It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these. The last two were done via video on YouTube and there may yet be a video version of this in the future, but life and things make turning out quality content on that kind of platform difficult. Someday that might change.
So let’s get onto the topic of this post: The State of the Series.
The State of Uploads
As anyone who may have been reading along might have noticed, the regular updates have stopped. I made no announcement about this decision because, in my mind, it wasn’t worth making a fuss over. Every time I tried to write a post, it sounded down and defeated, which, yes, I am a bit down, for various reasons, but I am not defeated. To be honest, I just took a well-needed break. I apologize if the lack of announcement affected anyone, but I plan on keeping more thorough updates going for the foreseeable future.
Over a year ago, I completed the original run of the series and I loved it very much. It was far from perfect and had a lot of issues that I now more than recognize as such, but it remains a soft spot in my heart. I remember printing the whole thing out and going to town trying to edit it to turn it into a published book. I struggled. I struggled a lot. I know the editing phase is a major motivation killer for many writers and it definitely was one for me.
I’ve always wanted to hold a book of my own in my hands and feel that victory I’ve lived my whole life for. Bestseller or not, I just want to finally touch that which I’ve worked a lifetime to create. But for the series back then, and how reviews had left me feeling rotten, I felt stimied and crushed by the idea of publishing. I believed that the only way to find success was to make a real live book and that wasn’t what I wanted.
I wanted this “episodic” thing. I wanted this part by part adventure. In my mind, the only way to do this was via a web series. So, to me, the answer was clear. If the Q’taxians was to remain both free and a series, I’d have to keep it online.
The problem became that drumming up attention was incredibly difficult and I have a plethora of reasons why, but that’s for another post. It is with all things, but as someone who’s been in retail and started a few personal retail businesses, I realized that I was gimping myself in the realm of readers by NOT having a book or some physical tie-in to the series.
There’s something “complete” about having your work published and finally in your hands. So long as I kept to a series, that would never happen. But what about the episodic system I cherished so much? What about the fact that put together, the first arc is a cumbersome read? How could I alleviate that and actually offer something to readers?
I thought for a long while before coming to a decision. One that, at a glance, deviates from my original goals of the series, but helps support my personal goals as a human being.
The Fate of the Series
I will be publishing each chapter/episode/track as its own book. These will be short entries into the series with an estimated read time of one hour. Why one hour? Because in my chaotic mind, I wanted to write something that equated to watching an episode of prime-time television. Don’t ask me to explain that desire, that’s just what I wanted.
The publication rate would obviously be dependent on reception, which, I expect to be slow at first. I’ll probably work on prepping the first three parts and gauge interest over time. The ultimate objective would be monthly releases.
When I came to this decision, the fact that the parts varied widely in length came up as something of an issue to me. I wanted to set a baseline and I wanted each part to be worth reading on its own. Could they be readable independently? Not for the first arc, but going forwards, that’s largely the plan while the plot builds up to the main conflict.
So what does this mean for the current parts? Simply put, I am rewriting them. I know, rewriting can be dangerous in mutilating existing plots, but I’m trying to do it in a way that maintains the same plot while fixing some of the inconsistencies I’d developed in the version that is currently online. I’m going at it with a tone a bit closer to the original while maintaining the well-received structure of the new one.
For example, part 1, A Day in the Life, is a bit more introspective and uncomfortable than the current online version. That’s the point. I wanted to bring it back into the realm of weird fiction not fluff fantasy. No not all fantasy is fluff, but I was getting there and I wasn’t too pleased with that turn of events.
Some Plot Discussion
The Revival of OG Qaitax
The most noticeable difference readers might pick up on is the disposition of a main character. I was not happy with how Qaitax was developing. He was a clone of Sylus but with less life experience. That’s not interesting. We’re defaulting back to OG Qaitax and it feels absolutely fantastic.
For those curious, OG Qaitax was a much harsher creature who fought Sylus’ empathy and kindness constantly, but, at the same time, stepped much further back and away from his day-to-day life. Qaitax was basically Sylus’ ego and id given a persona. I liked him that way. Granted, Qaitax always ends up softening up, but its earned. He doesn’t just walk into a brand new situation like LOVE AND PEACE & FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC!!! No. He learns empathy and, honestly, it scares him.
The Question of Haurex
I miss OG Haurex. I miss him a lot, but I think in the environment I’ve developed here, he can’t exist and that’s fine. Maybe he’ll make a comeback at a later date, but for now, the current rendition of Haurex remains canon. I’ve given him a bit of a more murky uncomfortable edge, which, I think, helps develop him as a character.
Having a clear end-goal for his character has helped me to reshape him a bit in the rewrite. When I first started writing, I wasn’t 100% sure what would become of Haurex and when. I know now so I want to develop him more correctly than before.
