A New Project Begins

Welcome to my first web fiction series! or serial, whichever you prefer.

I thought I would give you a bit of background on what this project is and how it came to be. I “won” my first NaNoWriMo this past November (2014), writing the technothriller C8, which deals with the bioethical issues of cloning. Throw in some action, some romance and betrayal, some existential crises, and bam! my book. I’m in the process of editing it and hoping to query it around as early as this summer. I love my book. I love it a lot – I don’t know that I’ve ever been more proud of anything in my life. Not because I think it’s great (though I do hope it has some potential), but because I wrote it. I sat down every day in November and made myself write a book. And then I kept writing it. I went back and fleshed out characters, added new ones, put in more concrete details to ground them in a particular setting. I did my research.

For those of you reading this who know me in real life, you’re familiar with my tendency to start and stop projects at whim. I get distracted easily, I am disorganized, and I have no sense of urgency. I write papers at the eleventh hour and show up to tests with a look of surprise. But somehow I managed to commit to writing a book, and I followed through on that commitment. I proved to myself that I was capable of a project of that magnitude. It gave me a huge boost of self-confidence that has, in turn, massively improved my academic performance. But the stage I am in now, editing, is a tiring process. I printed out the massive four-hundred page manuscript and have been editing it line by line for a few months now, lugging it to coffee shops and libraries and trying to decipher sometimes completely unintelligible typos and half written sentences.

So I wanted to start a new project, something fresh and exciting – something for a “pantser,” like me (that’s short for fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-er, by the way). Web serials are kind of like TV shows in that they get written on a weekly basis and immediately published (that is, you don’t spend years, or even months, editing them). They can only be written by pantsers because people who plan and storyboard and over-edit just can’t turn out one or two finished chapters every week. It’s painful to publish writing, that’s why we usually sit on manuscripts for so long – that’s why we edit so many drafts. It’s hard to publish things because they never feel ready.

Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Art is never finished, only abandoned,” and I think that applies to writing, too. You get to a certain point where editing actually makes the writing worse, and that’s when you need to cut yourself off (it’s called over-editing and you should avoid it like the plague). But no matter what, when you publish something online or in print or even show it to a friend, it’s intimidating and requires bravery and vulnerability. My boyfriend is my favorite beta-reader, and I always stand over his shoulder while he reads whatever I’ve given him, and I try to judge his reactions – which paragraphs is he reading more slowly? is he getting bored, distracted? confused? Sometimes I catch a typo while he’s reading and I lean over to correct it. No chapter will ever feel done to me, but that’s how serials work. In fact, I read an article this morning about a popular web fiction writer who says she posts her installments moments after she finishes writing them. I couldn’t believe it – she doesn’t even give it a once over before posting. And her serial gets millions of views. It is one of the most popular ones in existence. That’s just how this genre works.

So get excited! This kind of writing is unique and totally new to me, so it’ll be a fun, wild ride with lots of spontaneous character-killings and plot twists (guaranteed!). I’ll post new chapters every Monday, starting in May. April is one of the Camp NaNoWriMos (the other is July), so I’m using this month to keep me motivated to write chapters ahead of time so they’ll be ready to post during finals week and the summer intensive classes I’m taking, when I won’t have time to write. Most chapters will be, like I mentioned above, written the week they’re posted, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t planned. This month is about figuring out what my serial is really about, what grounds it, who my characters are, what they want, and where they’re going. Stay tuned, more chapters are imminent!

To close, here’s a quote from Sylvia Plath that I love and that gives me the courage to write and share, even when I want to hang onto what I’ve written and hide it away because I’m scared.

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”

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