I have just spent the night brainstorming for my epic, Slizers on Mata-Nui. In general terms, it's an epic where I find something interesting to put in, and then run with it, like I had planned it all along. For instance, there was the use of the Vahki, which came out of nowhere, and the inclusion of Sunari, which was for a contest. But a while back I started a time line for the epic, placing basic events in the order I'd like to write them in. I revise it and move stuff around as I actually come to write about things, but I have some of the major twists and turns preplanned, such as the Matoran's initial capture, the attack by One-arm, and stuff like that. It's basic, pretty much saying who'll be doing what, when, where, and against who. Sometimes not even that much. It's crude, but it helps to guide me when I'm creating future chapters.
Well, I've spent a good portion of the night lengthening that time line. It's taking up a lot of room in Excel, but it's good. There are lots of fun things I have planned out, and now I know where to put them chronologically. And I was also able to determine where specific characters will get their chance to shine. I really can't wait to write this, but I know the process can be slow when I get hung up on certain chapters. And I don't always get hung up on the same kinds of things... peaceful, planning chapters can be difficult if I want to foreshadow something that I haven't yet thought up, but if I know what I want beforehand they're easy to write. If I have already choreographed a fight in my hand, putting it into writing usually isn't too bad, but if I haven't some fights can take a painfully long time to write. That, and sometimes my inspiration just runs dry, or my time fills up. I can not make writing a career, because I have such a problematic style. But I'm not writing for cash... even if anybody'd pay me... I'm writing 'cause I enjoy to and I like to see other people enjoying my epics too.
But, here's the thing... I have things planned up to 80 chapters, and that's just approaching the end. My biggest epic so far, Time Disruption, ended at about 63 chapters. However, it had a rather abrupt ending... a big, lengthy struggle was interrupted and a quick conclusion was drawn. I liked it that way because it didn't drag out an endless storyline... I had already summed up the minor character struggles and it was then simply a matter of holding out. One big battle was good, but I didn't want more and more of the same types of battles, so I used a wild card and took the main characters to a place where they could "make things right" and secure their friendship. That was, as I've said, 63 chapters. The chapter lengths were also shorter (although the spelling and grammar was worst) than SoMN, and posted more frequently. (Well, maybe not, but I managed to keep a bunch of reviewers until the very end).
Slizers on Mata-Nui had already lost most reviewers, with a few still hanging in at 57 chapters. But can they hang in for 20 more chapters, especially when I can't promise that I can post them in a timely manner? When does an epic become too long that nobody bothers to every read it unless they were around when it first began?
I don't know. I do know that when I post something and nobody replies, it makes me feel sad. I have seriously almost been put off writing a few times because of how poorly my epics have been reviewed here. But SoMN has a few constant reviewers, so I hope they can hang on until the end. And even if they drop off (be warned, Kumata, you drop this and I drop your epics too...
) I'll probably still post chapters. Since I started this epic in 2005, I've returned to it numerous times after long blackout periods. It would be really cool to see it concluded in a manner I like. And, even if it flops, I can work on other epics. Many Adventures is actually doing rather well for an epic with a new idea to it... reviewer participation ever time!
If you haven't read either of the epics, I'd recommend them right away. but that's because I wrote them and I crave reviews. I honestly don't expect most people to take up the first 57 chapters of SoMN right now so they can see the conclusion in later chapters. But, hey, it's always worth a shot.
And for those of you who do read SoMN... expect some really fun twists and turns. There are a couple of characters that I haven't used to their full potential, and now it's coming out. I'm going to have so much fun writing this!