Thoughts on Writing Serials

Great advice from the master of serials. For me I found that consistency was the hardest thing to keep. I started out with a small buffer, but that vanished very quickly. Wildbow’s commitment to consistency is pretty legendary.

Pig's Pen

At this stage I’m regularly getting emails and reddit PMs asking me questions and I’m giving the same sorts of answers to each.  In the interest of cutting back on the time spent answering those emails, as much as I’d like to personalize each response, I’m thinking I might write it out as a blog post and point people to it.

I’m thinking of writing a web serial.  Do you have any advice?  Any warnings or things you wish you’d known?

Okay, first off, you’ve got to figure out what you’re doing.  I really, really recommend writing yourself a backlog – 12 to 16 chapters you’ve already got done before you start uploading.  I encourage 12 or 16 because it’s what I did, and because I see an awful lot of serials get started and then stop around chapter ten.  Twelve to sixteen is enough that you’re testing yourself and…

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Never Meet Your Heroes?

The Cloud Saint had fascinated me since I was a child dreaming of running away. A man who had walked out on his life, he had a knack for showing up at important events. Or unimportant events which later revealed their significance. A small nudge, terse words in the right ear and he was gone.

I’d tried to follow him once, straight out of education, but I soon discovered why he walked alone. His bare feet set a punishing pace and he ignored comfort. Worst of all was his tongue. A pointed sentence about lack of direction skewered my self-doubt and my leaking ego never recovered. I loved him for it though, the clouds showed him truths as well as the future.

As a child I’d played at following the clouds. Whenever my father was home at lunch I’d stare at the sky looking for direction. I saw an arrow once, before it became a dog, and was out the gate when I heard my mother calling me in to eat. I glanced back, once only, and forgot the way.

Thirty years and a divorce later I tried again. Drove to some wild land and spent a week hiking while watching the sky. Stubbed my toes more times than I would admit in company. My attention was on a cloud that might be a fish when I splashed through a puddle and drenched my foot. I cursed and had removed my boot when the Cloud Saint strode right past me down the track.

“Still a fool.” He said, glancing down. “The clouds show you to a destination. They don’t help you run from one.”

That was two days ago. I’ve been sitting here by the puddle ever since. I think I understand now. I’m ready.


Some people may recognise the Cloud Saint from the Archive of Unusual Events. The actual idea of someone following the clouds is an idea that’s been knocking around my head since I was a teenager. It probably speaks to the little voice we all have that wants to get out and go walkabout every now and again. To save pedants from counting this story is actually 295 words.