Since speaking to most of my beta readers, I’ve realised that I need to change how I’m going to produce this fantasy series.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m releasing the story in serialised form. The term ‘episode’ referrs to a single book. The term ‘season’ refers to the five books together (yes, it’s five books now instead of six. More on that later).
One of the main benefits of Beta readers is they give you feedback on plot and characters. The most frustrating thing about this process has been not being able to answer some of the questions that the readers have had. Most of the information gets revealed later on in the story. I can’t wait to hear what people think about the entire storyline, but I can’t find that out until they’ve read the entire series.
The plan was to get Episode one out as soon as possible, releasing the first one while I’m still working on the others. So what happens when someone spots something in Episode 5 that would need a change to Episode 2 to fix? I’ve already made changes to earlier episodes due to things that have happened in the drafts of later episodes. If the episode was up on Amazon, I wouldn’t be able to go back and change anything.
And then there’s the whole editing process. A developmental editor is someone who (among other things) looks at the whole story structure. They help the author iron out problems with plot. If I decide to hire one, I’m going to have to give them the whole story at the same time, instead of one episode every few weeks.
So, instead of drip feeding beta readers individual episodes, I’m going to draft the whole season, revise it, then get that out to them.
The story has already dictated some structural changes as well. For example, dropping the episode count down to five and changing the position of some endings. That’s the thing – you can plot out a story as much as you want, but it’s in the drafting process that things change. Characters will say or do things that you weren’t expecting. Or maybe something happens that you realise needs a bit of foreshadowing in an earlier stage of the story.
I know that there are plenty of authors who will write the next episode (or book, or series) with the previous one on the market already. One day I hope to do the same. But that won’t be this story. The downside is it won’t be out until early next year. The plus side is that the story will be a lot better presented than it would be if I rushed to get it out. There’s a certain experience that I want my readers to have with this story. I think that it’s better I deliver on that than rush to get something into their hands.