By Tim Sevenhuysen
Posted July 21, 2012
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I first heard about Web Serial Writing Month (or WeSeWriMo) in the summer of 2011. At the time, I was toying with the idea of writing a web serial of some sort, but I wasn’t ready to really start working on one, so I filed the concept away in the back of my mind and went on with my life, which at that point involved writing a few short stories and working on the beginnings of a novel.
Little did I know that one year later, I would have just completed a six-month-long serial called Losing Freight and be about 70 updates and 75,000 words deep into another ongoing project called Special People. With those two serials on my writing résumé, and a handful of other concepts floating around somewhere in the inky depths of my brain, waiting to be dredged up at some point in the unspecified future, it’s like WeSeWriMo was purposefully designed for me.
Maybe it’s meant for you, too.
WeSeWriMo, which is run by the web serial community site EpiGuide, runs annually during the month of August. This will be its sixth straight year. WeSeWriMo was inspired by the ever-popular National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). But where NaNoWriMo challenges authors to complete a 50,000-word novel in a single month, WeSeWriMo is designed to be adaptable to the unique challenges and opportunities of web serialization. Just as web serials come in a wide variety of formats, genres, and release schedules, the goals WeSeWriMo participants can pursue are entirely customizable. The idea is that each participant can set their own targets, based on their regular output. The WeSeWriMo website suggests aiming for 150% of your regular output as an example target, so if you’re used to releasing 4 episodes of your series in a month, try to write 6 episodes, instead, and add them to your backlog. Another goal could be to write 1,000 words per day for the entire month, or you could come up with something completely different to try for, as long as your target is “ambitious yet realistic”.
In my own case, I’ve decided to set a couple of different types of targets. I normally write and post two 1,000-word chapters per week for Special People, but in my official registration post on the EpiGuide forums, I laid out the following three goals:
Goal #1: Write 15 chapters (15,000 words)
Goal #2: Outline the next story arc.
Goal #3: Prepare the first Special People book for release.
The first goal is my “normal” goal. Instead of what would be my regular output of 8 or 9 chapters for August, I want to write 15 chapters and build a good backlog. But I also want to prepare the next story arc to come, because I’ve found that, for me, the more outlining and pre-planning I do for my writing, the better my stories turn out. It can be difficult to force myself to sit down and be intentional about outlining, though, so I’m making that part of my personal challenge for WeSeWriMo. Finally, it’s been my plan for months to release ebook and print versions of the larger Special People story arcs as I complete them, so I’m adding that to my WeSeWriMo to-do list.
As you can see, my targets are designed around my own writing style, format, and release schedule. I’m really enjoying the opportunity to be creative with my goals and have control over my own participation. Having control over my own work is one of the main reasons why I love serializing my writing, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that. If you’re like me, I think you’ll find the idea of WeSeWriMo very appealing.
To register yourself for WeSeWriMo, formalize your targets, and get involved in the community of web serial writers and producers, head over to the website and post your entry in the EpiGuide forums today!
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