The Synclaires and the Miles’
Sylus has largely always been the same and he remains the same. Out of all things he’s pretty much the stable core of the entire plot.
Daniel, however, I’ve struggled with. His age and, therefore, his vocabulary, has long been an issue for me. That has since been solved and I can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief. I think I’ve remastered his dialog to be more closely related to his age. It’s still a bit advanced, but I feel like that’s to be expected for a kid that was forced to grow up quickly and under duress.
Mr. Miles. Mr. Miles is a secondary character in the series. He get some development in relation his son, Jeron, but he’s introduced and removed relatively quickly. I always questioned how fast that occurred. It’s going to take a bit longer because I want people to get to know him better. As a person, not just as an iron-fisted parent.
Jeron. Much of Jeron’s existence was tied back to Sylus. This was not good enough. I love Jeron. I might even love him more than Sylus. Jeron needs his own rich story which I plan on getting into in the Post-Rift arc. That one part, Across the Universe, will be getting expanding into its own arc. I believe it’s important that both parties get to tell their stories across time and space, but I want to develop Jeron and Daniel more WITHOUT Sylus’ presence. And I want SYLUS to stand up better on his own two feet. This would obviously affect their reunion, but, at this point, I truly believe it’s worth it.
No. They won’t get back together as quickly, but, at the same time, it won’t be as… how could I put this… emotionally driven? More that they had vastly different experiences and now have very different perceptions of reality. A major bridge that must be crossed.
Don’t worry. I already know how that goes down ;).
Implications of the Current Arc/Part System
This will likely be changing entirely. I really want to keep the musical theme as its an integral part of the story, to me at least. However, with the new structure in mind, what under the plot constitutes and arc is definitely going to change.
Foreseeable alterations: Violet Prelude WILL end when Sylus leaves earth
The second arc will neither be Xanthous Cantata nor Emerald Adagio. This Arc will be entirely new and cover the shared experiences of Sylus, Qaitax, and Saari with Jeron, Daniel, and Haurex.
Will Emerald Adagio and Xanthous Cantata ever exist? Maybe. The focus of Emerald Adagio is to introduce and focus on a very specific character. It is the most literal translation of the original series into the new format. Cassidy is too important to ignore. She will get her Arc. Xanthous Cantata is, as the name suggests, supposed to focus on Haurex. Haurex’s character progression is shifting a bit which means it’ll likely be an anti-redemption arc or a return to villainy. I feel like it still fits well AFTER Emerald Adagio, so that’s something that should be sticking.
What about all those other “unknown” arcs on the site? Beyond Xanthous and Emerald, those were all speculations on plot progression. Azure Ensemble will probably still happen because the character that’s tied to is also very important, but when and where I haven’t a clue. Fuschia Fusion will ALSO happen, but it’s an end capper. The others are all pure speculation. Since I’m deviating away from them, here are their original titles in order of their potential release, for the heck of it:
- Violet Prelude
- Emerald Adagio
- Xanthous Cantata
- Azure Ensemble
- Scarlet Symphony
- Fushia Fusion
Obviously, “The Q’taxians: Violet Prelude – A Day in the Life” is a long-winded title for a book. Especially one that’s only 10k words.
The order of the naming kingdom is:
Series: The Q’taxians
Arc: Violet Prelude
Episode: A Day in the Life
I think for the sake of the written word, the Arc title should be omitted perhaps only to be mentioned in promotional materials/future collection systems. For all I know the entire Arc system might get thrown entirely out the window. Early on, I think its best to avoid addressing the concept of an arc in the written medium.
This would make the title of the first part: “The Q’taxians – A Day in the Life”.
I’m not sure how I feel about omitting the part number. I feel like with the length of the story it should be clear it’s part of a whole.
Maybe something like:
A Day in the Life
That’s not so bad. Also, I’m going to be renaming chapters. I’m not sure I can get away with using song titles anymore, but that’s okay. I already have some good titles lined up.
Major Changes Forwards
Print versions will be the length of what was once a current upload. This means they will be around 10k+ words. As mentioned before, the goal is to make them at least one hour per episode to read.
10k-19k words is considered a novelette or short novella. These will NOT be complete novels. As such, pricing is largely up in the air and I cannot even begin to offer an estimate as to what each episode will cost.
This means that my promise of 100% free content always will be changing. While this feels like a blow to my ethics, I feel like it is a necessary step to take the series to the level it deserves.
As a result, the site is slowly being reorganized to present as more of an info, advertising, blog page. By advertising, I mean snippets and behind the scenes stuff that might entice people to check out the books, not spammy ads all over the pages.
