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The End

November 19, 2013

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:

Peer (Fantasy)

Body Boil (Biopunk)

Face (Thriller)

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.

Worm, Publication

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.

So.  Yeah.

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.

From → N02

158 Comments
  1. Smiley permalink

    This has been an adventure and when you edit please leave this work alone. As in worm 1st edition post or publish edited. This has been a superb first book :) Thank you

  2. Marcel permalink

    > juncture

    No.

    No.

    Stop using that word. It grates.

    Seriously, search the story for it. You use it too much.

    • At this juncture, I have to disagree.

      • Also, where did you get the words “ineffectual” and “instinctual” from? Is this from a dialect of English I haven’t heard of? It’s always been “ineffective” and “instinctive” to me, the latter even in biology textbooks.
        What about “copacetic”? It’s an uncommon word that is used more in Worm than it is in reality.

  3. Valjan permalink

    This was absolutely amazing. A friend got me started by describing the endbringers and it’s been a hell of a ride these past four months of binge reading. Thank you for creating what is quite possibly my favorite tale to have been conceived, I look forward to the sequel and I’m going to keep an eye on these possible next works.

  4. Epic Reader permalink

    As I didn’t see comments to the contrary, I’ll continue with Open Questions – these are a handful of open questions above and beyond the fairly obvious ‘Hey, after we killed Scion, when some people get powers, they’re destroyed by them… that’s new’ with the possible answer that those were shards Scion kept to itself, without any safeguards, and/or those are shards attaching to unsuitable hosts. To quote Interlude 29: ‘Then she turned her attention to the next step, and it dawned on her just how they would be amassing this army. She thought of the monsters that had torn her parents apart, the infection that had ravaged her community and home. Stray bits of the godling had done that to them. It had killed people, turned others into monsters, drove yet others mad.’ – this appears to be at least superficially similar to what’s happening now, so Contessa should be able to recognize it, and provide information, if she chooses.

    The shards obviously have logic/processing capability of some sort… do they have wants? If so, what do they want?

    The in-universe folks need to figure out shard breeding/splitting/etc.

    What are the long-term, scores of thousands of steps victory conditions is Contessa working towards now? To quote Interlude 29 again: ‘”How- how would we stop any powerful monster?” “Weapons? An army?” the woman suggested. One hundred and forty-three thousand, two hundred and twenty steps. It was doable.’ Or is she actually just on vacation, with a victory condition of ‘

    What do the Endbringers want, now that Eidolon and Scion are both dead? More precisely, now that everyone – Endbringer and parahuman both – knows about multiple worlds, what do the Endbringers want? They used to attack places, only on Earth Bet, on a fairly rigid timeline based on their number – no real apparent communication was made until Weaver decided to ask Tattletale to talk to the Simurgh… which worked! Now everyone (including the Endbringers themselves) _also_ knows that Endbringers can be communicated with in a meaningful fashion. Would they be happy to be given an Earth to rule/flatten/whatever? Would they want different Earths, or a set of them?

    What does the Simurgh want? She’s either very influential with her brothers and sisters, or she’s the leader… she’s the only one known to have communicated in words, and she’s the only one suspected of laying long-term plans. She also did the very strange actions with the tube (that Lung boiled), playing for the cameras/observers, etc. I have to assume that Lung boiling the tube was what she intended/foresaw; whether that temperature increase/power influx was necessary to create something, or whether it was to be a public excuse to hunt down Lung and/or Teacher (his employer) herself for some reason, no-one can be sure except the Simurgh.

    Are all Scion-fight parahumans tainted by the Simurgh now? If so, what was her goal, and what will the actual effects be?

    Yes, I like the Simurgh. I also have to assume she can cross dimensional barriers on her own now – she was near too many tinkers for too long.

    What about the third entity?

    Is Legend ever going to actually try interstellar travel?

    Who is going to realize that where there were (at least) two Entities, there are almost certainly more? Scion’s form and actions ‘as a hero’ should be enough for people (Tattletale) to guess their plan of enforced warfare and division… but they do need to plan for the next set to show up, in tens, hundreds, thousands, or millions of years. They don’t know it, but they may be one of the Cosmic All’s only hopes, since entities try to avoid hitting the same worlds.

