Several years ago, I had an idea for a story. A hapless protagonist starts seeing things, “changes” to his daily bubble. Everyone else seems to think he’s losing it, and being the only one to notice quickly cracks him. Then “everyone else” starts changing too, and he’s forced to embark on a mind-bending odyssey, questioning reality and the alternate realities that unfold before him.
I shelved the initial scribbles for a while, coming back to it in dribs and drabs, using it as a creative outlet and a way of unwinding from real-life everyday stresses and strains. As the story took on more form, I spent more time with it, but the idea of writing a full novel seemed daunting. Instead, I had the idea of releasing the tale in episodes. Serial fiction sounded like an exciting idea to me, releasing chapter by chapter as bite-sized pieces of writing. Especially as to begin with it was all “off the cuff”, with little to no planning. However, as I came to find, this has its own drawbacks.
By the tenth chapter, I had a much clearer picture of how I wanted [D]rifter to unfold, and in part how it should conclude. I also received some very helpful and constructive feedback on the work I’d released to date. However, to achieve this I realised this meant revisiting and rewriting whole sections of the chapters I had already made public, something I am currently undertaking. The piecemeal approach to issuing the content made it more difficult to ensure that key events tied into one another and that references to earlier characters or scenes made sense. (There’s a reason writers will go through two or even three drafts of a novel before feeling content.) However, there was something else. I’ve become way more invested in the story and its characters than when I first started.
Seeing their traits, emotions and actions unfold as I put pen to paper is highly rewarding. This may sound rather silly and obvious, but the more time I invest, the more I see the story and the people within it grow and evolve. For this to work effectively, the segmented approach of the serial format no longer feels like the right route to take.
Finally, despite trying a variety of sites like Tablo, Wattpad, Medium and Sweek, none of them really felt the right way to release it. I was still handing over the content to someone else to host and look after. If I’m also honest to myself, all this really did was serve as a nice distraction from the actual writing process. The time I spent setting up the pages, the accounts, could have been spent moving the story forward.
It’s for all of these reasons that I’ve decided to take down the work as it stands, and instead of worrying about issuing regular entries, focus on [D]rifter as a whole, & see this through to the end. The meetup groups and writing events I’ve been attending recently have been a huge help and influence, both in providing a repeating timeslot for the task at hand, and the passive motivation and encouragement of working towards a common goal with others.
I will however, still provide a regular update on the story’s progress, as a gentle form of self-discipline if anything. Expect a “[D]rifter Roadmap” of sorts to materialise shortly. Right now, my main goal is a finished first draft by Christmas this year. Wish me luck!
[D]rifter is a story of adventure, of self-discovery and the realisation of being part of something bigger.