On Keeping Deadlines...

Popping in to leave this short warning to you all: Keep those update deadlines no matter how hard! I slipped right at the end and lost all momentum. It's taking me like a whole month to write this last chapter. Granted, the last two chapters are the only ones written from scratch, but still... I don't know how you webfiction vets do it, writing on the fly. I forgot how difficult the drafting stage was (it's been like a year). You amaze me. That is all.

I have a huge backlog... Also I didn't have deadlines until recently, just a 3/4 day gap.

I did too, I guess. I mean I had what I thought was a finished novel, but I ended up changing the ending (the last several chapters) at the last minute. There are a couple chapters within it that could use a revision or two, but the change was worth it. It's just rough to go back to the beginning. I need like at least a month to work on every chapter from scratch in order for me to feel good about it. I dunno if I was cut out for the quick pace that running a webfiction blog demands! Maybe I'll try again someday with something easier to write. Rema's always been a bit of a puzzle.

If I were to write full chapters (fully edited) it'd probably take me a month too particularly with a fantasy like Rema -- basically I just write smaller installments each week because that's all my schedule allows right now. If you decide to serialize the next volume of Rema maybe you can either build a very large buffer or break it down differently?

SgL it's nice to know I'm not alone in that it takes at least a month per chapter! If I get to serialize book 2, I won't start posting until I'm satisfied with a complete draft. There's just no other way for me. Maybe for my other rom-com story I have in mind... hmmm :D

If I'm diligent and don't give in (too often) to the temptation to just read old Robertson Davies novels or watch Dr. Who, I seem to have an average output of one 3-4 page chapter per week. But it's never that steady. I'll have a rush of wonderful inspiration where I'll pour out a couple dozen pages, then a long period of trimming them down and editing (removing the second and third times I said the same thing). Then a few weeks where I seem to be completely stuck.

I started publishing "Safe as Houses" with a 10-week cushion and stayed comfortably ahead for several weeks. Then I started creeping closer and closer to my cushion's end. I had a couple of weeks where I was writing the current week's chapter Sunday night or even Monday afternoon. Then another wonderful rush and now I've got about a month's cushion.

What constitutes a "Chapter" is very artificial for me. Usually it takes 3-5 installments to finish with a set of characters ,a setting, or a "theme" in a time or place. I'll write each week until I'm kind of done and ready to move on.

Sometimes it's two weekly updates to make a chapter. Sometimes it's six. It's quite arbitrary. But I write a length I'm comfortable using for each week .

But yes - like Michael, I think 3-4 pages is what it ends up being when I translate that weekly output into Wattpad. This is with significant blocking and rewrites and some continuity checking (rereading of other parts). I'm at the slower-end of the output scale but I also work 40-60 hours a week and have to steal time to write.

I started my first volume with one opening chapter, 30k from Nanowrimo which was rewritten anyways, and probably about the same cushion as Michael. I burned through the buffer within a few months and had some stressful weekends trying to complete my next few pages. Eventually enough things were set up (with outlining or general direction to follow) that I kind of just ended up writing things much closer to the end time. You can find a way to work. But it takes a while.

Other folks though (who I watch on twitter) really do have a 1-2 day turnaround. Their genres though tend to differ from what I write in so I try not to draw comparisons between myself and them.

Yeah, I strive to have a one-chapter buffer so I'm not completely screwed if I have to do extra hours in my day job or get sick (both of which have happened since my serial started). So, a couple of days before posting a chapter, I sit down and write the next one. This also enables me to tweak the cliffhanger to the upcoming one before publication, in the event that I've put myself in a situation I can't quite resolve. (Again, that's happened.)

System seems to work so far. I'm content with the level of buffer, it lets me react to stuff quickly and gives me time to work on other projects.

I'm terrible about buffers to the point that I basically don't have one. But like Sgl I don't post a whole chapter at a time. Though her updates might be longer then mine. I tend to post about 1,000 words each update and each chapter tends to have four parts, and I update twice a week so a whole chapter takes about two weeks. Sometimes they go longer sometimes a bit shorter. Actually a couple of readers have asked for longer updates, but between my terrible commitment to buffers and all my other work, I haven't really been able to manage longer updates, unless I'm writing a really important scene that just happens to run extra long.

That all being said, I do plan ahead a lot. I have a rough outline of things in the long run, a more detailed outline of the more immediate events and always plan in my head exactly what is going to happen in the next update I have to write. I tend to run into difficulty when whatever I have planned doesn't actually end up taking that many words and so I have to write past the point I'd planned, then it can take me a good long while and a large part of the afternoon.

I tried working with a minimal buffer.

Then I learned that working with actors you kinda ~have~ to plan 3-6 weeks out or you find yourself at your posting dead line and you don't have any multimedia to post. Granted I got pretty creative with coming up with stuff at the literal last minute but it's not fun. No no.. not fun at all.