    The end of the universe is still on schedule – there are lots of Entities out there, and when they finish with all the variations of a world (always inhabited), they destroy it. I have to assume they’re destroying habitable worlds faster than new habitable worlds form, so the end of “everything” is, in fact, almost on schedule, minus a slight delay as one single, solitary Entity team is no longer doing its part.

    The cardinal rule of Worm appears to be: it never gets better. They’ve taken down two Entities on their own dimensional planetset… now the rest of the universe awaits.

    Regrettably, I’ve misplaced my notes, so I’m sure I’m forgetting some important questions.

  5. Michael permalink

    Have you considered publishing the books in print one by one instead of all at once? I would imagine it would make the editing process faster (or at least let you start publishing sooner) and would very likely increase your readership along the way.

  6. Kimchi permalink

    A huge thank you for this adventure Wildbow! Before I started reading Worm, I’d been feeling the inspiration fleeing me for quite a time and lost confidence in my creativity (I write and sing songs). Your example really got me back into it, showing commitment and passion. You did an amazing job and I enjoyed every line of it.

    I truly wish you all the best for your future works and I’ll contribute as soon as I’m back afloat.

    Cheers from France!

  7. PaulPaulJones permalink

    2 weeks of the best reading I’ve had in a long time.
    Thanks for not leaving too many loose ends, yet enough space to make a sequel not only possible, but demandable. ;-)

    As for the start being “OK”, the middle being “great”, and the ending being in debate, I think it actually works pretty well. After all, we are following the arc of a young girls life as she grows and matures into a young woman..

    I’ll keep an eye out over the next few years, you’ve got at least one dead tree sale here.

    Last, but not least, Thanks for an awesome story!

    • Thanks. Be sure to send the email to subscribe for an email heads up when the published version gets out there. I’ve already started my next story, though it’s in early stages right now.

  8. HashManz permalink

    Awesome story. Left me in a daze for 2 weeks of sleepless nights. I would definitely keep this page forever bookmarked and Can’t wait for the sequel!

  9. thomas permalink

    I dig it. Found it nearly a year ago, didn’t touch it until the new year, read it this month (and wow did it fulfill my quota of reading for the month and then some).

    Have to say, excellent. 9/10, would recommend to friends.

    The only thing I would say, not a critique, but a thinly-veiled request: instead of rewriting the time skip, would it be worth the time to explore, interlude-style, the attempts of Taylor’s friends, allies, enemies, and father to come to terms with what she is, what she was, and what she tries so hard to convince herself she wishes to become? I can’t help but imagine her father watching “We Need To Talk About Kevin” with one of his too-insensitive friends from work and having a full-blown panic attack, drinking and crying and cutting included, from the horror-story self-blame he must be suffering. What does Danny Hebert’s famous temper do to himself when he sees what his broken little angel has done, has become? How does he make peace with that, with her, with the empty space in his bed that reminds him that he’s only half the family and a tiny fraction of the father that his monstrous, beautiful, terrifying, stubborn, vicious, loving daughter should have had?

    I can’t complain, if I never see that interlude I’ll still love the story. Excellently done. Here’s to the future, and your career. Cheers!

  10. Ethan permalink

    this has been, a hell of a thing.

    if this gets published, i’mma buy it.

    i hope it (and the “polished” version?) stay online (somehow, after reading so many e-books, dead tree format is really hard to get back into)

    that said, i have to agree about the timeskip needing a little more easing into, and I couldn’t say no to more interludes.

    what about faultline? her crew is some really fleshed out characters, but we only have a bare handful of chapters focusing on them.

    I mean, did we ever actually see them meeting Diana? (I suspect they recruited her because precogs mess with each-other, and Fortuna wrecked them pretty heavily the first time they crossed her, but it’s never actually spelled out.)

    so yeah, more Faultline’s Crew, more Imp and the Heartbroken, more Weaver and the Wards.

    basically, I want more more more.

    is anyone surprised? you shouldn’t be, this is pure gold.

    that said, my favourite part of the story (and it seems like Taylor’s favourite part too) was the early “Villain in the Bay” section,

    even weaver admitted that she preferred it there, and that it wasn’t worth leaving to join the heroes, in the end.

    granted, I might not have had such a strong reaction to it if the timeskip had been a little more…gentle.

