Note: I went ahead and started Pact. Click the link to visit the next story.
Fade to black. Roll credits.
Alright, that sounds pretty damn pretentious. But Worm is over. It’s been in motion for two and a half years, two updates a week. Readers have joined, hopping on from forums, wiki-walking their way in from TV tropes, getting recommendations from other authors. For most, for many, reading Worm became something of a routine. As serials go, there’s been a lot of material released at a fast pace.
For me, well, I’m a little spooked at the idea of what happens when you’re at the helm of something like this and it stops.
This isn’t about me, though. There’s room for talking about that later. It’s about you, the reader, and the continuation of the reading experience, and it’s about Worm, and the continuation of that.
The Reading Experience
The Tuesday-Sat Schedule continues. I went into this in the FAQ, but not many read that, and the plan has changed just a smidge.
For the coming few weeks, I’ll be previewing the works I’m thinking about writing. I listed a wad in Worm’s FAQ, and I’ve pared down the list to the ones I feel most confident about. Keeping in mind these are placeholder titles, the stories are:
Body Boil (Biopunk)
Pact (Horror/Modern Supernatural)
With 1-3 chapters previewed of each (I’m aiming for 2, but will go for 3 if pacing demands it, and will stop at 1 if the reaction is negative enough), I can expect to wrap up around the New Year. If it’s required, I’ll take an update day to get the site for the new story set up. For the most part, however, I want to keep to my schedule (acknowledging the family difficulties that make writing hardest around Christmas). It’s just how I function best.
Stories will be previewed here, to keep Worm sacrosanct and unpolluted. The next story will be set up on a different site altogether, once it gets underway.
Pay attention to this blog to see the previews.
So let me start out by saying I have no idea what happens in the coming few weeks. This is subject to change. This is a beast of a thing, really, considering Worm is ~22 conventional books in length and the degree of support/involvement from outside parties can really determine how this might go.
To put it succinctly, there are a few hurdles here.
Editing is the big one. I’ve never done anything like this, so I hesitate to make promises. This is all estimation.
I’m estimating that Worm will take two and a half years to edit. That’s perhaps a little conservative. I know how much free time I have, I know I want to keep writing instead of stopping to go back and fix stuff up (people who’ve read about why I started serializing in the first place may understand this), and I know from being in a writer’s circle roughly how long editing takes me. I did editing for the first third of a circle-member’s book, and it’s surprising just how difficult it can be. I’m a fast reader and a prolific writer, but editing is a different beast altogether.
Two years and six months, but that will change depending on the amount of free time I have. I don’t want this to sound manipulative or greedy, because I don’t think I am manipulative or greedy like that… I’m more interested in putting all of the cards on the table; the amount of donations I have received and will receive will affect how long it takes to get a published version of Worm out there, because it makes the difference in my being able to write and my having to go find/do work in another job (and consequently having less days to write).
The estimate presumes I can find roughly two days a week to go over old material, to read comments and refresh myself on what people thought, find typos I missed, restructure and rewrite. I would be aiming for roughly an arc a month. That’s on top of 2-3 days a week spent on the actual writing.
There are three major areas where I feel like I want to rewrite and restructure in a major way, and there are a few underlying problems I want to fix.
- The Timeskip – I’m thinking I’ll rewrite it wholesale. Events will remain the same, but Taylor’s story really demands more focus on this point in time. The fundamental problem with the story arc was that we jumped ahead 1.5 years and it was rushed. It was jarring due to the switch from a day-to-day focus to skipping months and weeks over the course of six or so chapters. I’m thinking I’ll break it up into two new arcs. One would likely consist of interludes (many of the same events of Taylor’s story, from the perspective of her teammates/superiors), to help the timeskip segue. More involvement with her new team, and more focus on her and her changes (or lack of change). This would mandate some time being set aside to put the new chapters together.
- The Beginning – I was a different author when I started Worm, with less experience and knowledge. Worm is widely seen as having an ‘ok’ start and a ‘great’ middle (and end? Feedback is mixed on that). I want to pick up the pace and address some of the issues people have had where they got turned off very early on.
- The Bumps - Writing a serial, you have good days and bad. A few bad days in a row, and you get a piece of the story that you look back on and you cringe. I won’t get too into this here, but there are chapters people have grumbled about, ones they didn’t think were as good as they could’ve been. I’m hoping to redo these things.
- Outside of the topic of individual chapters/arcs that didn’t ‘take’, I’m hoping to reconcile the tempo of the story. Too much happens in too short a span of time, and I’d like to make it so that the story covers a wider span of time without breaking up the events or the tension. If that makes the story a bit longer, maybe I can cut out redundant stuff to compensate. If it allows for just a bit more time focused on Taylor’s time in Brockton Bay, just before she leaves, then that isn’t bad either – I’d like to explore that just a little bit more.
There’s a lot to do. Worm is first-draft stuff, and thinking I can get away with only a second draft may be reckless. I’d rather do it right than do it fast.
If there’s interest, I’d be open to play-by-plays; using this blog, perhaps, to reopen discussion on a particular arc, revisit it with fans and discuss the weak points and strong points, so I don’t lose sight of the core of it. I can’t promise to show off the polished chapters as they go up, but if people want to get involved, I can show snippets to those individuals to get feedback on the rewrites.
Beyond the editing, there are other questions in terms of where to end books (which is sort of editing) and in terms of finances (which isn’t). On the former front, I have ideas, but that’s a tricky thing to hammer out. On the latter, it comes down to reader support, outside parties and possibly kickstarters to get stuff going.
There will, barring exceptional circumstance, be an ebook.
Print books are harder, in the order of tens of thousands of dollars to get stuff going. But I had ten thousand readers at Worm’s peak , roughly, so perhaps that’s doable.
A special limited-edition run is, if enough interest is shown, very possible.
Worm, Follow-up Works
I’m hoping and planning to do a Worm sequel down the road. I can’t say much more than that. I want to take a break from it, so the original Worm can have an end, and so the sequel can have a beginning. Too close together, and they start to blend into one another.
That said, it’s very possible that I could offer bonus material, side stories and chapters, depending on what happens with the next book(s) I write. Feedback matters, here.
I can’t say much more than that at this point, because that’s about all I know.
Staying in Touch
With that, we’ve pretty much covered the bases. Maybe you won’t like the genre or focus of the next work. Maybe you were dissatisfied at the end, and you were just holding out until the last chapter to be able to say you finished it. Hopefully that isn’t the case.
I’m spooked at the idea that some of my readers are going to walk away, and my next story won’t have quite the same number. I accept it, though, and I can only do my best and hope that I keep getting support and recommendations. Thank you, to my critics and fans alike, for sticking with the story this far.
If you do want to keep following along, then that starts with checking out the sample chapters. Thank you, and I look forward to seeing you in the comment section.
If you don’t aim to keep following my work, but you remain interested in what happens with Worm, note the subject line below and email me at Wildbowpig [at] gmail [dot] com, filling in the symbol & punctuation mark appropriately. (I have to write it that way to help confuse the bots that trawl WordPress for emails to spam).
Include the subject line ‘WormSequelNews’ (all one word) if you want to be notified when things are underway with the sequel.
Include the subject line ‘WormPublishNews’ (all one word) if you want to be emailed when the ebook/print books are out, for kickstarters or anything of the sort.
Include the subject line ‘WormNews’ (again, one word) for both.
I’ll also have any news and updates on this blog and in the comments of my new stories.
End of an era, it feels like.
I can’t think of a graceful way to wrap this up, so let me say thank you. Thank you for your support. Thank you for reading. I never could’ve done this without you.