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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

  1. Bret Bemis permalink

    Well. Here I was thinking that I’d have nothing good to read until Winds of winter came out.

    The past month has been an improvement for me and a lot of that is because I could whip my phone out at any time and keep reading Worm. I have DEVOURED this story, it’s everything I could have hoped for in a web serial about superheroes. Thank you so much for writing this. I’m going to be reading the rest of your works as well, and I am now SUPER hyped for glow worm.
    Props to you, wildbow. You actually got my attention when no one else beside GRRM could.

  2. Ruan Mello permalink

    So, I finally finished Worm. What a story! It’s hard to truly say how I feel because I’m not a native speaker, but the of Taylor reached me and I’m very thankful for this.

    Your Characters, the world you built, each Arc diferent from the other, the powers, you are one of my favorite authors EVER.

    I’ll never forget the thrill of the battle with Leviathan, the Horrible feeling of despair when I was seeing the works of Bonesaw, or the good times when Taylor always had a trumpcard. You are very much appreciated.

  3. Sicksemper permalink

    Wow. Just finished, my face is salty with tears, and I’m looking forward to getting into to the prequel to Ward and reading the first chapter. However, I really wanted to leave my thoughts first. Granted, these are thoughts as I’ve just finished so who knows how much merit is in them.

    1. I loved this series. It was by far one of the most in-depth, satisfying, and mature series I’ve ever read. Thank you for the experience.
    2. I don’t think you should rewrite beyond fixing typos. While I can definitely tell you got older and became a more experienced writer as the series went on, I think it would compromise the integrity of the story if you went back. It would be hard to objectively change things and see how it’ll affect the way it reads. As you said, you were a different writer back then, and I think that’s all the more reason to keep the story as is.
    3. One of the most frustrating things in reading this series was encountering an interlude after a really intense chapter and I just wanted to keep reading. But this is a good frustration!! It helps to motivate the reader to keep going.
    4. I love your characterization, specifically of women and people of color. You created real and authentic characters. I felt very attached to them and related to them on an emotional level.
    5. I would say the only characterization I didn’t quite like was Alec’s. Through the story, he was a sociopath, and it didnt sit well on me that he sacrificed himself for Aisha. I just didn’t really see it happening for him, that kind of selflessness. I would understand more if he had given up and figured he could use his death to save her, but I didn’t get that impression. It honestly seemed more like you tried to get rid of the most useless member of the Undersiders more than you were trying to craft a noble sacrifice.
    6. The whole concept of how the powers were made and how they come to be was very well developed. I appreciated that there was the division between Cauldron capes and non-cauldron capes. I also appreciated that those who undergo intense trauma to get their powers are more likely to be villains. I also love that you included things like drug addicts getting powers and white supremacists getting powers. It was realistic.
    7. While trying to not be like authors like J.K. Rowling who shove post series content down their fans’ throats, I would love more interludes. I have so many questions. How did Jack Slash trigger? Regent? Defiant? Imp? What were the skirmishes before Skitter’s appearance?
    8. Personally, I hated what happened to Dragon. I hated that Defiant tried to fix her by essentially deleting who she was. It felt like murder. Of course, it seems like Dragon wanted this, but I was uncomfortable with that entire chapter. Definitely don’t change it; I think it fits with Defiant and his relationship with Dragon.
    9. I love how you ended Taylor’s story. I love that she doesn’t have a lot of resolution because how on earth could someone who’s been through so much trauma reach peace so soon? I also like she’s far away from the situation. I don’t want her to be a main or supporting character in the next series, and I like that you ended it with her staying with her dad in a mostly stable reality. I really want to know why Contessa decided to let her live, but I’m sure that’ll become clear at some point. It hurts my heart that everyone excluding her dad thinks she’s dead but this is for the best. Her friends would try to get her if they knew she was alive, and I don’t think that would be the best use of her legacy.

    Again, beautiful, gripping, story. Thank you.

  4. Jeb S. permalink

    All done. Eleven days ago, looking for an e-book copy of a book I lost, hungry for something new to read, I stumbled upon this. For the past eleven days, I did effectively no productive work whatsoever. Now I’m free, and I feel empty as hell inside. I know I’m years late, but dude: you write a damn good story.

  5. Adrian permalink

    Feels like I missed out on the beginning. I’m kinda triggered about that (heh) but good thing I found this god tier story. Interlude 27b best interlude.

