Update Frequency, Buffers, and Pacing

I don't know about other people, but I'm generally unsatisfied with how far I'm getting in the story on any given week.


I update twice a week (Tuesday and Friday). I try to have an installment ready by 1 or 2 am my time (Eastern), but often I end up updating the next morning, early afternoon or even evening of the day I plan for. This isn't the end of the world because in the end, it's always up.


It's just that it would be easier if I ever developed a buffer, of say, one post or wrote shorter updates or something... Except honestly, if anything I should be writing longer updates (because seriously I just spent two weeks in which all my characters did was talk and this is a superhero serial...).


Mind you, all that talking had a purpose and we're just about out of it, but with two updates a week, you really can have two weeks of talking fairly easily.


In an ideal world I'd be doing three posts of about the same length I'm currently doing, and then, (or so I tell myself) the story would move faster.


...


Hmmn. Well, that was a bit of a ramble. There may even be a point in there somewhere.


Deeply hidden.


Anyway, I guess I'm not looking for suggestions so much as checking whether other people feel my pain.


Though I'll take suggestions.


I feel your pain. I wish that I had the energy/creativity to write more than I do. Ah well. Such is life.


I would adore having a buffer, but whenever I write five posts (say, for example, today) I feel compelled to post them all at once, rather than using them to ensure I have five days worth of updates that week. I can't say as I have a solution for it, or even a glimmer of one. As such, I don't actually /have/ an update frequency. If I were a reader of mine, I'd kinda hate me. I'm not quite sure what that means, but there you are.


As for pacing, my story's style confines me to covering at least one day in each update. Sometimes it's an eventful day. Sometimes it's really boring day. Sometimes it's a really, really eventful day my narrator is busy reacting to and can't bother writing about. (In which case I kinda want to bite her.) She never, ever misses a day outside of extraordinary circumstances like meteors or something, so I'm stuck pushing through the interesting but not incredibly cool stuff to get to the incredibly cool stuff. I end up with a whole lot of subplots.


So far, I've found that people who get what I'm trying to do with Tapestry are the patient types who let me get on with things without getting too fretful, so I don't worry too much. Folks who can't stand waiting around for the point to be explained in big block letters tend to get scared off within the first few weeks of the archive.


We're doing something a little different from most people, since Melly's blog is in real time, and we also benefit from having a team of writers to pick up the slack if any one of our schedules goes to hell, but I would say that anyone writing serialized fiction absolutely definitely needs a buffer. Ours is about two weeks, so the post I'm drafting now will drop two weeks from today--and we'll have two weeks to tweak that post based on the stuff we'll be writing two weeks into the future from that.


Also, we schedule our main post of the day to automatically "drop" at 11AM Central Time--but there are slots available for extra posts either in the morning, afternoon, or night in case, let's say, we want to have Melly comment on that day's game in Women's Olympic basketball.


Our strict rule has been no more than two posts in a day, but we're going to break that on the night of August 12th into the morning of the 13th. Melly's going to pull an all-nighter with a new post every hour but those are already written and placed into the buffer as well--because I'm sure not going to stay up that late just because our main character is! :D


I update 3 times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. New chapters are usually between 4000-6000 words, but that's been known to vary from chapter to chapter. I usually don't have a problem getting the chapters done as I've got about 18 - 24 hours per week set aside for writing and revisions in general.


The trick for me is that for those 18 - 24 hours, I'm locked in an empty building with my laptop and no internet connection, with literally nothing to do for those hours. Therefore, I either write during that time, or read, or do research and whatnot.


Either way it works out well for me. My suggestion-- disconnect from the net for a few hours a day and don't let the distractions get to you. That seems to be my key.


I dropped to three times a week from six or seven so I'd have more time to write each installment, and I still write them the night before or the morning of. :-( And, strangely, one of the reviews I got at that other website remarked how nice it was that my installments are short (generally 500-700 words each), so I'm not sure writing longer installments is a good idea, either.


Writing ahead for me would just mean I would write less. Seriously. The deadline pressure is what gets me to write, and not obsess about it once it's written. So, at this point, I still follow my original plan for Winter Rain -- I post it as soon as it is written, I don't change it once it is posted.


A buffer would be nice, but, for me, I honestly doubt I could make it work. :-(


For Street, updating twice a week usually works, but it's sometimes a bit of a struggle. I always try to have a buffer available so that I can go back and do edits on an update before it launches.


Lately I've been running it close to the wire because it's been harder to find the time and energy to write. I've also been discarding a lot of material because it wasn't any good. Either way, I stick to my schedule religiously, no more or less than twice a week. The scenes are never disappointing and their length is not up for debate, especially since it's all going into a book at the end of the year anyway.


In an ideal week I'll write 3 updates, upload 2 on time, and get all my other stuff done.


Regards,

Ryan


I update five days a week for two different serials (2x a week for one, 3x a week for other, ideally on different days). I say ideally because, this isn't my day job, nor my whole life, and sometimes, the outside world intrudes. I tend to write late at night (on posting day), right before I post. I post 500-700 words (just over a page of short paragraphs, with a line break between each).


