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What is a Web Serial?

# 1026 5 - 7 mins.

Welcome to my blog and writing website! Since many people have not heard of this style of writing before, I have decided to write this little blog post to explain exactly what it is that I'm doing here, and what I'm hoping to accomplish. So if you've never read a web serial before, here is what to expect.

A web serial is a story that is typically written as it is being published. The author publishes it, chapter by chapter, in a series of blog posts as he writes them. These chapters are usually released on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and they resemble something like a TV show format, with episodes and seasons.

Each post is usually called a chapter which is similar to a TV episode. Each collection of chapters is called an arc or book, which is similar to a season of a TV show. In Sprig, chapters are the subsections of an arc (1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc.) and the arc/book is the collection of chapters under each number. So 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3 are all part of Book 1.

The author may have a buffer of prewritten chapters to account for weeks where it is difficult to produce new content, whether it's due to holidays, sickness, or something else. Even so, comments and user feedback are usually expected and even encouraged. This allows the writer to learn from what the audience enjoys and shape future chapters around it.

As far as quality goes, there are generally some typos and narrative mistakes by the author. Web serials are kind of like a musician doing a live performance. Unless they lip sing the whole thing or write and edit the whole story before releasing any of it, you can expect it not to sound exactly like a studio-produced album.

However, it's a trade-off. This format allows the author to try new things, to experiment and see how the reader reacts in real time. Likewise, it is a great way to grow as a writer, see what you're capable of, and what you need to improve on.

Why Are You Writing a Web Serial?

All of the reasons above! I'm a new writer and I'm looking to get better. I'm hoping to see what I'm capable of and see what readers like and don't like. Also, one of my favorite stories ever was a web serial, Worm by wildbow, and it was a big inspiration for me to start writing.

I also think web serials are a great way to build readership and start a career as a writer. It's definitely not the traditional route, but if you're planning on self-publishing anyway it seems like a good option to me. In writing a serial, you improve your craft and learn to be a better storyteller from the writing process as well as reader feedback so its a great place for a new writer to start out.

Being a web developer and Linux junkie, I also am a big fan of open source and improvement by community. I've released plenty of other things for community feedback at this point and writing a web serial is a similar approach.

What is the Plan with Sprig?

Sprig is my first web serial and it is currently being released on a weekly basis. I plan to continue this until the story is finished or until I have more time to write, in which case I will probably jump to two chapters a week.

I currently work a full-time job and have two toddlers jumping all over me when I get up to write at 5:30 every morning, so as much as I'd like to write more, and release chapters quicker, I don't have the time to release more at the moment.

The good news is, I have started up a Patreon account. If you like what I'm doing here and want more of it, show your support by signing up for a monthly donation there. If you'd prefer a one time donation instead, you can also support me through PayPal.

There are other ways to make it more feasible to write more often as well. If you like what I'm doing, spread the word. Vote for Sprig on TopWebFiction.com, or share your favorite chapter on social media. The more interest there is in this story, the more I'm willing to consider making more time for it.

If there is enough interest, I would also love to release print versions of the story that are professionally edited. But again, all of that depends on interest and how the story turns out. If nothing else, I plan to at least release the first 1-3ish arcs as a volume to possibly point more readers toward the story.

However, money is not my goal in doing this. The goal is to do something I enjoy and get better at it. If it goes well, I hope that I can one day do it for a living, but I know that's still a long way off.

What Are Some Other Good Web Serials?

I already mentioned Worm, by wildbow, above. Worm is possibly my favorite story that I've ever read, and the author is working on a sequel to it now called Ward, though you should start with Worm if you haven't already read it.

Some other web serials that I enjoy are listed below.

  • The Iron Teeth: A story about a goblin who comes under the employ of a master woodsman.
  • The Wandering Inn: A story about a girl who finds her self in some sort of video game with no way to survive other than hiding in an empty inn.
  • Paternum: A superheroes web serial where a college student finds their missing mother's super suit.
  • There is also a great collection of web serials over at TopWebFiction.com and Royal Road
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