Mini Series

I finished writing (emphasis on the word writing, haven't posted the remaining episodes) my first serial, and I wanted to do a mini series. I was thinking 6-8 episodes, 7,000 words each. I was wondering if this is a good idea? I'm still new to the web fiction world, and I don't know what people like and what they don't yet.

Honestly, things are completely fluid. No one's tried every possible thing, so no one knows the results of every possible thing.

You'll be the first person that I know of to try exactly that. Wildbow has done something similar to that, but over the course of a week. In his case though, it was part of an established serial. That said, for him, it improved his readership.

As for myself, I usually do an interlude "short" story between "books" in my serial. The short story is close to novella size though, and often takes two months to get through (at 2000 words per week). People seem to be okay with it. Some really look forward to the interludes. Some very much prefer the regular story.

Many, I suspect, both look forward to the interludes, and look forward to getting back to the regular story. I'm among them.

In summary: go and try it. Some people might find 7000 words too long, but I've happily read that much.

I'm not sure what's mini about a series that has 7000-word episodes!

I guess it depends on how many episodes. Curveball averages from 8,000-10,000 words an issue. If I only released four issues it'd be a miniseries.

M.C.A., it's 6-8 episodes. That means that it lasts, at most, four months, if on a bi-weekly schedule, which would probably be how I released it (7,000 words would be too much for me to write in a week).

Personally, my guideline would be to have something appear weekly. It's easy to forget about a serial that appears less often than that. It's the difference between knowing that the update appears on Wednesday versus trying to remember which Wednesdays of a particular month an update last appeared/will appear.

As Jim said, I've done special events before. Maybe these are close to what you're planning, maybe not.

Arc 9, Sentinel, kept to my regular schedule, but stepped away from the main story to share the perspectives of people on the opposite side. Six chapters over 3 weeks. People were itching for a resolution to a cliffhanger, but they seemed to accept it alright. Mixed reviews as a consequence.

Arc 11 (the latter half), Infestation, was a special event for Worm's one-year anniversary. Eight chapters over eight days, featuring a newly introduced group of villains. Wound up being 42,000 words in length (took me ~two weeks to write). Good reviews, significant boost to readership, I found. Went from about a 500-800 view average to 1k-1200 view average.

Arc 17, Migration, was a donation special. I raised $200 from donations (in retrospect, should have asked for more) and released eight chapters dealing with backstory for other characters, again over eight days. Only this time I wrote it all in those eight days (maybe half a chapter done in advance). Good reception, again, a significant boost to readership. 47,000 words and change, IIRC.

Are your readers itching for more in-setting content? Quite possibly a good idea.

Are they dying for a cliffhanger resolution? They might be craving it too badly to really enjoy the story you're presenting.

Are you confident you can pull it off (whether you're accelerating your schedule or keeping to your old one)? Go for it.

Are you worried you won't be able to? Consider delaying until you have more written.

This really depends on context. Are you planning on ever writing beyond the Unbroken Chaos work? Are you returning to it eventually? Perhaps you could save this idea for when you're taking a break, or as an appetizer to keep people interested.

Kelley Armstrong, IIRC, releases snippets that sit between her -published- book releases. Free online stories that keep readers invested in the world while they wait for a major book release. There's precedent. But again, it depends on context. The game plan, beyond just this one event/miniseries.

If it comes down to it, I'd suggest waiting until you have more done, and then releasing at a faster rate than releasing slowly. It may be hard to retain reader attention if it's less than once a week.

I guess I would ask what you're trying to accomplish. A mini-series (in the sense of "not lasting long") isn't very useful for building an audience for a project. If you want to run it as a serial in order to draw people, I'd chop those 7000-word episodes into much shorter bits (1500-2000 each) so that you have at least 15-20ish episodes.

If the point is to finish something and be done with it, you might be better served by selling it in a single chapter.

I guess I'm just trying to puzzle out why you'd want to go with a serial, which is useful primarily because of its length and recurrence, when you want it to be over with quickly. :)

This is going to be a separate story from Unbroken Chaos. It'll probably start around the same time the final episode of Chaos goes up, with a link at the end of the final episode. I'm wrapping up Chaos on May 23, as I've grown bored of it and don't really know what to do next. And anyway, the final chapter's written, and it basically makes it so that, unless I write a prequel (like about Chaos's and Lilith's parents), I probably won't return to it. Actually, I was planning on ending it earlier, but I thought of a better ending that would only work if I extended it, so I did.

Anyway, I'm rambling. One episode per week, 7,000 words per episode. It seems hard, but I always like a challenge (I play BioShock on survivor mode, vita-chambers off, if you don't know what that is, look it up).

And M.C.A., because I feel like it, and I've never heard of someone else doing it, and because... Well, there are only two reasons, but still.

If you feel like it, then by all means. You don't need other reasons. Give it a go. :)

people like good writing. The rest of it is just variation. Especially if you already have a serial you can use to draw people to the mini series, and continue putting out other new work in the future that also can point toward the mini series, you should be good.