By Guest Author
Posted July 30, 2011
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… And we have a special guest post by Kira from Epiguide.com, who is also in charge of WeSeWriMo. Never heard of it? Kira is about to fill you in on all the details.
Take it away, love.
Thanks very much to Terra, MCM and everyone at 1889 Labs for letting me chat away about a project very near and dear to my heart: Web Series Writing Month, aka WeSeWriMo. (link: http://www.wesewrimo.org)
Just the facts:
“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp or what’s heaven for?”
- Robert Browning
From August 1 – 31, writers of web-based serialized fiction (anything from text-based narratives or scripts to webcomics to video webseries to hyperfiction and beyond) will spend the month churning out material with a set goal of … well, whatever measurement that suits you. It’s your creative project: you choose the goal! Sign up before August 1 over at http://bit.ly/wese2011 to get started.
How it all began:
The idea is, of course, inspired by NaNoWriMo (link: http://www.nanowrimo.org), the famous annual challenge to write 50,000 words throughout the month of November.
WeSeWriMo first came to life in 2007 over at the EpiGuide (link: http://www.epiguide.com), a community devoted to web-original fiction and entertainment serials. The proposal to offer web-based authors their own writing marathon came from EpiGuide member Michael, the creator of Footprints (link: http://www.footprintsmedia.com) – a websoap published continuously since 1997.
When Michael brought up the concept over at the EpiGuide, we all agreed that the unique nature of online writing demanded its own version of a monthly challenge. As the admin and dogsbody-in-chief of the community, I agreed to help bring this project to life and host it via the Eppy.
At the time, many wondered why webfiction writers couldn’t just participate in NaNoWriMo. Why the need for something different? How is WeSeWriMo different?
Well, we differ significantly from NaNoWriMo, and the way we do this—and why—is due to the EpiGuide’s philosophy itself.
To us, the whole raison d’etre behind web-based creative efforts is individuality, freedom, and innovation. We embrace the vast variety of online writing genres and publishing formats. Sure, many serial writers are producing straightforward novels of a pre-determined length and serializing them by posting a chapter/scene a week. But others have open-ended serials, and use formats such as branching hyperfiction, webcomics/graphic novels, audio, video, or screenplays.
While NaNoWriMo’s 50,000-word challenge may work for someone who’s hoping to complete a novella (or make a start on a larger novel), it doesn’t do much for webcomic or virtual series scriptwriters. Further, our personal benchmarks vary widely: some online writers may find churning out high word-counts easy, yet actually posting the finished product to be the real challenge. Sometimes it’s the scheduling that’s the sticking point; how often should one post an installment? Once a week? Daily? For those whose works are not confined to a linear narrative, would a word-count challenge include ‘extras’ such as character profiles or journal entries?
So rather than a single goal for all writers, WeSeWriMo offers individuality: the writers themselves decide what they wish to accomplish during the month—and usually the choices are as different as the works themselves. 50,000 words? Possibly. Or ten installments. Or fifty scenes. Or a hundred comic panels. Or… you get the point.
Wondering what goal to pick? The idea is to make it ambitious enough to be a challenge, but realistic enough so that you’re not dooming yourself to failure before you even start. You can even try for more than one achievement. For example, in 2010, the goal I chose for my own webserial, About Schuyler Falls (link: http://www.skyfalls.com), was 30,000 words and two episodes completed and posted. By looking at the list of 2010’s winners (link: http://www.wesewrimo.org/2010.php), you can get a feel for the variety of goals.
To sign up, register your free EpiGuide account (link: http://www.epiguide.com/forums/register.php) and then join us over at the official sign-up thread (link: http://bit.ly/wese2011) to declare your goal. Goals can be changed at any time up till the start of WeSeWriMo, but after that, you’re stuck with it! The goals and links to your website are published over on http://www.wesewrimo.org; those who successfully complete their goals will have their sites linked throughout the year. Not to mention the thrill of victory and a sweet little banner award and certificate.
Once you sign up, you’ll receive an EpiGuide blog (usually a feature offered only to members with 25+ posts) and some basic gadgets where you can chart your progress in public. Folks can discuss their challenges/obstacles, tips, and successes in the official WeSeWriMo forum at the Eppy. And one can post/tweet about it anywhere else one fancies, of course.
You’ll find posts with ideas and links to inspire any flagging, weary writers to keep their eyes on the prize, where everyone chimes in with suggestions and encouragement. Sometimes we offer fun/silly ways to challenge ourselves (such as including the name of our serial hidden within dialogue, or writing acronyms throughout several paragraphs, that sort of thing). Last year was our biggest group of participants yet, with seventy-five writers taking on the challenge.
To sum up:
Where NaNoWriMo is all about writing a novel (really, a novella), and ScriptFrenzy a script for TV, film or theater, WeSeWriMo celebrates the diversity of formats and methods for creating a regularly produced entertainment serial for a web-only audience. The EpiGuide is all about this fast-growing genre, and we want to encourage, challenge and inspire the community of web-based creators.
Remember, all writers of online serialized fiction are welcome, no matter what the genre or format. So if your webserial is a gritty realistic podcast about vampire astronauts solving medical mysteries in the Wild West, welcome aboard! The more the merrier.
Even if this project isn’t something you personally wish to join, I hope writers will spread the word about WeSeWriMo so our participation can keep growing. If you have a blog, or are a member of any writing communities/groups, we’d love it if you’d consider posting about WeSeWriMo where appropriate (please don’t spam!). If you’re on Twitter, chat it up often and use the hashtag #WeSeWriMo (along with other useful tags such as #weblit, #webfiction, #webseries, #amwriting and #writegoal).
Thanks! And best of luck to everyone participating.
Headline image by rahego
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