Serial Writing: Thoughts on Double Features

I'm several days late with my thoughts on writing a serial this week. Sorry, folks! I was a bit overwhelmed by the fact that I had done a double feature and finished the rough draft of Storm without End this week. After a few days, my battery is recharged and I'm ready to reflect on the horrors and stress that is a double feature.

Because I'm not writing buffers, I had to do the work back-to-back. That was enough to make me sweat to begin with. It didn't help that I didn't anticipate both days of Zero to be difficult to write. Zero is a more passive character whom I want to grow to be more active in his stance. Some of you might have noticed a little work in that direction in the second episode that was released on Thursday.

I was extremely frustrated working on Zero at one point during the process. Why? It was a deadline for me, a challenging deadline, and one that wasn't coming easily. As it was, the second feature was released on Thursday instead of Wednesday. I didn't feel too bad about pushing it off, seeing how much I'd written so far in the week to finish Storm without End.

It doesn't change the fact I don't like pushing things off. I like succeeding at deadlines. It's a great feeling. That I've gotten so far on Zero without faltering is a real accomplishment for me. There are some things I've noticed about writing Zero that is interesting to me:

Because of the medium, I don't feel the need or desire to go back and edit once I submit it. I clean up errors if I notice them, but beyond that, I haven't felt the twitchy need for self-editorial. I do an editing run on it before release (and I still miss errors!) but I feel a bit liberated by the process.

What is done is done. Until the serial is completed and I am going to release it on Amazon as a full novel, I don't have to worry about it. It isn't an in-progress piece. It's a completed work.

It's that same reason that I stress so much as I work on them each week. I know once I commit them to my website, all I'm fixing is grammar and spelling mistakes — or obvious continuity errors.

I'm proud that I'm able to turn off that part of my editorial self and not go back. My drafting in SwE involves a lot of going back and improving different sections of the story as I change things or as I decide that a character wouldn't say something quite in that way because it isn't their character.

I feared that I wouldn't be able to shut off the editorial part of me at all, seeing as I have to write with  higher quality in mind when I draft Zero. I proved that wasn't the case on Tuesday (Feb 12) when I blitzed through the ending of Storm without End, drafting out 7,600 words over the course of the day. I worked hard, and I worked fast, and while there were a lot of spelling errors!! the quality wasn't nearly as wretched as I feared it would be.

In truth, I can't tell, beyond the spelling errors, that I wrote those scenes in a hurry versus the ones I slaved over for hours at several words a minute. It was an eye opener.

Once again, this is a reminder to those who fear they aren't improving, as the writer, you won't notice your improvement until you start re-reading old drafts.

Lesson for me: Don't sweat the small stuff. I can fix the little errors in editorial. Just worry about keeping true to the characters. I can trim the fat. Go ahead, me, write that purple prose. It's cringe-worthy and I'll notice them in edits.

I'm still happy I started Zero. I'm really interested in the story that is coming together. Wednesday, I'll have a new episode written. I'm looking forward to finding out just what Cardeth is going to do now that he has even more than ever at stake.


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