The Gay Authors Newsletter - May 2004
Waiting for the next chapter ...
Nothing is more frustrating than reading a great story and suddenly find yourself hanging with nothing left to read. Sure there's the promise of the next chapter coming soon ... but, I WANT IT NOW! Confession time ... we've all been frustrated. That's one of the reasons I forewarn readers on my own site about suggested stories that are "on going." Some people just can't stand the wait! They come back and check for a new chapter sometimes as often as twice a day. But they still wait. The "check backs" dwindle down to maybe once a week and finally stop completely. In the case of Nifty, with newly posted stories listed at the top, it's easy enough to check. When the next chapter is finally posted, the reader has probably read a dozen or more stories and has completely forgotten the plot. They have to go back and re-read several chapters to bring themselves back up to speed.
Some readers do not realize what all is involved in the writing process. And no one knows what personal issues the author has to deal with ... class, work, family, friends, etc. The number of things that can "interfere" with completing another chapter are like the grains of sand on the beach … uncountable. And then there's the writer's most dreaded enemy ... writer's block. And it's made even worse by all the emails asking, requesting and downright demanding another chapter.
Writer's want and need feedback for each chapter they post. But readers need another chapter posted too. There are pros and cons to posting a chapter once it's finished. The pros include immediate feedback. The cons include the pressure to write another chapter. As an avid reader and a writer that tends to write in spurts ... I find the whole thing frustrating and amusing at the same time. When I posted my first story I already had 12 chapters completed. I started posting on Nifty once a week. The reasoning behind my madness was that I would have 12 weeks to finish the story, plus, I would get immediate feedback on my work. Readers would be happy because a new chapter would be coming out on a regular basis and I would be happy because I would be getting immediate feedback.
It worked great until I finished chapter 18 with one day to spare. It was posted the next day after a valiant effort by my editors. But now I had a throng of avid fans expecting the final chapter in one week and I hadn't even started on it! The pressure was enormous. I felt I would let my fans down if I didn't finish the chapter. At the same time I was struggling with the emotions of bringing a story to a close. I'd never experienced that before and it was awful. Something wonderful was happening and I didn't want it to end!
The last chapter was posted on time. My fans were happy and so was I. I had nothing but good feelings about the job I had done. But now I find myself writing 3 different stories at the same time. Each chapter is posted as soon as it is finished. Sometimes it's months between postings. Does it bother me? You betcha. Does it bother my readers and fans? Probably. But no one has said an unkind word. I'm just getting encouragement.
The purpose of this article is for readers and writers alike to try to understand both sides of the equation. For a reader who hasn't seen a post in months, the frustration grows and grows until they actually get pissed. For an author that's having issues with getting the next chapter out ... the pressure can be debilitating. If you're a reader, try to understand things from the writer's point of view. Creativity can't be rushed. It just has to happen. And writers, think about all those fans that can't wait for another chapter of your masterpiece. You write for feedback. And once you start the posting process, keep you readers in mind. If you're stumped, this is the right website to be. There are people here that you can turn to for help, support and even a shoulder to cry on.