Some readers have asked me, (actually informed me that it annoys them,) if a story is complete, why do I insist on posting my longer tales, one chapter at a time?
Well – not always, but most often -- I post the chapters of my stories on consecutive days for one specific purpose. (Although other writers might do so for different reasons.) But my reason really is not for the cliff-hanger effect; although that does very often influence exactly where I chop some tales up.
In most of my mystery type tales, I try to mislead (Or should that be, misdirect?) the reader, with false clues or scents, whenever I can come up with something.
Hopefully not too obvious, but with a little luck they will steer reader’s minds astray. But at the same time, I try (whenever possible) to leave little clues about how the tale will really end.
Now, the only way that I can discover whether my attempted misdirection’s have worked, or not. Is through the feedback emails that come in about those individual chapters.
Very kindly, some readers write to tell me where they think the tale is going as they progress through it. A goldmine of useful information for me (as a writer) is contained in those brief emails.
Through them, I’m learning (I hope) exactly how obvious or hidden I can make those clues to the outcome. And whether hinted at false leads (like Sandra, in Minerva) did their job by muddying the waters a little in the earlier stages of the tale. Some readers, did wonder when she was going to reappear again.
I no-longer post stories over an extended period of time, because I made the decision not to post any tale that isn’t complete. So when the first chapter appears on the Internet that whole tale will be along very quickly.
However I do have to leave at least a twenty-four hour period between posting each chapter. To give those very kind people (who I'm greatly indebted to) the time to read the chapter and then forward their observations on to me. If the following chapter adds (as it could and should do) another clue, then the people, who do write, might not bother to mention their earlier impressions.
But I also have to add, that there are also times when I think a story is so long that I split it into chapters, purely to give the reader convenient points where they can take a break off from reading. Navigations points if you will.
One can’t fold down the corner of a page on a computer screen like you can in a hard-copy book, and not everyone reads the whole of a tale at one sitting, or on the same computer. (Some folks have to actually do their bosses work sometimes, and they might have to finish reading a story at home, or even tomorrow lunch time.)
Besides, here for instance, I use three computers on a regular basis. My main computer is in my study, laptop in the lounge and I use my workshop/bench computer when I’m working on other people’s machines. Switching from one to another, as circumstance dictates.
DC aka Denham Forrest