An Interview with J.A. Waters

I recently exchanged emails with Lyncia author J.A. Waters, and today, I’d like to post his advice to writers new to this whole idea of serial fiction.

Here are my questions and the answers I received – I’ve tweaked the formatting a bit and added emphasis to points I found most interesting:

How often did you post new chapters when you got started?

I started posting Lyncia chapters twice a week, Monday and Thursday, and got plenty of attention and comments fairly quickly. From what I’ve seen, posting once or twice weekly seems to draw the largest number of votes, though once a serial gets to the 20 or 30 chapter range readers will occasionally burn through all available material and increase your standing significantly.

What’s the most important thing a newbie should know about pitching a serial to new readers and eventually to a publisher?

For JukePop, and any online-content site, I think quality and interaction are your most useful tools. While writing styles are subjective, ensuring that you double-check formatting, spelling, and grammar can make a big difference. I’ve tried some serials that are blocky walls of text but it’s unmanageable to keep reading.

That said, I’ve seen some well-written serials fade in their public readership as comments and questions go unanswered. That doesn’t mean they aren’t still being read, but sometimes a lively community can help spread word-of-mouth or catch an eye in someone’s feed.  […]

Researching agents that are looking for your genre, style, and voice is very important. Ensuring you have a polished, fourth-draft (at least) version of your MS is also important as that quality and dedication will show. The #MSWL (Manuscript Wishlist) hashtag on Twitter and aggregate sites is helpful in finding potential agents.

What’s the most important thing you’d like newbies to know about the overall process of writing, revising, and seeing through a serial work?

It’s been said a thousand different ways, but finish what you start. That’s the most important part of a serial, a novel, or any creative project. Even if it doesn’t go anywhere, it will teach you about the craft and your preferences. I’ve done projects in art, writing, and game design, and there’s nothing that haunts you quite as much as giving up on something. The caveat is that you should always drop something that makes you miserable or otherwise negatively impacts life. For revising, minor copy editing is fine as you post a serial, but I prefer to hold off on rewrites until finished with a complete draft.


Now, I was originally planning for Far Flung to update every two weeks, but it looks like that might not be enough. On the other hand, I don’t want to sacrifice quality for frequency … decisions, decisions.

I’m happy to say that the parts I have ready for Far Flung are already past the fourth-draft mark!

And what great info on #MSWL! There’s a new one for me, and oh yeah, I’ll use it.

A big thank you to J.A. Waters! Be sure to watch his work, Lyncia, on Jukepop!