Tag Archives: serial blog

Episode 13: The Test – Part One

Episode Twelve of The Multiverse Chronicles is now up!

Trish goes about her week at camp, facing trials of textbooks and tack…

The Multiverse Chronicles

The Multiverse Chronicles


“The Test – Part One”

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The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel - Silent Morning

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Trish chewed on a granola bar from the mess hall as she crossed the campground. The early morning sky was dark. Cool air whispered through her hair and across her cheeks, helping her wake. The stable tent stood as a dark silhouette on the distant hill, mostly silent except for the few wolves prowling nearby in search of a wild snack.

At 0430, Trish had plenty of time to make the journey up the hill, which was fine by her. The chilly air raised gooseflesh on her skin, but lately, the still mornings were the only downtime that could calm her nerves.

At least, the only downtime she’d found.

This was her seventh day at the camp in Francia. Thus far, her training had consisted of textbooks, tests, practicing basic commands with her pterosaur—which…

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Thoughts on Writing – Writing A Serial Novel – MVChron Midpoint Evaluation

Now that Isaac and I have reached the midpoint of The Multiverse Chronicles (or what was originally going to be the midpoint), I thought it might be fun to look at what we had planned for this series, and what the current trajectory is.

For those of you who are new to my blog, The Multiverse Chronicles is a pseudo-steampunk fantasy blog series that my husband and I write. Isaac writes the rough draft for each episode, which I then edit. We send that draft to a beta-reader, who gives us feedback. We polish the episode, and then post it to our blog (approximately once a week between episodes).

The series started because we wanted a way to advertise our Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel card game. So we worked out more of the universe and wrote it into story format. (Fun Fact: The story came from the card game, but the card game from a story… which came from a role-play game Isaac game-mastered and created the world for. It’s just one big cycle.)

When we first planned the series, we thought they’d be short little episodes, each an individual story following the lives of various characters who we occasionally revisited (actually, we first pictured this as a comic strip). As the story progressed, certain themes would reoccur and a larger story arc would appear, but would only be important to those who read the whole series.

That didn’t happen.

The story evolved to have a full-blown plot. Even then, we determined that we would still keep the episodes short (around 500-1500 words), and we would keep some level of independent story from episode to episode, that way new readers could fall in at any time and be able to reasonably follow what was going on.


Let’s take a look at the actual word count of the first twelve episodes, shall we?

  • Prologue: 478
  • Episode 1: 2,318
  • Episode 2: 3,287
  • Episode 3: 2,771
  • Episode 4: 3,395
  • Episode 5: 3,829
  • Episode 6: 2,202
  • Episode 7: 3,082
  • Episode 8: 3,660
  • Episode 9: 2,760
  • Episode 10: 2,018
  • Episode 11: 3,918
  • Episode 12: 4,226

Ignoring the prologue, which we added at the last minute because we wanted to have at least some reference of why we call this “The Multiverse Chronicles,” the episodes are well above the intended length.

Granted, a lot of that is my fault. I like details. I want to see the world…

And I enjoy knowing what the bad guys are doing.

Isaac’s original drafts are closer to the intended length (for example, the original draft of the first episode is only 1,645 words long, and episode twelve was only 1,672 words long (note: this does not include the end scene, which was added later and raised the total count to 2,591 words).

Combined,the total word count for the first twelve episodes without the prologue is 37,466 words, with an average of 3,122 words per episode.

That’s double the original word count we had in mind.

Adding to the word count was the decision to add “Meanwhile“scenes at the end of each episode to show what other characters, especially the antagonists, were up to. The idea was to build suspense. Per feedback from our beta-reader, we later stopped calling them “Meanwhile” scenes and just made them a part of the regular episode, albeit with a section break.

What remained as planned, however, was to have an illustration with each story, hearkening back to the idea of penny dreadfuls and dime novels. Though the style and number of illustration varies a bit from episode to episode, we try to have at least something.

Originally we planned to have 24 episodes, though looking at our current structure, we now have 27 episodes planned, and I haven’t checked to see if any of the remaining episodes need to be split into two parts (as we did with one of the earlier episodes, and the two episodes we’ll be releasing next).

