarily bad" vote. Just use them to keep yourself motivated/focused. Eventually, after you've proven to yourself enough times that you've got this all under control, they'll quiet down. Although honestly, I've come to believe that the whole balancing act between "I'm so excited to show this to people!" and "OMG, they're gonna think this sucks!" is just a writer thing.

Good luck with the serial! I'll be curious to see how it works out for you.


I see my handle! Hello! Thanks for remembering, Tartra. Yes, I did reader votes with "Epsilon Project". The "polls" option with Wordpress was invaluable; I almost never get comments, but people were willing to click the button. Usually. I made some pleas for tie breakers. Actually, I summed up "paths not taken" in the following post, which starts with links to a few other people who have done it:

So yes, all the best with your interactive idea, kaleidofish! As to jitters, I don't think that's really a thing for me. Maybe it's because when I was in university, I used to do serials in 'mathNEWS'. (It's natural to feel a bit nervous about something totally new, which is no longer the case for me.) Maybe it's because I tend to be off or on, so any jitters already came before I committed myself. (I'm consistent like clockwork.) Maybe it's because I don't know what sort of problems I'll ever run into, since I rarely get feedback anyway. (Ignorance is... bliss?) At any rate, glad you de-lurked. I'm interested in checking out your story.

First: Be welcomed into the madhouse!

I don't think many ever overcome the jitters. Not truly. :) The one thing I've heard from every writer is that they are very afraid of OTHER people realizing they're a fraud. Even big ones.

It helps though that my goal wasn't and still isn't to make money or show how good I am. It's to train myself to a schedule and develop a habit. Learning by doing I guess.

So yeah. Don't worry, even if it sounds stupid. :) Being nervous is fine and all, but it all depends only on your own perspective. Just don't expect a smashing success and you'll be fine.

That's how I cope anyway.

Regarding the difference between other works and web serials: a lot of other types of writing are comparable to movies, short films, or mini-series. Web serials are more like TV shows, so it's much more dependent on an audience existing to enjoy it.

It actually kinda helps that nobody seems to care about mine anyway, but I am grateful that the ones I do have around are so good at picking out typos I make. Though I also didn't actually announce mine until it'd been going a few months.

Sometimes, you just have to squint, push a button, and accept that the die are cast. After all, it's not someone else who is going to imprint to reality the visions that dance in your head like so many sugarplum fairies on Christmas Eve. Trust me on that one. This other story tried and completely screwed up the story.

But there are still some jitters. Like, "Am I killing too many people here?" or "Are all these conspiratorial twists burning people out?" or even "Is this an appropriate use of the song 'Cotton Eye Joe'?"

Well, you're probably not going to find out until you do it and people let you know their feelings one way or another.

And now, girls jumping on trampolines:

Thank you for all the advice, everyone! I took the plunge yesterday and feel much better now that the story's out there. I'm sure more jitters will be back once I get tarted on the next chapter, but I'll deal with them better this time. Excitement, not nerves. That's a good way to view them.

Ah, Cotton Eye Joe...takes me back to square dancing in 5th grade gym class. Never knew the music video was like that. I feel enlightened, thank you.

Welcome to the pool, your work looks like something I'll enjoy thus far. I've only got two pieces of advice:

1- Give yourself permission to fail. It's the most liberating experience, being okay with screwing up. It gives you freedom to experiment, freedom to test the limits, learn, and grow.

2- Know what you're creating. Are you creating a webserial with the goal for it to be a webserial (in which case, you've gotten good advice so far) or are you creating it with the goal of, say, one day turning it into a book or something? I find my personal tactic of choice is to write the final chapter of the story (a rough of it, at least) first. It helps me stay on track, knowing how it ends so I can take the path getting there instead of wandering through the forest trying to find it.

For the record, I almost never write the final chapter. (Until the second last chapter, any way.) In terms of stories, I like to corner myself, and see where it goes. In terms of interactive fiction, I don't even see how a final part would be possible early on. The writing is a lot like teaching... sure, you can plan out an entire week of lessons, but if the students hit a wall on day two, it's better to rewrite and reinvent than to railroad everyone back to your plan. If the forest is more interesting, explore there! (Granted, sometimes you have to railroad a bit, because curriculum defines the tracks, but still.)

