WSJ and NPR talk serials | 6000/month shahhhhhhh

Posted the links last night ( but was greatly bemused by "Bonfire of the Vanities" author talking about writing serially and how it was tough to crank out 6000 words a month. I'm glad he did provide that caution, if only because everyone is jumping on the serial train now thinking it's their way to publication . After two years of this I think I wonder if I want to do this ever again once I am done with this one:

As for NPR - Don't read the article - listen to the interview with Margaret Atwood at

I love this woman. Thanks to her, we've had serials in the press for six weeks running.

That's hilarious. It's tough to write 6000 words a month?

Well it's tough for me. I mean, I'm averaging 8-10k a month with Curveball and when I'm at the top of my game I can match that with The Points Between but I'm not going to say it's easy. Every 2k takes work.

Huh. Sorry if I came off the wrong way. I wasn't aware there were people who tackled web serials who had trouble writing. The serial genre, in my perspective, sprawls, and it tends to lend itself to writing too much over too little.

That isn't to say it doesn't take commitment or effort to get 2k words done, but I don't get the impression you're talking in terms of semantics.

If you don't mind my asking, what's the main challenge in getting those 2k words done?

Well The Points Between is just difficult for me to write. It's a style and genre and mood that is not my comfort zone for style, genre and mood, so I spend more time obsessing over whether I got it right, whether I gave away too much in each chapter, whether I gave away too little, that kind of thing.

With Curveball, it's all told in Third Person, Present Tense, which works well for the story but it's not something I can automatically fall in to. I catch myself slipping into past tense all the time, and sometimes I don't catch myself slipping into past tense, which is a bigger problem.

But I guess the main reason is that 2k feels like a lot of words for me? It's different with NaNoWriMo because I know I'm going to go back over what I wrote and fix it again, over time, but these aren't just words, they're words that are being fast-tracked for publication in a production environment.

Ah, so it's the challenge of getting it right the first time, so to speak.

You're right. That would be tough to do, and even if I'm more prolific, I don't think I'd necessarily do much better.

I'm all too familiar with the feeling of agonizing over the amount of info given/not given to the reader, as well.

Thanks for answering.

For me, I put in 40 hours of work a week (minus commute time) first before I can even do any writing. I was overjoyed to see that admission from Tom Wolfe only because in spite of it, I have been averaging posting 6k words a month for two years. It's gratifying to see an established writer admit that the format is hard (without some of the safeguards that you have when crafting a book out of order).

I actually write a lot more than 6k a month, but a lot of it is just garbage when I allow what I call my "Nanowrimo" habits to take over as Uber alludes too. I probably discard a page or two each week in the process of drafting.

I try to write 2k words a day, whether I'm on the bus and handwriting it or sitting in front of my computer and punching away. I usually wind up with 8-16k words of material at the end of the week. I don't necessarily keep everything I write. I usually don't get those 2k in, I admit, and I typically end up writing 50-100% of an update in the 24 hours before an update goes live. I get more than the 2k words a day average usually only through a combination of having a third update to write (donation incentive) and the fact that when I approach the conclusion of a chapter I usually get 'in the zone' and wind up with something that sails past my self-imposed 4k word minimum.

Try not to be too hard on yourself, Uber. Word count is important but not everything. As I have discovered to my dismay when confronted with lots and lots of trunked books that can't be read before they're productized, which takes quite a lot of time per book. :,

Agreed. Getting something polished is 75% of the job, so you're doing far better than any of us who are mass producing first or second draft level stuff. Keep that in mind.

I think I'm definitely more on the 'too many words' end of the spectrum. Thus why I write a serial. I just can't shut up. Thankfully my co-author does a fantastic job in editing and getting rid of all my blabber.

I try not to count my words. It just makes me depressed.

My commendation then to you people who know restraint in their words. It is a restraint I have never mastered.

Learning to write short when you like writing long is hard work! But I recommend it as an exercise. I did it for a couple of years and it made a big difference in my skill level when writing long.