Seriously: WHAT READER waits 21 months for the next chapter of a Work-in-Progress?
A fan fiction reader, that’s who.
What author wouldn’t kill for that kind of control?
All right, so J. K. Rowling has millions of fans and her novels get 100,000 reviews on Amazon.com. But she has to work awfully hard, write full-length novels, blah blah blah. The author who updated yesterday has only two works on-line. Each probably less than 200 pages. And the chapters are about 10 pages long.
Yesterday, when self saw that one of her favorite stories had updated, it was like:
CHRISTMAS IN JULY
Self stared at the screen, blinking. Was she dreaming? She opened the chapter.
Beautiful amazing everything!
Her theory about fan fiction is: it’s not just the appeal of creating new stories for characters one knows and loves. Fan fiction is all about serialization.
Some authors update on a regular basis: once a week, every Wednesday or Tuesday or Saturday. The readers hang around, fingers poised over the link button, on that designated day of the week.
Others post complete work (One-shots or Drabbles: a term self finally figured out means roughly the same thing as Flash Fiction) and then take it down.
But, talk about building a brand! There are names that have such a reputation that they can keep followers — even if all they do is drop one chapter oh, say, every 21 months or so.
It is simply tragic to get hooked on an incomplete story, but they do abound. There’s nothing worse than saying good-bye on a cliff-y. One website warns readers like so:
INCOMPLETE, LAST UPDATE 2013, READ AT YOUR OWN RISK
No matter what else happens this week, self already knows: it’s going to be a great week. Heck, it’s going to be a great year.
Life goes on, the author is still alive (amazing, everyone’s anonymous on fan fiction, and no one talks about RL — real life), the story is still alive, self is still alive, the world is still alive, and —
Holy Cow! It’s the Fourth of July! Yippeeeeee!
Last year, Fourth of July, self was else. England, probably.
Today, she got stuck in Redwood City downtown, because she saw a movie and when she came out, barricades for the annual parade had been set up — all around her car.
“There was a sign,” a woman told self. She was one of those setting up a booth. “You just didn’t bother to read them.”
Rude! She drove around in circles. Thought she’d end up sleeping in Courthouse Square, in her car. Come to think of it, that would probably make a really really good story. Something like Night at the Museum, only Night In Redwood City, Courthouse Square, Behind a Barricade. Some security person eventually took pity on self (but not before making self squirm for half an hour) and moved a barricade.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.