Over the course of the last few weeks, I asked you to select which of three stories I would tell as a new serial free fiction-by-subscription offering to begin later this summer. “Walk Like A Stranger: Passing Through Home” earned 43% of the vote, squeaking by with 7% more votes than the runner up and twice as many as the last place selection.
“Walk Like A Stranger: Passing Through Home” is set in my wholly original fantasy storyworld, The Shaper’s World. Here’s how I described it last month:
All new priests of the Shaper of the World embark on a Walk, wandering the continent of Kaebrith “like a stranger,” observing and recording all they encounter to add to the repository of knowledge at the Library of Vale while gradually strengthening their own relationship with their god… and the formidable powers gained through that holy connection.
When his own Walk takes him through the village of his birth, can Tae Keb ignore the injustice and brutality of a local warlord, or will he abandon his god to save his home?
There are a few reasons I’m looking forward to this:
Itching To Get Back To Fiction
I finished the first draft of Pilgrimage four months ago to the day. It still took up a good bit of my creative energy thanks to editing, revising, and so on… and I still have ebook and paperback layout finishing touches to apply, so I’m not completely done. Never mind the marketing machine that’s about to rev up!
Still, it’s been four months since I’ve spent any creative energy on new fiction, and I really wanna.
The Technical Challenge
Before I started writing Pilgrimage, I embarked on a directed self-study of story structure, literary subtlety, and deliberate theming. My coursework was (and is) dramatic television, novels, films, and the very helpful Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. I think it paid off… and I think I learned even more in the actual process of writing the book. I’d better have, frankly!
“Walk Like A Stranger: Passing Through Home” will, I hope, continue my education. It’s time to see if a lifetime’s lessons at the school-by-osmosis in the field of episodic fiction — via dramatic television, soap operas, and the pinnacle of the form, Silver Age comicbooks — has sunk in.
The Distribution and Monetization Model
“Walk Like A Stranger: Passing Through Home” will be a free fiction-by-subscription serial released via email.
As some of you might recall, I tried a fiction-by-subscription project four or five years ago, but it was for-pay and involved a website, memberships, setting up limited access, and a whole host of upkeep and maintenance headaches.
To execute this free fiction by subscription distribution and monetization model, I’ll need a sign-up page and an Aweber account. Period.
Why Is This A Free Fiction Offering?
Because I want your email address, and the permission to, now and then, sell you products and services from myself and others.
I will have a pay-what-you-want option available if you want to be a patron of the project or give a tip for a specific episode that rocked your socks.
Also, once the 52-installment arc of “Passing Through Home” is complete, I’ll package it as a novel in various ebook and print formats — and subscribers will have the opportunity to purchase that collected edition at a substantial discount before it goes on the market. Of course, I’ll also (conceivably) earn income from the collected edition as it finds a new audience outside of my subscriber base.
So, while I’m not going to charge anyone to subscribe to this “free” fiction project, I do intend to earn an income from it!
Why A Subscription Instead Of Posting To A Website?
Because I want your email address, and the permission to, now and then, sell you products and services from myself and others. See above.
Why Email? Why Not RSS, Or An App?
Because I want your email address, and the permission to, now and then, sell you products and services from myself and others…
…and because email is ubiquitous.
You already have it. You won’t have to go anywhere you don’t already go, download anything you don’t already have, or use a specific device to access your subscription. Easy peasy, for you and for me.
The Shaper’s World is a “wholly original” fantasy setting. That means no elves, no orcs, no re-skinned historical Earth culture, and no illogical monster ecology, economy, or geography.
That said, the characters in “Walk Like A Stranger: Passing Through Home” are (practically) humans, so you won’t be dealing with completely alien stuff — you’ll be able to root for, feel for, and hiss at the people you meet in the free fiction you read. The culture will feel familiar enough to not require a ton of exposition.
And there might be a little magic. But I promise to do my best not to put the characters through unnecessary hell so long as there are giant eagles that could get the job done in a minute, if you know what I mean.
The Shaper’s World is one of the first storyworlds I conceived (its roots go back as far as the proto-Sovereign Era I created in the eighties!) but I’ve yet to successfully bring it to life in a major work. I’m… well, stoked would not be too strong of a word to describe how I feel about playing with it now!
You Said I Should Do This!
Okay, granted, you didn’t all say I should do this, but no one said I shouldn’t, and enough of you seemed excited about the idea, and about “Walk Like A Stranger: Passing Through Home” in particular, that I’m pleased to be proceeding with the plan. I’m grateful for that!
The subscriptions for “Walk Like A Stranger: Passing Through Home” will open this summer. Please make sure you’re on my e-mail newsletter mailing list so you’re notified as soon as the free fiction project is live!
And thanks! This is going to be a bunch of fun.