  11. fred permalink

    I realize my comment is somewhat late to the party, but worm was really good and you should feel really good.

  12. Best written story I’ve ever read. Agree with public option about the ok start, great middle and controversial ending (my head started to hurt somewhere around 27) BUT I HAVE A HUGE QUESTION: WHO AND WHAT IS SLEEPER I am sorry for the lack of coherent thought it is almost 3am and I need to sleep thanks and bye and thanks for writing this amazing amazing amazing piece of work

  13. Oh dear I’m not sure if I pressed the email option thingy

  14. Carassus permalink

    I had the chance to read all in one go …
    You are amazing. Your story is amazing.
    Thank you, a lot. I’m not an English native and I swear that reading through all this had been one of the best experience for me (in improving my English) and I was able to do it so fast (like a few months) because it was really pleasant :)
    I don’t know if you will read this but I wanted to say it anyway :D

  15. Dusha permalink

    Great thanks for this story.

    I start reading in December 2013 and finish only today (English isn’t native for me, as you can see from this comment). The Worm wasn’t a serial for me, but an EPIC saga. Took away 2 months of my life, and it was great. Few nights I can’t sleep for hours, wondering what will go next. Thanks again!

    I’m wondering – what is a reason for Siberian to have such name? (I live in Siberia, so I’m essentially Siberian too).

    Also, my favorite small story is Pariah/Foil line, and I’d be glad to read more about them.
    And why didn’t they make a memorial for Taylor? They make golden badges for every criminal who were forced to fight, and no memorial for girl who actually saved the world? by sacrificing everything she have…
    How much should I donate for few hundreds words about memorial in any upcoming bonus stories?

    If you want something for your future editing, I can state 2 thnings:

    · In the first 10-15 arc, fighting takes too much spotlight. I understood that violence is in cape’s nature but problem with those fights that there are too detailed, and looks like turn-based (as in computer or D&D games): Enemy attacks, Skitter evades. Next turn. Skitter attacks, Enemy evades. Next turn, and it became worse during massive battles.
    · In some arcs you start using new word, and every character uses this word, regardless of their style of conversation. After several chapters, the word fades and new strange word rises. (I note this thing because I was forced to use a dictionary for some of this words J.

    I’m a real fan of this story, and would look for other your writings (after a small pause).

  16. Azreal permalink

    That was a wild ride. I read this story in just about every weekday bit of spare time I had in the last two weeks. My head’s spinning when I think about how many hours it ended up taking.

    Thanks for everything! It was great. :)

  17. Bryceroni permalink

    The only problem I really had with Worm was the fact that you ALWAYS used anyways. With an S. Anyways is not a word. Even the most intelligent and proper characters in the story used it. I don’t mind its use every once in a while, like when Imp or Tattletale use it, but you should replace Coil and Accord’s uses of the word at least, as they seem the most likely to care about that sort of thing to me.

    This IS my only complaint, though :) Everything else was fantastically written and I look forward to a sequel. Good luck and thank you for this brilliant story.

  18. TAG permalink

    It’s over! Now there’s nothing to do. I’m -pissed-.

    Okay I seriously love you but you say “pissed” to often in writing. It’s like a silent joke to myself now. (No one else understands)

  19. Zarkloyd permalink

    Wow. I have to say, this is one of the best things I’ve read in a long while. I discovered it almost exactly three weeks ago, and have not put it down since. I’m seriously going to have to find somethino else to do with my time. I absolutely can’t wait to see where this story goes in the future, and will be recommending it to anyone and everyone I can.

  20. svennemean permalink

    Oh man… I’ve been binge reading this series. It took about a month to read all of it and I loved it. You have a great story here with a epic proportioned gray scale is hard to use when dealing with superhumans/mutants or as aptly as you named them “capes”. My sincere thanks for leaving this awsome adventure for us to read.

