Just started, advice please.

Hello all, I'm Tempest.

I've not long started a serial,(MageLife) at the nudging of Tieshaunn. It was supposed to be a short story that kinda grew and basically I have no idea what I'm doing. I have zero writing experience. So this is my plea for any and all advice. Even irreverent advice, yeah I'm looking at you Psycho Gecko

1. Write a lot. All the spare time you can manage.

2. Stick to a schedule for online posts, being reliable builds audience.

3. Long immersive posts once or twice a week are better than short posts, it engages deeper.

4. Read "Worm" for proof of all of the above.

5. Read a lot. All the spare time you can manage. Study what works and what doesn't.

Thanks, I currently don't have a confirmed schedule for various reasons but I manage about once a week.

I prefer longer posts too. Although there is a bit where I experimented with short ones.

Worm, I read in a weekend long binge with no sleep. Until I had caught up a couple of months before the end. I was hooked.

Writing is my current constant, if I'm not writing I'm reading. Much to the annoyance of my wife.

Brilliant advice, it is appreciated.

In terms of the actual writing, always consider what you're offering the reader. Are you shedding more light on the character? Moving things forward? What does the reader want most, right now? How can you provide that element they desire to them, or can you deny them that element to build tension or anticipation?

Frequency and consistency matter a great deal. I suspect you're busy with a wife, kids and work, but if you want an audience, you need to tell people when you're going to give them content, or they're just checking in whenever and getting frustrated when stuff isn't there/forgetting you exist after a while.

"Squee, Wildbow spoke to me."

Sorry had a brief fan moment there. I'm in control again.

That is very good advice, I have a great deal of trouble putting myself in the readers shoes, probably due to my greater knowledge. I shall have to make more of an effort with that.

Yeah busy with the wife and kids, but a generous posting plan is more than doable.

Thank you.

When I started off, I basically just built up a backlog, and I used that time to gauge what I could pull off long-term.

I'm not saying to pressure yourself or go overboard, but do gauge your abilities and pay attention to the effects of what you're doing. If you have a goal, frame what you're doing in terms of that goal. Why are you writing? If it's to build up an audience, you need to focus on what you're offering that audience. If it's to tell a story, then schedule and the like shouldn't really matter. If it's money, well, writing is probably not the way to go, but you could look at merchandising and focus your writing to encourage impulse-donations and targeting a market.

But go in with your eyes open.

My only real goal is to complete it. It was supposed to be a short story that ended up being rather long, without an end in sight. Then it turned into a side project, now its something different. Having an audience would be nice, mainly for feedback reasons. Yeah, money is not the goal, I might be better off selling my organs than a story, if it were. I'm still dithering between excitement and dread that I started my blog when I did.

A few things I've learned:

Pick a schedule where the day before you post is expendable. You're going to need it.

You can have story. You can have comedy/horror/philosophy. The problem is finding a way to make them work together.

Pop culture and stories based on something topical aren't timeless. They'll lose a lot of their meaning months down the line unless it's something with some sticking power to it, like "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

Know what slot your story is trying to fit into. Some people like epic but depressing stories like Worm. Some people like their stories lighter like Legion of Nothing. Some even like the more South Park-like depths of serials and enjoy World Domination in Retrospect. Just as Godzilla isn't being remade to try and sweep the Oscars, you should be aware of who you're going into this to hook as an audience and know that you're not going to appeal to everyone, so don't feel so bad.

And finally, to quote the movie Real Genius: "Always...never...check your references. I think the young people like it when I 'get down' verbally, don't you?"

Damn, expendable days exist? I thought they were a myth.

Brilliant advice guys, Thank you.

Listen to your fans. They will tell you what they like, and what they want more of, and if you stray and start to get messy, they WILL tell you.

Don't EVER listen to your fans. They are a pack of bloodthirsty hyenas, waiting for the first error to fall upon your writing, tearing and shredding meat from bone, ridiculing your every little mistake.

(although, I notice that happens a lot more in webcomics than in serial prose. weird. )