Thursday, August 7, 2014
Nope. Nope. Nope.
On today’s blog I’m going to talk about my other blog. That’s Shapeshifter Seductions, where four other romance writers along with yours truly post almost-daily shapeshifter flash fiction. I’ve had it easy for the last couple of months because I’ve been writing a serial story, a single tale told in weekly installments. Well, mostly weekly. I skipped a few here and there—I had to do something special for St. Patrick’s Day, for example—and occasionally I’d post an extra chapter on Thursday, or one of my fellow writers would add to the storyline on their blog day. The story’s taken a few odd twists and turns here and there, mostly because I didn’t bother to plot it out before I started (the curse of the pantser strikes again!), plus my fellow writers would latch onto throwaway lines and build a blog around it, providing ideas for my next installment. Somehow we fashioned a coherent story line out of this. But then, we’re professionals. Don’t try this at home.
Bottom line, it’s almost done. Much like the mutant mammoth monster currently imperiling Our Heroes, this thing had lumbered unstoppably on since January. To date, it has 40-odd chapters (many of which are odd indeed), along with a couple of semi-related sidebar posts (characters not involved in the main action but affected by/reacting to it). All I have to do is stop the monster, save the town, tie off a couple of dangling plot threads, and give my protags their HEA. That should take me into September, at least. Then it’s back to cursing and ripping my hair out Sunday night when I don’t have a blog idea for Monday.
Meanwhile, another question has arisen. Should I gather all this together and self-publish it as a free read, or—dare I even think it—charge money? I’ve thought it over and decided no, for several reasons.
First off, it would be a ton of work. Like I said, we’re up to 40-some chapters here already, and it isn’t finished yet. All those posts would have to be gathered together and formatted and a cover made up and stuck on it, so people could read a book that’s been offered free on our blog for the better part of a year. If you really want to take a gander at it, I recommend you hop over to the Shapeshifter Seductions site and scroll through the posts. Links to individual chapters are listed on our blog history, but scrolling through the site’s more fun. A lot of good writing and unique stories have been posted in between the serial chapters, and I had a blast revisiting them the other day when I went to catalogue all the chapters and semi-chapters. If you like shapeshifter romance, we’re the place for you!
Secondly, the story’s not a romance. It has a romance in it, but it’s not a standard romance. How do I know? Because there’s very little of the heroine’s POV in it. Mostly it’s in the guy’s POV because he was the one I started out with. I wrote that first installment not realizing it was a first installment, or that I’d still be writing it eight months later. I understand an entire book from the guy’s point of view is rare in romance, unless you’re writing M/M. This is not M/M. There’s a girl, and there are about three posts from her perspective, and then she gets kidnapped and the rest of the story is the hero trying to find her. It’s more like an action story with a romance wedged in.
If I’d been writing this for publication I would have started with her, then used that first installment as Chapter 2 to introduce the hero. Then I could alternate and give her more screen time. And sex scenes. I kept it clean because there’s no telling who might happen across our not-so-innocent little blog. We must protect The Children, and I must protect myself from our county library system’s Adult Content filter.
As far as charging money, that’s out of the question. I’m not the sole writer here, or the original creator of some of the characters. This story turned into a group effort. Divvying up any royalties fairly would be a bitch.
Did I learn anything from this experience? Yeah. Never start posting a serial story unless and until you have the whole thing written, or at least plotted out. Some of those chapters were written in a last-minute frenzy, and the writing suffered for it. The plot, what there was of it, kept swerving around depending on what the other writers did. We did not coordinate this at all, and that’s pretty obvious too. I didn’t make up an outline until we were several chapters in. Better late than never.
Besides, if it’s finished or at least partially finished, you can post on a regular basis. I managed to keep to the every-Monday schedule for the most part, but not always. I understand now why serial stories aren’t that popular with readers. To those of you following our twisty little tale, I apologize.
And that, boys and girls, is how I wrote a not-book that’s not going to be published but can still be enjoyed at no cost. If you’d like to see what all the angst has been about, here’s a list of the first five chapters, and the dates they were posted:
Who Ya Gonna Call?, 1/13/14
“Should I Accept this Mission,” Dugger Lampooned, 1/14/14
Sidebar: Special Thursday Flashback Post, 1/16/14
Saving People, Hunting Things, 1/20/14
Yeah, Righto, Did He Shift to Human?, 1/21/14
Happy hunting, and happier reading!