  6. DecieverOfCanadians permalink

    This is a damn masterpiece, a work of fiction on the level of A Song of Ice and Fire, the Lord of the Rings, and here we see an author on the scale of Martin, King and Tolkien, with a skill for characterisation and worldbuilding I have not seen in all my years of reading, bar perhaps Tolkien.

    It boggles the mind that this work is not more well known. When grim superhero settings are discussed, this should be the defining piece of litterature, with scenes more vivid, gritty and intuitive than any comic book I have ever read, with characters who come to life, who change over time like real people.

    My congratulations, Wildbow, for you have made something special. I urge you to continue writing in this Wormverse, because you deserve great recognition for your toils. I bow to you, sir, and hope to see more of your work in the future.

  7. Evan Holler permalink

    This has been an awesome reading experience for me. I’ve read it over a week or so staying up till 3 am to read more, and it was amazing! Thank you so much for writing this!

  8. T. H. permalink

    A random recommendation, and I got more enjoyment out of this read than I have most other novels than I have ever read in over 30 years. Bravo, bravo, and thank you for making such a rich universe with engaging characters. I cannot believe it took me until 2018 to hear of this.

  9. Yeahboii permalink

    Just finished and man what a ride honestly i have never read a book before a friend recommended this I thought to my self belch reading no way I’ll enjoy this but I decided to give it a go I’m so glad I did I loved it around 7.0 started to used text to speech and listed to it cause I’m a painfully slow reader and loose my place ever 2 lines xD I would listen to 1-2 sometimes more arch’s at a time love ya work

  10. Thanks for writing thos awesome story!

  11. Jacob Craft permalink

    This was simply amazing. Although the beginning was just a bit better, the ending was very satisfying. The one and only complaint I have was I felt the final arc with Jack was rushed a lot, and Gollum was just a bit lacking in character. He just sorta felt boring. Despite the fact he was the son of a villain and white supremacist he never suffered any kind of predijuce or anything. But overall, this is probably the most well crafted book online I have found in a LONG time. I am definitely reading your other books

  12. Jacob VanValkenburg permalink

    I’ve read emotional roller coasters before, and this was not it. Worm was a 22 novel-length heart attack, and I loved every chapter of it. I was looking forward to reading it the second time around before I finished reading it through the first time. The technical part about powers, combat, and coming up with more and more creative ways for Taylor to solve conflicts with bugs while still maintaining the same limitations from the beginning was perfect and yet the smallest part of the masterpiece. I can’t say how may superhero stories I’ve seen or read, but out of all of them, but none of them felt as human as Taylor did. You didn’t just tell me what the characters were feeling, you made me feel it. I honestly would lay awake at night suffering from chest-clenching anxiety thinking about your story, and it was amazing.

    My favorite parts of this epic masterpiece were:

    Skitter in the hospital after the Leviathan attack. That was brutal. No reward, no celebration, just the act of pulling the proverbial rug out from under me and showing that no matter what, everything can always get worse.

    Dinah’s rescue. Man, that was a major arc that had building up since arc three, and it actually concluded in a heart warming way instead of as a tear jerking way. Thanks, I needed that.

    Regent taking control of Shadow Stalker. Up to that point, Regent had just been a background character that I felt you never bothered to flesh out, but there he shined in a way that was both awesome and terrifying that only sociopathic protagonists can.

    Taylor’s final confrontation with Emma. The cape stuff is great, but to borrow the Hero’s Journey cycle, that’s the Other World, while Taylor dealing with high school bullies is Real World. The Real World is brutal while the Other World is frivolous, but your story shines its brightest where the two worlds interact, like when Taylor views cape problems through the lens of her past emotional abuse, or when, in this case, Taylor takes the confidence she gained from being the greatest super villain in Brockton Bay and uses it to face down her Real World Nemesis.

    The Cafeteria scene in the same arc. There are no words for that. It was awesome.

    The part where Alexandria died. Oh man, if Taylor isn’t the poster girl for Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, then the tropes page is doing it wrong. Make her cry by killing her friends? Invulnerability will not save you.

    The final battle. Heroic sacrifices should not be that brutally tragic. Giving up your life to save the world is one thing, but giving up your humanity? Forgetting every one you’re trying to save until you can’t even remember what your fighting for in the first place? Let me tell you, I hated that ending so much, and I loved hating it so much I was kind of disappointed when Taylor turned out to be alive.

    Anyway, I’m still going to write a worm fanfic as a tribute to this thing of beauty you have, if only for an excuse to reread my favorite parts. Thanks for writing this.

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