I want the site to remain clean, but more informative.
In the not-so-distant future, I will be removing the current versions of the story. Like the OG series, I might start posting them to Patreon for posterity and for avid readers to have a comparison in how the story’s evolved, but they will no longer be free to read on the site. They will instead be replaced by excerpts of upcoming publications and more in-depth behind the scenes of each episode.
Basically, I’m working on revamping the site to be a hype train for the series. This is a very slow process unlike most revamps and as of yet, I have no firm date on when the current episodes will be removed. I will make an announcement when I come to that decision.
If you want to keep reading, but a paying would damage your ability to do so, I’ll be sure to run plenty of giveaways and free options to get your hands on the books. I’m honestly incredibly excited about these kinds of events finally becoming a reality.
As of right now, I plan on self-publishing. In the past, I have had some publishers poke around and ask questions, but I’m still incredibly afraid of losing control over my IP. I know its probably not as bad as I think, but the idea of anyone outside of myself and avid readers having a say in how the story should be told just irks the crap out of me.
This is a big one for me. Part of doing the whole online thing was to allow direct and immediate interaction with the story. This will obviously change. However, I intend to continue to attempt to facilitate an environment for readers to either discuss or engage with the story. I still want to, in some way, offer some reader-driven parts to the adventure. I want readers to have something of a say in how certain events are carried out. This will most likely be conducted via the Patreon. All other content would, of course, remain free. Basically, it’d be like enlisting executive producers.
I have a dead set series of events, but there’s a lot in between that could be shaped by the readers themselves.
Is this like farming content from other people and selling it back to them? Not entirely. Obviously, when a decision is made by the community, I will write it accordingly. I might even offer it up to Patrons to have an early read of so they can see if their decisions are being reflected accordingly.
Why do something like this?
Because The Q’taxians has always been something of an experiment for me. I wanted to test the boundaries of reader engagement and community building. I don’t want to form anything unnaturally and tying anything to a Patreon at this stage is getting a bit ahead of myself, but I want to illustrate a hypothetical way in which I could keep my ideal community engagement standards going.
Is this a good idea? Honestly, I don’t know. It could be a disaster, but I really want to give it a try. I WANT readers to feel like they have stock in the story. I WANT them to feel like their opinions matter to some degree. Obviously, major plot points will remain set in stone and cannot be altered, but as I said. There’s enough out there for people to have an impact on and I’m excited to explore these options.
Henceforth, I will be converting referential terminology from Arc and Chapter to Season and Episode. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while and since the entire system is getting overhauled, now is as good a time as any to commit to this.
Going with a physical printed edition obviously means I’m losing some things I consider important characteristics. For example, the colored text of Lords. This will, obviously, no longer be possible in black and white. I’m playing with alternative methods of creating a certain unique characteristic to each of their speech patterns, but for now, it’s just bold and italics at work and getting abused.
Also, this obviously means that any “artwork” floating around won’t be carried over. It’s all royalty-free, but I plan on soliciting actual illustrators if and when I decide to incorporate artwork into the books. There will not be any artwork in early runs as the objective is to get it out there and test the waters.
Finally, the blog will be getting much more attention. I will be updating everyone on story and publishing progress more frequently and adding some more editorials/opinion pieces to the site. You can pick and choose which you’d like to see so you won’t be forced to read emotionally charged reaction pieces when all you want to know is when the next episode is coming out.
These are all some very major and very important changes that, by their very nature, redefine what the series is. The decision to go down this route was not made lightly. I know it comes as a violation of my eternal promise of free reads, but I really do feel like it is necessary. Once more, I am deeply apologetic to any current readers and I hope you can all understand this decision.
I’ll be blatantly honest, there was a very personal factor that went into making this decision. I want to hold my work in my hands. Like I said before, am I gunning for bestseller status? Absolutely not. I’ll consider myself lucky beyond belief if I can gather a small cult following.
I’ve jokingly said before that I want to be the next Harry Potter in the scheme of fame, but really? A.) I don’t think that’s possible these days and B.) That’s not really what I want.
I want something unique. Unique good? Unique bad? Only time will tell.
As I’m sure a lot of followers have noticed, my social media presence is always on and off. I hope to change that now that I’ll have far more to actually offer content-wise.
At some point, I’ll be updating everyone on a hard date as to when the current chapters will be removed from the site. I will make sure this is broadcasted loud and clear, but the time will definitely come and it will come sooner than later.
Will there never be a virtual version again? No. I think, once again, I’ll tie it into Patreon.
Why not Kindle or Nook or something more conventional? Eh, I have my reasons. They might not be the best and my decisions might not be 100% the best, but this is how I want to do it. Will it work? We’ll find out.
Until next time!