Perhaps it’s crazy, but I’m writing an in-depth backstory for one of the main characters in The Pantheon Plot, tentatively named “Winter Roses”. It’s slowed down my writing about Plot & Structure, which I don’t actually want to do; I’ll try to finish reading the book this month and move onto other ones, which will probably fit in during the rewriting stage of my NaNoWriMo draft.
Once upon a time I promised that I would write enough short stories to get into SFWA, but I no longer know if that’s something I want to do. I don’t think having my fiction published professionally is something I want to do either (regardless of the major conflicts of interest that would happen with work). If I ever do write for money, I’d write non-fiction; the ROI is much better.
No, what I want to do with my fiction is to experiment with what I’ll call web distribution methods. Once upon a time, I posted 500 words every Friday of a story, and while it didn’t get rave reviews, it did get some small appreciation from others. That was even when I was far more inexperienced about storytelling.
What if I did the same, but for full scenes, and more often? I’m reminded of web comics, who serve up little snippets of story on a regular basis rather than full chapters once a week. Would it work? Even for someone like me? And how do I define “work” anyway—crowd reach, perhaps? Story satisfaction?
On the flotsam and jetsam of da internets, I don’t know that I’d stand out—and yet others starting out with about the same inexperience with storytelling have managed to grow, both in storytelling skill and audience. Why can’t that be me? Well, a number of reasons, but, well, why not?
One thing’s for certain: if I do break into web serials, it almost certainly means discarding the Three Act structure in favor of both shorter and much larger arcs. It means developing characters you’d want to stay with for a long time. There are a whole host of other implications, which I haven’t even thought about yet.
Back to the story: it’s currently 4700 words and still going strong. It’s not yet a fully dark story; there are little stops of kindness along the way, but mostly it’s heading to what’s hopefully an exciting finish. I’m experimenting with intertwining an action-adventure plot with a quieter plot about self discovery, which I’m sure I shouldn’t be doing, but striking out into unknown territory is how you grow.