Fictional musings

I have never made a secret of the fact that I enjoy writing short stories, and publishing them on this blog. I get the most satisfaction from writing fiction, approaching it in something of a style, and going from idea to published story very quickly, without too much time for research and construction.

That many of you read them and comment is always a source of delight to me. Whether or not you have enjoyed them, the fact that people take time to read them is very much appreciated. When I have received praise for them, or criticism, both are equally valuable to me.

As you may know, I have occasionally written some in the form of a serial. One of the first, ‘Travelodge’, was in three parts, later followed by ‘Tubby’s Toe’, a gangster saga, in six long episodes. The most recent attempt, ‘Gary’s hot date’ ran to four parts, and concluded last week. That was my first attempt at a real ‘happy ending’ too, and felt a little strange to me.

Today’s musings concern the idea of such serialisations, and one fact in particular. Easily able to estimate from the viewing stats provided by WordPress, I came across something that I found quite surprising. Although most die-hard followers and readers stuck with all the episodes of those serials, often commenting all the way through, most readers read only some, or part of them. If they read the first parts and decided it wasn’t for them, that’s easy to understand. But in most cases, it was the later episodes that received the most views, often twice as many as previous posts, including the beginning to each story, which in many cases received the least views.

I am now thinking about all those people that read parts five and six of a story that had four previous episodes. What did they think was happening? It would have made no sense as a stand-alone piece, and I always publish warnings about serials at the start of each post. The most recent four-parter enjoyed more views of the last episode, that the three preceding it. How did they ever manage to work out the whats and whys? I confess that does intrigue me.

But it’s not the end of the world. Just musings.

55 thoughts on “Fictional musings

  1. As you know, I read episode 2 and then went back to read episode 1 and re-read episode 2. I enjoyed your series a great deal and was glad the ending was happy. I like happy. Some people don’t actually read the story but just leave a comment anyway. That may be your answer, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is always intriguing. I try and resist reading books in a series if I haven’t read all of them, although there is a bit of a catch-up game going on sometimes (if you remember with The Dry, I ended up by reading the second book, Force of Nature, before the first). It might be that people were alerted to the last one by a share somewhere (in my case it was Robbie and I remembered the beginning of the story but I hadn’t read the other ones, so I went back), and they might end up reading that one and intending to go back and read the rest at some point. Mind you, some people peep at the end of a novel and if they don’t like what they see don’t bother with the rest (I’ve only done that if I was really bored and in those cases I would just stop reading), or they are happy knowing how things ended and are not bothered about the details (I keep reading about people who skip big chunks of books. Such hard work…) Anyway, who knows? I’ll keep reading your stories. Hopefully in the right order!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Olga. The point of this post was to get comments and ideas, and I have been left with some good ones. Perhaps use the same title in future, and remember to add ‘To be continued’ at the end. Both might help the readers. I am always happy to learn from my mistakes.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s very strange… I don’t know how I would feel about starting a story in the middle. I’m usually pretty quick at picking things up, so some stories may not be a problem to figure out the general premise, but you’re not going to have the same character development and attachment to the characters! So, if they had reached that tragic ending in one of your older stories, would it have really been as tragic??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I will have to consider using the same title for future serials, then adding ‘Part 2, Part 3’, etc. Perhaps the very different titles were confusing to some readers. I also just realised that I failed to add ‘To be continued’ to them. I will go back and rectify that too.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You make a very good point. The few serials I love reading from fellow bloggers all have the same title, each episode each week. As soon as I see that title, the world stops. I can’t wait to read what happens next. Something to think about. Best to you, Pete.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. WordPress stats are not that good compared to those you can get from google https://www.google.com/analytics/ but then the stats from Google quickly become an information overload, sometimes its best not to wonder 🙂
    I’d guess that the clicks part of the stats would give a clue to those who started late and then went back, and of course the possibility that people started at the end, realised, and then went to the start then came back, thus appearing in the stats twice. Now my heads hurting 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The strange mysteries of the internet, Pete. In many cases, the “numbers just don’t add up” – seems hard to imagine that someone would jump in on the dress shopping, for example, with no real idea of what put her in the shop!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My thoughts exactly, John. I am happy that anyone reads anything on this blog of course, but I still wonder they they might read the end of a serial, knowing nothing about what went before. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Time, my friend. We want to jump to the ending because there’s no time for all the “filler” stuff. — I’m teasing. I like a story chronologically and rarely jump to the end of the book to find out what happened–UNLESS it’s a long book, I’ve run out of time reading it, and I think, well, half is better than nothing. I read all four parts in order and commented.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know you did, Cindy. I am aware of all of those who read the whole thing, but there were almost twice as many who didn’t comment, but read some parts, and not others. It isn’t a big deal, it just interests me.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A blog audience is not the same as the audience for fictional writing Pete. Those are my thoughts. I love fiction so I really enjoy your stories. Beautifully written and designed and they pull me in. It’s surprising but many people don’t like or read fiction!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s not that people don’t read them, Felicity, but they read them out of order, and often leave the beginning or end out completely, judging by the figures. It is true that the blogging audience is very different, but I still wonder why someone might invest time in 3,000+ words, yet never read the first episode. 🙂 Life’s strange!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Maybe it has something to do with the titles of your chapters? For example, some people, alerted by email that you’d posted a blog entry entitled “Late Night Shopping,” may have popped in to check out an essay about shopping at night, only to discover that the blog entry was part of a serial.

        Liked by 2 people

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