Once the first season has been released, I’m hoping to go back through the full story, make any final changes and polish the writing, and then publish a print and ebook edition. But that’s a post for another day.

Though we deviated from our original plans, I hope that readers will still enjoy The Multiverse Chronicles. And please, feel free to chime in with thoughts and comments as you read each episode. We would love to hear from you. 🙂

Previous posts about the serialization process:

Thoughts on Publishing – Serial Publishing Methods

Thoughts on Writing – What does a Serial Episode Need?


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Thoughts on Publishing – Serial Publishing Methods

I recently got back notes from our beta reader for The Multiverse Chronicles, and one of the questions we asked her was whether or not she would read it in serial format (in this case, one episode a week). We want to make sure that when we release the episodes that the method of release will work well for readers.

Though she said that she enjoyed the episodes that she read, she also said that she personally wouldn’t read it in the serial format. She explained the reason was because the first two episodes (two weeks of content) had a lot of characters to keep track of, and given that the episodes alternate between two groups, that was a long time to wait to find out what happened to the main character from the first scene.

As an alternative, she suggested releasing several chapters at once, but at longer intervals, so that readers would have a chance to get grounded in the story before having to wait for the next installment.

In a sense, this is what I’m doing with The Wishing Blade series, but with a several-month interval. Technically, each book will fit together as one larger, complete book, though each one is meant to have a semi-complete story on its own.

Our beta reader suggested looking at Stephen King’s The Green Mile as an example of releasing several chapters at once, a serialized novel that was released monthly in 1996. From what I gathered during my (Wikipedia) research, The Green Mile was released in six parts, once per consecutive month, each paperback book around 100 pages until the last book, at 144 pages). Later the publisher released a compiled edition.

Now, I haven’t read the book, so I’m not sure how complete each part was, (though I did try to skim through a few reviews to get a feel for it, and I’m still not sure), so I don’t know how much of a cliffhanger each episode may or may not have been. Click here for more information about the original release of The Green Mile books.

But this research did lead me to thinking about the various options involved in releasing a serialized novel.

Originally, Isaac and I had intended the Multiverse episodes to be stand-alone short stories that fit a larger story arc, but the story arc took over. and now we have a serialized novel on our hands.

The options (with variation, depending on the author) are generally to release episodes or chapters every few days, once a week, every few weeks, or monthly/bi-monthly.

Due to time constraints, Isaac and I decided not to release episodes more than once a week. Otherwise there would be a long span of time between the beginning and end of each “season.”

However, if you have a complete novel, or if you want to write daily and release the new parts as their written, a faster release schedule may be the way to go.

Releasing weekly or every few days could work great if you have cliffhangers and an audience who is excited for the anticipation of waiting for the next episode. Here, having a story that hooks the reader and doesn’t let go, but demands a faster release schedule, may work well.

Though I haven’t read it personally, I found one example to be Worm, a completed web serial by Wildblow. In their case, they released chapters twice a week (sometimes three times, if donations met a specific goal). Also, The Legion of Nothingwhich (according to the info at the top left corner of its home page) updates twice a week.

Interesting side-note: According to Merriam-Webster.com, bi-weekly can either mean “twice a week” or “every two weeks.” Gotta love the consistency there.

Releasing every few weeks might work better for stories with larger episodes, where the author wants time to make edits before the release, or for writers who are writing the story as they go, but want time for feedback to develop, and time to implement that feedback.

Releasing monthly or even bi-monthly seems like it would work better for longer episodes or short books that have a reasonably complete story arc, however, my current research suggests that stories with strong cliffhangers can work well at this extended rate, too.

One romance series I’ve heard has done well, Renee George’s The Lion Kings, (according to its description/reviews, since I have not read this series, either) has each book as a fairly short installment that involved cliffhangers, where the author released the books on Kindle at around a month or so apart. Of course, audiences preferences may vary between genres.

