Author Topic: Mysterious Ways: A Divine Comedy  (Read 5956 times)

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WriterOfAlicrow

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Mysterious Ways: A Divine Comedy
« on: October 27, 2013, 04:37:56 am »
Username: mwadc
Email: dpiros at comcast.net
Site Description:
The site is for my web serial, Mysterious Ways: A Divine Comedy, currently located at http://alicrow.com. For now, the site is updating every other week, but it's going to move to a weekly schedule once I have a good buffer built up.

Concept:

MW:ADC is a science fiction + fantasy web serial that seeks to defy conventions. It rejects the stock fantasy setting, and instead focuses on a world with both magic and advanced (a decade or two past our world) technology. It mixes humor and philosophy, with the aim to entertain first and foremost, but optionally to provide readers with a new way to look at life and encourage them to question things they take for granted.
The story centers on a group of mortal gods trying to uncover the grand secrets of the universe, and find their place within it.

The group includes (not all have appeared yet):
  • Alex-- A fire god who tends to alternate between too-light-hearted and nervous breakdown (I suspect bipolar disorder). He's also an angel, and a Wiccan (Eclectic Witch, technically).
  • Lucifer-- A 'cubi god of Truth who insists morals are a mere societal construct, and hold people down. He enjoys inflicting mental torture on people, and eating souls deep-fried in peanut butter.
  • Tanner-- An adorable were-kitty god of naps. Enjoys napping, tummy rubs, and more napping.
Also staring:
  • AIINACS-- a sentient A.I., and fierce GNU/Linux supporter. Released most of his source code under a modified version of the GPL that forbids porting it to Windows or OS X.

Basically, it's a wild, ridiculous story that explores the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, and provides commentary on religion and society. And makes fun of things.

About me:

I started writing about three and a half years ago, after I ran out of good books to read. Two years ago, I self-published my first novel, Project New Age, which is available on amazon.com, and has sold a whopping total of three copies!! <sarcasm>Yay!! What a success!!</sarcasm>

Yeah, turns out, marketing is everything. Nobody knew about my book, so nobody bought it. After luring several potential customers to the site (with promises of virtual BACON!!), hearing how much they love the preview chapters up there, and then hearing "I don't have much money...", I decided the hell with being a professional author. I don't want to make money off my writing; I just want to write, and have a devoted cultgroup of readers to give feedback and praise and worship me. For that, I figured a web serial was the ideal solution.

On that note, one of the main reasons I'm attracted to xepher.net is because of the community. And the newsbox. DMFA (for a while longer), Project Future, Last Resort, and other great works are hosted here, with a newsbox on each page, full of links to other creative and wonderful sites. I found both Project Future and Last Resort from the newsbox on DMFA. And it lists all sites equally, unlike sites like webfictionguide that show the popular stuff at the top, and the stuff that needs promotion at the end, where nobody ever sees it.


Okay, not really sure how much content I need to have on my site in order for you to make a decision, so if there's not enough up there, then I'll do The Challenge.

P.S. I'll give you virtual BACON!! if you accept me.
P.P.S. Since you're probably going to ask, I can assure you that I'm capable of managing the technical aspects of a website. I'm an Electrical and Computer Engineering major, have plenty of programming experience (though mostly in C++, not HTML and PHP), and I'm running Linux (which proves that I'm a geek).
« Last Edit: October 27, 2013, 06:25:37 am by WriterOfAlicrow »

Xepher

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Re: Mysterious Ways: A Divine Comedy
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2013, 11:54:36 pm »
Heh, no worries on the tech side of things. As soon as I saw one of your characters was using a modified GPL for code, I figured you had that covered.

My bigger concern is persistence. The reason I like to see a fair bit of content is the history and dedication it shows on the part of the site owner. In the 12+ years I've been doing this, I've seen a LOT of people give up in the early stages. To that end, how long have you been writing this particular story for? I see 14 chapters, on what's listed as a bi-weekly schedule, but they're each only 300 to 1000 words at most. If what you're looking for is an audience/fans, a serial novel on a standalone website is usually not the best way to find it, and two or three pages a week generally isn't enough content to keep people coming back.

Now, I'm not saying "no" mind you, and I'm not trying to discourage. I just want you to realize it can be very difficult to get and keep an audience. It sounds like your familiar with that after the novel you mentioned, but I look at what you have currently, and I think it will probably take a lot more work than I see on your site so far. Writing is hard, especially online and when compared to visual, short-form stuff like comics, videos, or even artwork. People will read a crappy comic if it gets even the slightest laugh, they'll look at mediocre artwork if it has any redeeming value at all... it takes only seconds of their time. To get and keep an audience with just the written word though, you need to not only be good, but diligent as well... and of course luck never hurts.

For comparison, I'm currently publishing a fan-fiction novel elsewhere, and I got lucky, getting it publicized by some bigger names in the fandom to start with, and attracting a large readership up front. Now, with an established audience, and hundreds of subscribed and excited readers, I publish a new chapter weekly, averaging between 6000-9000 words each, and I still feel like I'm stretching people's patience between updates. My story-telling ability has been judged to be "quite good" now by lots of fans. Despite that, I know with absolute certainty that if I'd simply published it here on my own site, I would've been lucky to get even a dozen readers after months of publication. Skill is essential, but has little to do with success in the small-time and online.