Lately, I've been falling behind due to outside factors. And I always feel bad. So far, the readers haven't complained vocally, and they all seem to be coming back. But I do worry about losing them. On the other hand, if they wait until the end of the week to read, they're likely to get all the updates (I try not to get more than a day behind) and get them in a bunch. So maybe I should suggest my readers try that. :-P


I used to have a huge pile of prewritten material to update from... for Alisiyad I updated five times a week and for Queen of Seven three times a week. But that was just doing editing passes on already written stuff.


Since I ran out of ready-to-go chapters for Queen of Seven I've failed completely to keep my schedule. I dropped down from three times a week to once a week and still couldn't manage that for the last month. So now I'm on official hiatus.


I've been updating Dreamers once a week by writing each installment the day of, and that was actually working out pretty well till this past month. Now that's on hiatus too.


I doubt I'll ever have a buffer for anything again, heh.


I have to have a buffer. I'd like to have 3 months, but I'll probably have that reduced to 3 weeks com Feb or March when I run out of pre-written material.


I'd like a buffer, I'm kind of building up a strange one with Mirroheart though - I have parts written for the middle and ending when I don't have #101 written. >_< These are major points I'm working towards like..."oh, sure, I feel like writing one of the darkest moment in the series" or "today...I shall write a completely tripped-out imagery scene".


So with those, they're just going to require a quick edit to get the kinks out, then they can go up.


A real buffer would be better though. >_<


I have the first whole book written for mine, with an update every 3 weeks (each update being around 20 pages or so, a chapter an update), and the prologue and first chapter or so written of the second book. I was supposed to go on a writing binge with my outlines for book 2 this summer, but I got Mass Effect and have been neglecting it. The funny thing it, I have updates thru to next April or so (with "special" months thrown in where I update more than one chapter) and I'm still nervous about not having enough. I'm kind of weird like that.


Though my work is really different from everyone else's here since it's not so much a serial as an actual novel. But I do worry like everyone else since in Sept I start my last year before I get my Library Technician degree and then start work immediately, so I don't know how much spare time I'll have to keep writing, and writing a whole chapter every 3 weeks and getting it edited and proofed is hard to do in that time.


I don't think it's uncommon to just be posting a novel online in increments rather than it being an out and out serial. The distinction can get a bit fuzzy between which is which, but I generally think of my own projects as novels rather than serials.


But I do worry like everyone else since in Sept I start my last year before I get my Library Technician degree and then start work immediately, so I don't know how much spare time I'll have to keep writing, and writing a whole chapter every 3 weeks and getting it edited and proofed is hard to do in that time.


For study - I wasn't doing my serial back then, but I was writing on the train to/from college, and in the evenings - and it was doing three science qualifications all at once, and I'm not exactly genius material, I'm sure you'll be fine.


For work - I work full-time (80 hours per fortnight), as well as do a large portion of the housework and cook some of the meals. Writing is still possible - you've just to find those empty moments (and utilise some of the ones you use trawling the internet ^_^ [unless it's for research]).


Mine is a serial and I'm committed to it being that rather than a novel. I update three days a week, and it's hard. The first story-in-story was already written, and I wrote the framing story around it and severely edited/rewrote the story-in-story. Now I'm writing both the framing and the story-in-story at the same time for this arc.


I have ten years of story time to cover and I don't want to spend ten years or more covering it. I know where I'm going but whew, the road is long and bumpy.



I dropped to three times a week from six or seven so I'd have more time to write each installment, and I still write them the night before or the morning of. :-( And, strangely, one of the reviews I got at that other website remarked how nice it was that my installments are short (generally 500-700 words each), so I'm not sure writing longer installments is a good idea, either.


I've found 800-1000 words is a nice length for serials, both for reading, and for writing. Still, I end up with your 500-700 words most of the time, I'm working on it though.


As for the original post, I'm currently trying to write ahead, but I don't know if that'll actually get me ahead, or spur me into updating three times a week...


Short installments preferred? really? wow! I try to get mine as close to 2000 words as I can in either direction. If I did less I'd never get the story finished. Of course, I could update every day, but I don't know if I want to do that...


Yeah, I don't think I could write any less than 2000 if I tried. Most installments are closer to 5000 words. :P


I don't know about other people, but it takes me about 2 minutes to read a page of a paperback. That's about 350 words. Even a 2000 word chapter is a commitment of more than 10 minutes -- a 5000 word chapter would be closer to 30. That would definitely be too much of a time commitment for me on any kind of a regular basis. So yeah, I can definitely understand why readers would prefer something closer to 1000 words -- if their reading speed is anything like mine, at least. People who read faster probably want longer installments.


I think it also depends on the writing style. Some stuff I read a lot faster than that 2 minutes per page. Stuff that's heavy on dialogue, for instance.