Then there’s The Martian by Andy Weir. According to Smithsonian.com, The Martian was released on his blog at the rate of one chapter every six to eight weeks, though it does sound like he made adjustments per reader feedback. I’m not sure how long each chapter was, though, and since I haven’t read it, I’m not sure what specific part of the book may have drawn in the large audience that it did. (The Business Insider suggests that the author’s enthusiasm for science attracted a lot of other readers who were also interested in science, which helped propel its popularity forward. The eventually release of a Kindle edition continued to boost its popularity until it was picked up by a traditional publisher).

I haven’t tested out these methods myself, but I wondered if Isaac and I could mix a couple of these ideas together.

In this case, we’re thinking of releasing six episodes (chapters) to start with, which should give readers time to get familiar with the characters and the world, but also leaves off at a major turning point for the story. Then, a week later, we’ll start releasing one episode a week until the story is complete.

We already know that we’ll have at least 28 episodes, and since we originally planned on a six month schedule of weekly releases, offering the first six episodes to start with would help keep this plan on track. Not only that, but it would give readers more reassurance that this will be completed, since they can begin to see how the story will progress. As a bonus, leaving off the first week after the sixth episode would give readers a bit more idea of the conflict that our Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel game (which influenced the story) is about.

So now I just need to see if I can get all six episodes edited before the release date. If so, then we may give this method a shot.

If that doesn’t work well, we can always switch it up later.

The main thing is that we’re trying to go for consistency, that way potential readers know what to expect.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. 🙂

Have you found any serialized novels or blog serials that worked well in terms of how they released each segment?

Related Posts:

Thoughts on Writing – What Does A Serial Episode Need? (The Multiverse Chronicles)

Thoughts on Publishing – A Novel or Three Novellas? (The Wishing Blade series)

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Thoughts on Writing – What does a Serial Episode need?

While waiting for the final round of beta comments on Magic’s Stealing (there are a lot of waiting phases… which is why it is really helpful to have another project on hand), I’ve been working on editing The Multiverse Chronicles.

As I’ve said before, The Multiverse Chronicles is a set of short stories written by my husband, which I then revise and edit. Our current goal is to have twenty-four episodes in the first season, which will be released weekly over a period of six months.

There are a few specific challenges associated with this project. While all the episodes must fit together as a whole (and I’m not sure I’d recommend reading them out of order), they each need to stand alone on some level.

The reason is this: Not everyone who might stumble upon the Multiverse blog will read them from the very beginning, and readers who do start from the beginning may miss a week. While each episode stands alone, Isaac and I must decide how much information to remind a reader of in each episode (since we don’t want to remind them that Alia is the bodyguard of Prince Alfons every episode–that would get monotonous very quickly if they’re reading the full season all at once).

So what do I want us to achieve in our upcoming serial blog series?

Each episode needs to be compelling. There needs to be:

  • A strong sense of character, and relationships between characters.
  • Both humor and serious notes… usually involving some bit of quirkiness.
  • A strong sense of world-building.
  • Conflict and/or tension.
  • A reasonable beginning, middle, and end.
  • Something that propels this episode into the next.

With these core elements, I believe each episode has the potential to draw a reader back the next week, or, if they aren’t interested in serial fiction, maybe get them intrigued by the complete volume of season one (which needs to be complete in itself while opening up questions of interest for season two).

Isaac and I intend to have the entire first season written  (at least a rough draft), as well as the first four episodes polished, before releasing the first episode. This way we have a month’s worth of episodes ready to release without worrying about what happens if we run into a snag while polishing a later episode. Of course, I’m hoping we will have the majority of the season polished beforehand, but we’ll see. I’ve also got to continue writing the rough draft of the second book in The Wishing Blade series.

Will this work? Can we successfully imbue each episode with these elements? Will readers enjoy The Multiverse Chronicles?

Hard to say until we start releasing episodes, but if I think that if we keep the above ideas in mind, I’ll have a decent guide to work from as I edit each episode.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Do you have any serial stories that you’ve enjoyed? Are there certain traits of serial fiction that you like or dislike?


Further Reading About Writing Serial Fiction:










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