I start my Epsilon (and math) stories with a cast, and a vague plot. I know enough to see where the next part or two will go, that's it. The only goal I have is "less than x parts". Now, this doesn't mean you CAN'T have defined future locations/events -- for instance, the video game "Until Dawn" does a decent job of this kind of "interactive" gameplay. Like, no matter what you do in the game, there will be a conversation between Sam and Mike in a particular chapter... but the content may be different. (And one of them might have fewer fingers.) It's not hard to do that (the writer simply shouldn't give the audience an option to kill Mike prior to that point), but even roughing out what the characters say seems like it would be really tricky until you see the prior parts. To me. Because that's not how I write best, YMMV, etc.

I find I also wonder as to the idea of turning interactive fiction into a book. Because, in some sense, the audience are co-writers... aren't they? Hm.

Back to the story being out there, congrats, nice foundation so far! For no particular reason, I was reminded of the anime "Yurikuma Arashi"... which I haven't seen, but I know it involves female bears posing as humans. Because anime. *shrugs*

Yeah, since it's interactive I only have a rough idea of what the end of the arc may be. I've got certain scenes in mind that I'd like to see happen, but I'm open to the possibility of those things not happening. I'm bufferless in this forest...the text goes as it goes. I like the improvisation that's required with this method. It may be riskier but that's what this experiment's all about.

Turning it into a book may be messy later. I see the audience more as idea bouncers, since they're still playing with the ideas/choices that I make available to them. Things would get messier if someone left a big idea in a comment that I ran with. Hm... Guess I should slap a disclaimer on the site to cover myself in case a book version ever does happen.

Oh, yes, I've heard of that one - the lesbian bear anime, haha. I think they infiltrated schools to either eat the girls or have sex with them. Not sure which one. I have some friends who were obsessed with it when it came out. Looked very silly, and kinda hilarious.

Hey, just telling the stuff that seems to be working for me. Take what works for you, discard the rest.

Also: are you familiar with "questing"? It's a form of forum RP that's not too different from what you seem to be wanting your story to be. I can point you in the direction of a few good quest runners... you may as well know the genre if you're going to novelize it.

"either eat the girls or have sex with them. Not sure which"

Por que no los dos?

No, I haven't heard of questing before. Reminds me of an online D&D. I'd love some examples of it, thanks!

Haha, and it could very well be both.

Reminds me of an online D&D.

Honestly, the two aren't even close to the same.

Questing follows the formula of "author writes chapter", then "leaves options to be voted upon by readers", then "author writes next chapter based upon these votes". It's really quite different from D&D. Although some quests DO incorporate RPG elements like dice and some sort of level/growth system, while others do not.

... Personally, I think it's all disastrously clunky, and only serves as further proof that all things decided by committee are doomed to horrific failure. MY advise, clearly, is "do something else". But it has a very real fanbase that obviously disagrees with me. Some of whom have accumulated years of wisdom evolved in the medium. So my secondary, probably more helpful, advice is to learn about the medium, since it's basically exactly what you describe.

I like this site. It has a questing dedicated subforum as well as a creative writing forum. I lurk thereabouts... a lot...

The users are possibly the nicest I've ever met on the internet. The mods are sane, reasonable, helpful, fair, and manage to enforce the rules they've set forth. Making them functionally the only place on the internet I've found that achieves this. I've seen 'enforces the rules', I've seen 'fair', and I've seen 'sane and reasonable'... but rarely even two in one place, let alone all three.

There's a NSFW section, but you need to create an account to see that section, so embrace or ignore at your preference.


Oh... and if you REALLY want "online D&D"... I've got an app for that, too.

Which follows the standard geekdom formula. Is good at what it does- which is provide a place to run D&D and other RPGs in Play By Post style. What it does NOT do is creative writing or good mods. Fortunately, the vast majority of the site's activity takes place in semi-private subforums that the Mods visit almost exactly never. Which is what makes the site tolerable.

Thank you for the forum link. Yeah, it's very similar. Most of the stories I saw there were more game/RPG-based than what I'm doing, but it's definitely something to learn from. And thank you for the online D&D link too, just in case I ever feel like picking it up again.

I've survived through 2 updates so far. The third'll be out Thursday. Things are going pretty well (more people are reading/voting than I expected) and more importantly, I'm having fun so far even with these tight deadlines. Whew. Thank you again to everyone who responded in this thread.