  21. starspawn permalink

    Hi, I’ve finally finished reading Worm. It’s been a wonderful ride.
    As a former editor I understand fully when you say that editing will be a tedious process.
    So please remember to rest and exercise well. No need to rush through writing/editing.
    When your mind and body is strong, so is your work ;)
    All the best for your current and future endeavours!

    I will start reading Pact when I am free again.
    And this time, I will be following the story and giving suggestions just like most readers. :)

  22. Lena permalink

    Hey Wildbow!
    If you are ever gonna go back and have to fill something in or add an interlude for whatever reason, I’d really like to see what Panacea ended up doing to get the respect from the whole Birdcage! Or maybe if you do Worm 2, you could refer to it through her or another former inmate. Out of all the the characters who could be more expanded on, I think she had the most potential. We never got to see how powerful Amy could be and if Taylor could expand her power as much as she did, Panacea could be unstoppable. Showing Amy develop further in Worm 2 would be awesome, just saying! Ironically, she’s one of the personalities who annoyed me the most in the beginning but at the same time I knew she was acting how most normal people would act. She might have been the most realistic personality. Another thing I’d really want to see is of course Tattletale (the remaining Undersiders too, goes without saying). I’ve gotten a bunch of friends into Worm and almost everyone’s favorite is Tattle :)

  23. Lena permalink

    Also, you mention Sleeper–an S class threat. You never explain what he does or introduce him. I’m very very curious about this. Maybe make a post about it if enough people have asked or include him in Worm 2??

    • You have to be careful not to explain too much, or you lose the sense of ‘mythic depth’ and there being a real complex world. Explaining everything becomes tedious. It’s like being shown the back of a stage, where you can see the unfinished sides of props and facades. Sleeper is better left unexplained, no matter how many times he’s mentioned, to the point where it’s almost hilarious that at the end, Weaver goes ‘nope, I guess I’ll just leave him alone [without explaining any further]‘.

  24. Rien permalink

    I’m several years too late but 10/10 FANTASTIC story, you rock. Seriously.

  25. Apropos permalink

    As others have said: Wow.

    This is a spectacular piece of work and I keep recommending it to all of my friends who read sci-fi. I have enjoyed every moment with Taylor and the rest of the cast. They grabbed my imagination and my emotions as if they were my friends. I’m super excited to read Worm 2 when it comes out, and I am fairly interested in Pact (though I might need a little break from your writing, Wildblow)

    I hope you get a big break and become rich and famous. That way, people will know what the hell I’m talking about when I tell them about your work. I’m rambling, but that’s because you’re awesome. So keep up the good work!

  26. I just finished the entire thing. It took me about 2 and a half weeks to read, so I guess that was about a year of writing per week. I only have to say, that was incredible. Thank you so much for writing it. I am going to leave you a big donation, in the hope that it will make editing the second draft easier.

  27. Absoul permalink

    Every now and then I find myself trawling through all of my bookmarked pages on my web browser, removing the ones I no longer need. Being that I don’t use bookmarks a lot, I find that I often remember every site on that list to some degree.

    When I found a page that had been saved on August 11th 2012, titled ‘worm’ (Yes, non-caps ‘w’ as well. Sue me) I was rather surprised, because I had no idea why I would have saved a link to a site about worms. So I clicked on the link to take a look.

    That was ten days ago, and, barring 6 hours of sleep each night and six six-hour schooldays, I’ve been reading non-stop.

    Sheesh, this stuff is amazing. I can not believe how awesome this stuff is. I didn’t like the ending, but then again, I always have preferred the happy endings.

    Either way, I can’t wait to get started on Pact.

    Keep up the great work, Wildbow

  28. Monica permalink

    Took me about 6 months, but I’ve finally finished this fantastic story. Some of the most well developed and intriguing characters I’ve ever read. You definitely have an incredible talent!

  29. Aurora permalink

    I loved this SO much, it was such an adventure, and a rollercoaster. I would say ‘that escalated quickly’ but it DIDN’T, it was just so awesome and amazing that I was hooked from beggining to end. I am completely copacetic ( love it! Its like their team word!) and happy, and will look forward to the published version, and any sequels.

    Much love ~ Aurora

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