Thursday, 6 February 2014

The Deadlands: Episode 1 Complete & Thoughts

It's been quite a while since my last blog post. At the end of December, I think, I posted about uploading a serialised story to Wattpad, called The Deadlands, for people to read for free. It's post-apocalyptic.

A few days ago, I finished the first episode and uploaded it. The episode itself, if I've done my job right, should offer a satisfying narrative while also making you want to read more because of dangling threads, much like a television show's episode. It's about 6,500 words long, which means it's nearly double the length of my longest short story that's published. With just the first episode, it's approaching novelette length.

So, what are my thoughts on Wattpad and how has it gone?

Firstly, I want to stress that I self-edit and have no beta readers. So, I have to rely on my gut and my own judgement.

Thus far, there's been one negative comment about the opening not being hook'ish enough, but that was prompted by me saying that I realised it wasn't. It made the person read it and comment, confirming my belief. Since then, I've tweaked it as much as I could in accordance with the feedback because once a serial story is uploaded, you can't really tweak the content. Just make minor changes here and there that doesn't change the story for published parts. Regardless, I've had no more feedback since then about the beginning.

The other feedback I've received has been positive, with the exception of the odd typo pointed out. The prose is tight and concise, dialog is well done and that the story is good. Maybe one or two comments have said it's not perfect (how many stories are, especially when they're not finished and they probably still have editing to do), but it's still pretty good. The style has been compared to James Patterson's writing too (I'll cover this further down, so don't think I'm tooting my own horn).

But this also leads me to my own thoughts on the story, Wattpad and my fiction writing in general. I think it has the potential to be quite good and moving when it comes to the ending I currently have in mind and you'll find that I've already placed the seeds for events to come later, so I don't think it's bad by any means. Quite the opposite.

The thing is, where Patterson is concerned, his books aren't for everyone and this is partly due to the short scenes (meaning there isn't a meaty read). Something which I employ myself. Ten scenes/chapters in 6,500 words. So, my writing might very well not be for everyone as it's pretty much a part of my writing style when it comes to using no more words than is necessary. I guess my goal is to try and tell a story that has no lulls or very few. A type of story where you get, and I'm just throwing an inaccurate number out there, a 100,000+ words of story condensed into a 40,000+ words story. You know, have it be epic, feature plenty of events, but just keep it fast paced without any unnecessary words? That said, I know that I want to try and add in a bit more description, particularly when it comes to part four (scenes 8 - 10).

So, Wattpad in general and me . . . I'm not exactly finding readers, aside from writer friends and the fans I've picked up. It's free yet there are no readers and this is likely due to my lack of socialising/social skill I guess, but I have the viewpoint that even if I commented on a lot of others' work, they wouldn't do the same for me or that any comments received might be insincere in order to keep me reading their work. So, Wattpad hasn't exactly been a success for me. With a hundred and fifty reads too, with 12 votes, I'm wondering why more people aren't voting, especially considering the positive feedback I've received, unless most of the views have come from non-Wattpad members (they can't vote, and voting helps visibility). So, my point being on this is that I don't know if it's just my friends that are enjoying it (though, comments have come from a non-friend too) and such. Without negative feedback or more response, especially with doing everything myself, it's hard to know where I'm going wrong anyway, unless I have no room for improvement, which I doubt. Again though, I can't see the short scene style I have changing even if it's hated.

Now, because of the lack of sales for my short stories (which is understandable because they are short stories and I am unknown), coupled with not finding many readers for The Deadlands, I think I'm going to have to divert my focus from fiction to non-fiction writing for the web in order to generate a passive income, which'll allow me to focus on fiction again later. Basically, there's no promise of sales and I can't really focus all of my attention on The Deadlands with thinking there will be none. If I was getting even one sale a month with the short stories, it'd be different, but I'm not.

So, all of this is to say I'm still going be continuing The Deadlands, but expect the updates to be slow in coming and I have no release schedule. If you do read it or Gus, which is also free for now on Wattpad, and enjoy the reads, please do pass on a good word. Readers have a lot of power when it comes to helping authors get noticed.

Also, I do appreciate everyone who has left feedback or bought a story of mine. It means a lot to me.