This post will clarify that statement, after which I’ll talk more personally about my time travel story.
First, the statement is not saying that you should publish without serious editing. It’s saying that even AFTER doing all your editing, once you have a near PERFECT story - if you pull it out five years later, you’ll need to update everything.
Granted, this will depend a bit on if your story is timeless, or a product of it’s time. If it’s the former, you have more latitude. For instance, if you’re writing a historical drama, or a dystopian future, or a fantasy romance, it might make for good reading whether it’s 1980 or 2015. But even so, consider something like “The Hobbit” - when adapting it for the movies in present day, there needed to be more done with female characters (so I’ve heard, haven’t watched it, geek cred gone). Because an all male cast is the sort of thing society now frowns on. Other big issues along with gender (which is no longer binary!) are race and diversity. What was acceptable even ten years ago might not be acceptable now.
But it’s not only our society. Scott Delahunt wrote a good “Lost in Translation” column about our changing technology. If you’re currently writing a story about teenagers, and they don’t all have cell phones, there should be a REALLY good reason for that. Something that was not an issue fifteen years ago. And looking ahead another ten years, cell phones might date a story as being “very 2010s” because everyone will have wrist phones, or who knows what. And let’s not even start with how pop culture references can horribly date things.
Speaking as a writer, this is a real pain.
Worse, my writing has always trended towards urban fantasy, which leans much more towards being “a product of it’s time” than other genres. Because it includes more present day elements. And while it’s all well and good to invoke an alternate universe, an audience isn’t going to engage with the material if it’s too dated or unfamiliar. So, at what point does a story run past it’s “best before” date for publication? No idea. I’m now shifting gears to look at me, personally.
I have resisted publishing my time travel story online for two key reasons: (1) Once it’s online, there are issues with traditional publishing and/or plagiarism. (2) It’s technically incomplete.
|My characters can stop glaring any time now...|
Also, the writing kind of sucks. Don’t get me wrong, my grammar is great, the characterization is solid, and the ideas are innovative. But the majority of characters are white (Luci, the exception, inadvertently became a stereotypical asian brainchild), the thing takes forever to get going (there’s remarkably little time travel, I’m a character writer) and let’s face it, the whole idea behind DOING writing is that one improves at it over time.
Combine that with the fact that I already revised the whole thing once from 2012-2014 (see this post for more backstory), and you’ll see why I don’t relish doing it again. Besides, if I start publishing 3,000 words every week, right now... it will STILL take over a year and a half to get through. Who knows what else will happen by then?
So. It’s time. Two questions remain:
1. Do I take over my “Choose Your Path” web serial to do it? (After the current arc.) This is my inclination, since putting “Time Trippers” on that site was always kind of the plan. Yet in September, I wanted to write, not publish older material - whereas I now have the option of reviving my math web serial to keep me busy. But is that too jarring? The other option would be putting it onto Wattpad, but I haven’t fully investigated there yet. Or should I do both?
2. How big should a part be? My first season is a full 22 episodes, verging on 7,000 words each, WAY too much for a week of reading. The easiest thing to do is chop them in half (where I used to have commercial break cliffhangers), but the easiest thing isn’t necessarily the right thing. Would 1,500 words twice a week be better? For that matter, how often/when should I update? I was thinking only on Fridays.
I welcome your thoughts!! As before, I’m a writer regardless, but I feel better bringing joy to others, as opposed to wasting your time. To that end, your input is invaluable. Thanks for reading this much!