Thoughts on Writing – Writing A Serial Novel – MVChron Midpoint Evaluation

Now that Isaac and I have reached the midpoint of The Multiverse Chronicles (or what was originally going to be the midpoint), I thought it might be fun to look at what we had planned for this series, and what the current trajectory is.

For those of you who are new to my blog, The Multiverse Chronicles is a pseudo-steampunk fantasy blog series that my husband and I write. Isaac writes the rough draft for each episode, which I then edit. We send that draft to a beta-reader, who gives us feedback. We polish the episode, and then post it to our blog (approximately once a week between episodes).

The series started because we wanted a way to advertise our Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel card game. So we worked out more of the universe and wrote it into story format. (Fun Fact: The story came from the card game, but the card game from a story… which came from a role-play game Isaac game-mastered and created the world for. It’s just one big cycle.)

When we first planned the series, we thought they’d be short little episodes, each an individual story following the lives of various characters who we occasionally revisited (actually, we first pictured this as a comic strip). As the story progressed, certain themes would reoccur and a larger story arc would appear, but would only be important to those who read the whole series.

That didn’t happen.

The story evolved to have a full-blown plot. Even then, we determined that we would still keep the episodes short (around 500-1500 words), and we would keep some level of independent story from episode to episode, that way new readers could fall in at any time and be able to reasonably follow what was going on.

Ahem.

Let’s take a look at the actual word count of the first twelve episodes, shall we?

  • Prologue: 478
  • Episode 1: 2,318
  • Episode 2: 3,287
  • Episode 3: 2,771
  • Episode 4: 3,395
  • Episode 5: 3,829
  • Episode 6: 2,202
  • Episode 7: 3,082
  • Episode 8: 3,660
  • Episode 9: 2,760
  • Episode 10: 2,018
  • Episode 11: 3,918
  • Episode 12: 4,226

Ignoring the prologue, which we added at the last minute because we wanted to have at least some reference of why we call this “The Multiverse Chronicles,” the episodes are well above the intended length.

Granted, a lot of that is my fault. I like details. I want to see the world…

And I enjoy knowing what the bad guys are doing.

Isaac’s original drafts are closer to the intended length (for example, the original draft of the first episode is only 1,645 words long, and episode twelve was only 1,672 words long (note: this does not include the end scene, which was added later and raised the total count to 2,591 words).

Combined,the total word count for the first twelve episodes without the prologue is 37,466 words, with an average of 3,122 words per episode.

That’s double the original word count we had in mind.

Adding to the word count was the decision to add “Meanwhile“scenes at the end of each episode to show what other characters, especially the antagonists, were up to. The idea was to build suspense. Per feedback from our beta-reader, we later stopped calling them “Meanwhile” scenes and just made them a part of the regular episode, albeit with a section break.

What remained as planned, however, was to have an illustration with each story, hearkening back to the idea of penny dreadfuls and dime novels. Though the style and number of illustration varies a bit from episode to episode, we try to have at least something.

Originally we planned to have 24 episodes, though looking at our current structure, we now have 27 episodes planned, and I haven’t checked to see if any of the remaining episodes need to be split into two parts (as we did with one of the earlier episodes, and the two episodes we’ll be releasing next).

Once the first season has been released, I’m hoping to go back through the full story, make any final changes and polish the writing, and then publish a print and ebook edition. But that’s a post for another day.

Though we deviated from our original plans, I hope that readers will still enjoy The Multiverse Chronicles. And please, feel free to chime in with thoughts and comments as you read each episode. We would love to hear from you. 🙂

Previous posts about the serialization process:

Thoughts on Publishing – Serial Publishing Methods

Thoughts on Writing – What does a Serial Episode Need?

 

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