Recently I've been thinking about web serials openings. In a number of ways they're similar to books: you want to grab the reader's attention at the beginning, you want to set the tone of the work, etc.
But I'm also wondering how they're different. You know, how the nature of web serials changes the purpose of an opening. My thoughts aren't concrete enough to write something resembling an essay, but I thought I'd list a couple of ideas here and see what others thought. Of course they're debatable. I actually want them to be debated, just to get a dialogue going.
Here are the ideas:
1. Web serials tend to have a steep learning curve. This'll change as the years go by, but right now most of us aren't particularly experienced. There are some vets at this point, but how many authors here have been writing serials for more than a decade? Because of this authorial inexperience, the writing in any given serial tends to get better as more posts accrue. This makes the first post one of the most poorly written. (Which isn't to say that it IS poorly written, but merely that the later posts tend to be BETTER written.)
2. Web serial audiences are more patient. I know this goes against conventional wisdom, but I think people are willing to forgive a weak opening in web serials more than in books. It's true that when someone's online there are a million places they can leave your website for, but there's a reason they clicked a link to your serial in the first place. They're willing to forgive a somewhat gangly opening chapter, because they don't have to pay for it.
3. It may not be the best thing to establish a fast pace for your web serial. Yeah, you want to establish characters and have them do interesting things as soon as possible, but if you develop too much too quickly, you may not have anywhere to go forty or fifty posts down the line. And anywhere you do go might be a bit of a letdown from the breathless pace of your early chapters.
Curious to see what everyone else thinks.