Some of you may have been reading The Prodigal’s Brother, the serial novel I was publishing daily updates to. I liked where it was going and some of you did too, but it needs to stop, at least for now.
If you have been following along, you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t published an update since early February. What you may not have known is that for a good couple weeks before that I was writing updates right before the deadline, often finishing only fifteen minutes before they were due to go live.
It wasn’t working for me. Being so rushed meant I was taking shortcuts in the writing and not planning things out fully, pushing me into corners I didn’t want to have to storytell my way out of.
Finally, there came a weekend where I had enough work that I knew I had to choose between schoolwork and getting my updates out on time.
I chose right: I prioritized schoolwork.
I promised myself I’d get back on top of things, but I never did. I think I already knew at that point that this day would come.
The Prodigal’s Brother is temporarily dead. I don’t have plans to continue my publishing schedule and I’m taking down what I’d published.
Here’s the thing: The Prodigal’s Brother is an important story to me. Due to this form, the issues I was having, and some other pressures I won’t mention, I was botching it.
This story is too important to me to mess up, and I realize that now. I need to take a step back, look at it from another angle, and try again.
And I will try again, I promise. I’m not going to let this story die. But I don’t know yet when I’ll be able to publish it or even if it’ll be in the same form. After trying, I really don’t think this plot is cut out for the update model I was using. It fits better as a conventional novel. (And I already have new ideas now that I’m admitting that.)
There are also some fundamental worldbuilding problems I didn’t notice until I was too far into the project to change them. I need to take another look at those. More importantly, I need the freedom to be able to change things I’ve already written, which this form didn’t provide me.
Finally, feeling guilty for not writing toward The Prodigal’s Brother was holding me back from my other writing. Since admitting defeat on this attempt, I’ve written about ten times as much as I wrote in the previous month, toward various projects. Besides launching a new blog, tty1, I’ve drafted some posts for this blog (coming soon), started work on some new fiction projects, and gotten into poetry again.
I don’t plan to stop writing this story, and I especially don’t plan to stop publishing my writing regularly. I grew unbelievably as a writer over the course of the month and a half I was writing for The Prodigal’s Brother. I need to keep publishing to keep growing, because I know I certainly haven’t arrived at my peak yet.
So, here’s the plan for how I publish what I write, going forward:
- I want to publish blog posts regularly. This blog, Musings, was originally intended to receive intermittent posts, but it’s now my primary personal blog (an official announcement of the closing of See With Eyes Closed is forthcoming). I want more posts here, in addition to the weekly posting schedule I’ve been trying to keep for tty1.
- I’ll keep publishing poetry here, as well. (Did you know I have an Atom feed for those poems, now? Get subscribed!)
- Since The Prodigal’s Brother doesn’t fit this web serial form, but I do like the medium, I started thinking about a story that would fit it better. I have an idea, and I’m excited about it. I’m not ready to announce it, but I think it could work far better as a web serial than The Prodigal’s Brother did.
- I’m going to try journalling again. I’ve tried to pick up journalling repeatedly, but have always stopped. For a reason I’m gonna keep secret for now, I think I have the motivation to at least try it. We’ll see how it goes. (Note: since I first drafted this article, I’ve stopped journalling daily, but am occasionally picking it up.)
- I used to have a weekly newsletter where I gave updates on all of my projects. I think that could be a valuable way to keep me accountable on actually doing all of these things I’ve promised. I don’t really want to try doing that through email again, so perhaps I’ll start publishing something like that here on a weekly or monthly basis. Or perhaps set up something completely separate? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
If you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go get to work!