Now, all that negativity aside, what're your goals here? What milestones have you set for yourself? I see "weekly updates" as one, but how long will they be? How are you going to attract an audience? What's going to keep you motivated when the readers are slow to appear?

WriterOfAlicrow

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Re: Mysterious Ways: A Divine Comedy
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2013, 02:53:19 am »
Looking through my records, it looks like I wrote the first chapter 4 months ago. Meaning that's when I wrote the chapter that made it up there. The last year and half, at least, have been spent trying to refine this idea into something I have utter confidence in my ability to keep going.

With this story, I'm not locked-in to a specific area of exploration. If I ever get tired of writing about religion, I can write a few arcs that focus more on something else. One arc I have in mind is going to focus on LINARA (LINARA Is Not A Recursive Acronym), the company run by Alex and some friends, and a revolutionary product they create... and Microsoft's attempts to acquire it and rebrand it as their own. (grrr, stupid acquisition firm).

Frankly, I only need one fan: me. That's enough to keep me going. I write mainly for myself. I want others to enjoy it, but if they don't, that's not going to stop me. I write, first and foremost, because I want to write. To express myself.

The weekly schedule starts at the beginning of next year. Beyond that, I don't really know. Maybe 2015 will begin a twice-weekly schedule. Maybe thrice-weekly, if things go really well. The chapter length isn't changing, though. I write short chapters. I think that's advantageous for something on the web. People have short attention spans. With shorter, easier-to-manage chapters, people who stumble onto the site are more likely to give it a read.

As for attracting an audience, I'm looking into Project Wonderful, because it will allow me to take out ads on the site I go to. People who would be interested in my writing are likely interested in a lot of the stuff I read. I'm going to attempt to attract webcomic-readers (it may or may not work), because they might enjoy my conversational writing style.

I'm also using TV Tropes, which is where I go to find webcomics. They say "there's no such thing as notability", so I put examples from MW:ADC on a few pages there. Getting about as many hits from that as I get from webfictionguide. And TV Tropes will give more hits as the story progresses and I add more examples to the wiki.

I'll admit that a lot of this is new to me. I'm going to have to experiment with things and see how it goes. But I'm not giving up. Even if nobody ever sees this, it's still fun, and it'll show off my creative skills to potential employers (I'm looking to get into independent game development, since that's pretty much the only way to combine computer-geekiness and creative writing).

Xepher

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Re: Mysterious Ways: A Divine Comedy
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2013, 09:47:23 am »
Alright, sounds good enough to me. Just didn't want you to think fame and fortune were right around the corner. One last clarification... your username here becomes part of the URL (it's the subdomain) and can be rather longer (64 characters) than most sites. You still want "mwadc"? It probably matters less, of course, if you're planning to point a domain here though.

WriterOfAlicrow

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Re: Mysterious Ways: A Divine Comedy
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2013, 01:41:05 pm »
I'm good with "mwadc". Like you said, I have a domain name I'll be pointing to it, so it doesn't matter much. Unless there's some reason why it would be better to use a longer name, I'll go with "mwadc".

Xepher

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Re: Mysterious Ways: A Divine Comedy
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2013, 06:36:09 am »
Okay, you're in. You should have an email with login information. Please follow the directions there.

Welcome Aboard!

WriterOfAlicrow

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Re: Mysterious Ways: A Divine Comedy
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2013, 03:08:28 am »
Thank you.
As promised, here's your virtual BACON!!: http://mwadc.xepher.net/BACON.swf

By the way, I'm surprised at how few applicants you get. Looking at the forums, seems I'm the first one in 9 months or something. But you used to get tons of applications, right? Back in 2005? What changed?

Xepher

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Re: Mysterious Ways: A Divine Comedy
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2013, 04:41:05 am »
I saw bacon.swf and thought for sure it was going to be this instead. http://z0r.de/69 :-)

But yeah, web hosting is a heckuva lot easier today than it used to be. The internet is also much, much bigger.  It's a good thing though. Tons of much more specialized communities have grown up in the intervening years, and can provide a much better experience for most artistic and creative websites than my general purpose hosting does.  As I think you noted, DMFA is leaving soon for one such community, and that is the last truly big site I'm hosting. When I started this in 2001, my goal was only to make the internet a better place, and give something back. Tons of people loved the idea, and I like to think I did my part for a good decade there. The fact that it's no longer needed, in a way, kind of proves the goal has been reached. So while I think the sun is setting on this stage of my internet philanthropy, I'm sure I'll find some new, cool thing to do in the future. Just not sure what that is yet. :-)

Zumi

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Re: Mysterious Ways: A Divine Comedy
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2014, 10:15:47 pm »
There will always be new people popping up i think, DMFA is going to do what it needs to do, but this is truly the best place i have ever found on the internet. DMFA is what brought xepher to kia's attention, i would hope they will continue to use the xepher bar to refer people to others works but that is her choice.
In either case I think we should all get xepher a medal for his philanthropy :)