November 26, 2019
A few months ago, I started a web novel series. It began just fine. The first seven chapters came easily. But then things started getting more and more difficult. I couldn’t sustain the pace I started with, meanwhile other writers were pushing out new chapters every day.
Eventually, I gave up.
But I learned an important lesson. That style of daily writing and publishing wasn’t for me.
Most web novel writers discover their characters, worlds, and stories as they write. Most don’t outline in advance and they don’t go back to do revisions (partly because they can’t–the story’s already published). Some can pull it off amazingly well, with their stories reading as if they’d spent years perfecting backstories, plots, and subplots.
I can’t. And that’s okay. I just have a different writing process.
Recently I started writing a new series. This one I outlined and revised again and again. It’s turned out well. This is the process that works for me. I like to vomit out a first draft, then go back and edit until it becomes something readable. I now have the first volume finished, it’s like a book… the first I’ve ever written. It feels great and I plan to put it out soon.
But there’s a slight problem. How do I make my process (that takes a couple of months to produce a finished volume) work for web novel writing?
I believe the way to do it is to have chapters written in advance and to do most of the world-building BEFORE publishing anything. I don’t any novels written beyond the first one, but I now have a solid foundation of the world’s history, magic system, geography, and more. (I should probably note here that I’m writing fantasy.)
My hope is I can write the second volume as I’m publishing the first volume. But I might need more time. That’s the thing about my style of writing. I can’t show anything until I’m done revising and making sure everything connects and lines up in the story.
And hopefully that’s okay too. Hopefully my readers will wait for me after they finish the first volume if the second isn’t ready yet.
If I’ve written a worthy story, my guess is that they will.
(Check back soon for my new web novel!)