I told myself I wasn’t going to start a blog for this site. I’ve started blogs before and I usually end updating them twice and never looking at them again. But enough people have asked me about this project that I figured I’d put together an introduction post at least to explain a little about why I chose this medium and why I’m publishing Into the Mire the way I am.
So why a web serial? Why publish Into the Mire as web fiction rather than writing it and publishing it all in one go on say Amazon? Or why not publish it on a site like Wattpad with an inbuilt audience and rating system?
The characters and world behind Into the Mire have been kicking around in my head a long time. Riss as a character sprung from a short story idea I was working on a few years ago, but I decided that the background I was writing in my head took up more space than a short story had to offer.
I’m no stranger to longer works, having professionally ghostwritten a number of novels now. I’ve also completed NaNoWriMo twice and completed two unpublished novels that I keep telling myself I’ll edit and shop around one day. So when my scattered story ideas started coalescing into something that more closely resembled a novel, I wasn’t ever worried about whether I’d be able to finish it.
I was more worried about when I’d ever start it.
The problem with being a professional writer in any capacity is that client work tends to take precedence over passion projects. I can’t speak for everyone, but on a personal level, I tend to feel guilty working on personal projects when I have paying work waiting to be completed. Plus there’s that whole thing where I like being able to buy groceries and pay the electric bill.
While outlining the book that would eventually become Into the Mire, I kept telling myself I’d start working on it when I could. “Could” was nebulous and ill-defined. Sometimes it meant when my arthritis wasn’t acting up. Sometimes it meant when I didn’t have a bunch of client work on the backburner. Sometimes it meant when I was feeling a little less overworked.
When working on a ghostwriting project, I’m capable of sitting down and churning out a book in about a month or less. My first NaNoWriMo project clocked in at 88,000 words and was written before the deadline expired. My most recent ghostwritten novel clocked in at 74,000 words written in about 30 days. So when I envisioned myself writing Into the Mire I envisioned myself taking a month off from all other work and then just sitting down and writing the thing in one month-long orgiastic Scrivener spasm.
But that month kept not happening. Unexpected expenses came up. My health intervened. I got invited onto new volunteer projects that ate up free time. I just kept not having a spare month to sit down and write a book.
So then a completely unheard-of idea occurred to me. I could… write the book gradually. A chapter or so at a time. While working on other stuff.
AMAZING, right? Why didn’t anyone else ever think of that!
Sarcasm, aside, slowly working on projects over lengthy spans of time is not normally how I write. My history in journalism and ghostwriting has led to a tendency to set tight deadlines and keep them.
So I decided to publish Into the Mire as a web novel specifically because that was a completely different approach to my usual.
I liked the idea of setting a weekly deadline. Nothing too crazy, just a chapter a week so that I’d for-sure stick with it. A chapter a week meant I could happily work on client projects and wouldn’t have to stress if I had a bad health week, and all that has been true so far.
As for publishing it on my own site rather than Wattpad or Webnovel or Radish or any of those other sites, well, it all kind of boils down to impatience and a vague sense of art. Not that I think stuff published on those platforms can’t be art. Not that I think stuff you pay for can’t be art. Those are silly notions and I wish more artists would disabuse themselves of that school of thought.
I guess it’s more artistic control. Having never written on Wattpad or Webnovel or Radish, my explorations of their sites just didn’t quite look like what I wanted my reading platform to look like. Sort of like a printed book, I wanted this project to have a particular feel. As close to a textural element as you can get on a mobile-responsive WordPress site. Short of actually throwing in illustrations and animations (the former of which I’m actually looking into, as funds allow), I wanted it to have a visual theme element.
The colours, the typography, the little rotating spoopy swamp header images – I’m a firm believer that all those little visual touches add up to the atmosphere, even in a small way. Chalk it up to playing a lot of video games and reading a lot of graphic novels as a kid. I think little bits and pieces like that can clue one into the atmosphere of a story. I like having control over them. I do plan on compiling Into the Mire into ebooks as volumes are completed, and rest assured they will be lushly-formatted little things. (I know a professional formatter; she’s amazing.)
There’s also an element of impatience. If I just sit down and put it all together myself, I can put it together when I want to, daddy, damn it, not later. Self-publishing on my own site means I can indulge my inner Violet Beauregarde and satisfy my visual control freak tendencies at the same time.
I hope this has explained a little behind my motivations. I think web fiction is a fantastic medium, and while it may not be as lucrative as other options and this platform may not draw a large readerbase like promoting on Wattpad might, I’m all right with that.
Thanks very much for reading either way. I hope you enjoy the story. If you’ve read all the way through to Chapter 11, you’re in for a real mess* as things progress.
*The fun kind of mess.
If you’d like to get in touch with me for any reason, I’m easily accessible on Twitter as @CaseyLucasQuaid.