Wrote with no buffer

Short version: Just posted about writing without a buffer (prewritten material) for 6 weeks, and thought other serial writers might be interested in seeing what that's like.


Longer story: Been lurking here for over a year, with an account for 11 months. But Dec 2013 was when my 3 year long serial was wrapping up, so posting it didn't seem sensible - plus I haven't had time to read other submissions yet, and I feel I should do that before posting my own. Including this latest one that I started in September. Where no buffer is intentional, because every part ends with a vote as to where the next part goes. I'm a bit crazy. Anyway, if nothing else, perhaps the link above will convince people to have buffers? Thoughts for improvements also welcome. Have a nice day!

I'm all for buffers in theory. In practice, I'm never able to keep one. Thus I've been writing without one for the better part of seven years.

While a buffer would be nice, especially with finals approaching, I've never been able to sustain one either (thought I'm only at one year's worth of writing). In fact, most of the writers I know don't have buffers, though I applaud the ones that do.

As for the choose your own adventure thing, all I have to say is that you're a braver man than I. That, or I'm a bit too much of an architect writer to pull that off. Either way, good luck and have fun with it.

I've been writing without a buffer for a year and a few days now.

It hasn't been too stressful, but I'd definitely prefer to have a buffer, Especially if I went up to three updates a week.

Sadly I have cultivated an aversion to work in my even younger youth. Only now am I breaking down the terrible foundations I laid.

I've never been able to maintain one, particularly because I launched without any concept of a buffer. I think it's helped out my writing though, because the immediacy of having to have the content for the month done that month, without any ability to delay, makes me consider my writing a bit more pragmatically. I had a lot of really contrived and grandiose plans I had to abandon and I feel like it's for the best. If you think I'm long-winded in how I write now, you should've seen when I wasn't on a 7-12 day deadline...

Interesting; I guess bufferless writing is more common than I realized. When I was working on my first serial, mine would sometimes dwindle down to as much as a week remaining (publishing twice weekly). But I'd always refill it with at least a couple weeks worth at that point, and part of my hesitation was always in seeing if reader commentary would change my direction. (The other part was having to take time to do the illustrating.) In the end, it was a silly reason; I almost never got reader commentary. Though it's probably part of why I'm forcing the point through reader polls now. To that end, thanks for the vote of bravery, Syphax, though I've always liked improvising within a framework!

I guess buffer or not, it's another example of simply finding the time as needed.

Holy moley, mathtans! I read your blog post and got giddy - I freaking know (of) Scott! That's awesome to see him referenced by someone else online, considering how hard he works updating his progress on Facebook. :D

Actually related to what you're talking about, I've never been able to have a buffer. I don't write fast enough. I also don't have a consistent update schedule. I'm the Duke Nukem Forever of writers, but I'm trying to guide readers towards a different set of expectations: noisy updates. So long as people know to come at the sound of fanfare across Twitter, mailing lists, possibly Facebook sometime, hopefully I'll get by.

I'll report back in a year or so with how that worked out for me.

Another buffer wannabe here! In my case, since I decided to go serial after posting a flash fiction I had little chance to buffer. That was october '13 and I thought I could manage posting an installment every Friday until Christmas break, when I planned to buffer on for 2014 season. Guess what, I failed before November was over and I had to put the serial on hold in January.

Now I'm back and I'd wish I could say the lesson was learned but nope, I'm writing again without a buffer. It has its downside, of course. My writing ain't as good as it could be, but on the other hand, I've developed quite a skill to mentally plot a scene and be creative with little elements.

Now that I think about it, I do learned something: be religious about your updates. SnowyMystic told me that on his review and it helped me developing the habit of writing every day.

As someone who spent a lot of time running roleplaying games, I constantly had adjust to unanticipated changes of direction by the players. Writing without a buffer is easier in that I have some clue where it's going next.

Interesting. Apparently there are a significant number of the people hanging around weblit that are active/former roleplaying gamers. If we speak about gamers... I guess most of us are.

I used to play and design roleplaying games, and did some freelance writing stuff with small companies, it seemed like a potentially decent writing career; but my real passion has always been fiction, so after a while I just said "even if I'm less likely to succeed I'd rather just write what I always wanted to." (Also the people I worked for and with treated me a bit poorly.) I can concur though that the plotting and improvisation skills you hone as a GM in an RPG probably help a lot. I learned to make outlines that have some stuff in them to do, but that are flexible. It helps in writing too, even without players doing their own thing. Sometimes as you start writing and a different direction feels better to you, and you gotta be open to that.

Funny world! I've been doing role-play on and off for 20 years. (In fact, my current serial venture is taking old role-play or story characters and throwing them into a new setting.) That said, I've never been a DM/GM. I wonder if there's any relationship between people who run games, and people who write without a buffer. Or just gamers and people who are linear/nonlinear writers. Me, I cannot jump ahead to write a later chapter. I simply cannot predict how a character will react in Chapter 7 until I see their responses in Chapter 6, and so on.

@Feidor and @Tartra, consistent updating has always been my thing - it was back when I had a buffer, and is now that I don't have one. (Granted, there was a time two years back when I lost the buffer, didn't have time, and went on hiatus for two months.) Of course, I've always been pretty scheduled. I can't speak to whether it helps; at my peak I might have been at around 50 readers, but many weren't necessarily keeping up so much as reading after the fact. Still, speaking personally, there is some comfort in regular updates, and I have a tendency to lose track of spontaneous postings in the overall noise that is social media.

Man, I don't know how you guys do it. I don't wanna whine about not having the time, because I technically do. I just don't have the energy - and while I know admitting that is akin to saying, "Oh, this is just a teeny hobby, I don't really care about it", I really do. My work's got me down. It's emotionally draining. Whenever I'm home, as fun as writing is, I'm just looking to relax and do nothing. That destroys any shot at a schedule.

For what it's worth, I'm an active roleplayer, both table top and (formerly, 'cause I don't have time for it these days) play-by-post. And - hey, @mathtans, same deal! My current story's essentially adapting and finishing a three year roleplay I had going on. I call it 'The First Draft'. It's on FictionPress.

Webserial writing feels like tightrope walking to me, it works as long as I keep writing. If I stop I'm afraid a hiatus it's a very likely outcome, no matter how much of a buffer I may have. So I keep on writing. Of course, if you're not in the mood or don't have the energy it's difficult to keep at it.

Weekly updates may be a little stressful, but then you may try every two weeks or even once a month. I post every Friday and shout a reminder next Tuesday, because I also post my updates on Tuesdayserial.com. As @mathtans said social media is noisy, so if I were posting on a once per month schedule, I'd do it always on the same day (29th day of the month, 1st Saturday of the month...) and would try to make it a thing with a hashtag, reminders, whatever. Don't matter how much people are reading/following, just keep at it.