In Triplicate: Final Thoughts

Well, it’s that time again. The book is drawing to a close (but hasn’t quite finished yet), and I’m looking forward to the next one. Looking back on it… I have mixed feelings.

Personally, I think this is the better story in every way. The characters are more dynamic, actually act instead of wait to be acted upon, and have more interesting adventures and interactions. Plus, I think the writing’s improved and I managed to stay on task rather than be dragged around at random. As such, this book is roughly 40% smaller than Death of a Hero.

My viewership, by most evidence, disagrees. My total readership have been declining slowly but consistently since the start of In Triplicate. I have 20% fewer votes on Top Web Fiction (despite me never once requesting them in DoaH. There have been little, if any, word of mouth recommendation for this book, and only one donation in the months it’s been going. By all ‘marketing’ standards, it’s a dismal showing.

I admit, it stings a little to see that happening. I do my best to keep a thick skin and remind myself that I am far from the first (or best) artist to be painting in the dark, but it certainly stings a little.

 

Perhaps ironically, I now have my Patreon up and running. It will be linked in front shortly.

https://www.patreon.com/user?u=3100240&ty=h

 

In focusing on the future, I have decisions to make and votes to see from the readers as to what I start next. No, the generic, ‘whatever you feel like’ doesn’t work. I feel like doing all of them. Reality says it’ll take years to make all these stories happen.

All emboldened books are available for reader input and interest, while the other titles are not yet an option. As is the tradition, I’ll be taking a week off once finished with In Triplicate to rest and give my brain a cleanser. I’ll appreciate all feedback you have to offer on the strengths and weaknesses of this book, and where you think I should go in the future.

 

Threefold: The continuation of In Triplicate, this will be the direct sequel, with further exploration of Pairbonds, the conflict between heritage (both the literal word, and the group), morality, and the nature of fate.

UnspokenArianna’s story. A story that plans to focus on transgender issues, with a FtM main… and he happens to be a mob princess. Also some thinly veiled jabs at real Chicago politics.

Nothing Given: Tentative title for Anima’s turn as a main character. It’s the direct sequel to Death of a Hero. I think enough of the Pairbond interaction has been shown through In Triplicate that this book is now viable.

Buyer’s Remorse: Sequel to Nothing Given. Obviously not happening now.

Overdue: This book ties the In Triplicate and Death of a Hero storylines together. As of right now, it’s the final planned book in both series. But, hey, by the time I finish all currently planned books, it’ll be 2018 or so. I’ll probably have more ideas by then.

Blue Steel: New on the list, Blue Steel follows a more adult cast of characters than have been seen in my books thus far. The main characters are part of an elite black ops organization dealing with high threat Imbued. Because unlike most stories… the government is actually remotely competent in Price. What a concept!!!

Paid In Blood: Akaihana’s story. This story focuses on what is functionally a succubus as a main character. Unsubtle reference and exploration of hypersexuality as a disorder. Treated with respect.

Double Billing: A story of pairbonded siblings, one a hero and one a villain.

Of a Dream: Follows a character whose power is to enter and influence the dreams of other Imbued. A story where I *legitimately* delve into race relations, and the cycle of violence, from both sides of the fence. Sort of indirect sequel to Double Billing.

Rebirth: Featuring a mind control Gadgeteer as the hero protagonist. The nature of faith gets explored here.

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53 thoughts on “In Triplicate: Final Thoughts

  1. I am definitely voting for Threefold. I’ve been enjoying In Triplicate, but the books are so short! It feels like they just *stop* at the end rather that wrapping up. Is that because you’re doing sequels to them, or is that just an internet author thing? I’ve been reading it all, but I don’t tend to vote for or comment on things much, if at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s a matter of perception. Because you’re getting them one chapter at a time, you get to take the story piecemeal rather than all at once. To give you some perspective:

      In Triplicate is almost certainly going to be over 90k when finished.Which makes it roughly the same size as George Orwell’s 1984. Not gonna claim the same quality of work, but definitely same quantity.

      Death of a Hero, as a book, actually has more words than A Tale of Two Cities. More happens in it,too- Dickens novels are a slow read at best. Good. But slow.

      In any case, vote tallied up.

      Like

  2. Personally I did like “In Triplicate” much better than DOAH. One of the biggest complaints that I see on other web-serial sites is the multiple POVs. I like them, and I found the story to be much more compelling with them.

    The other reason for the story to be dropped is the change in characters. Zach was funny in a highly sarcastic, yet realistic way. Humor was way less present in this book. People like funny.

    These may be possible reason for a smaller readership.
    I found the story to be very good, and I will continue to read whatever you put out. Don’t feel a need to pander to the masses, and keep the quality of your stories up. Each character you create feels real for a reason. Don’t feel a need to add pieces to a character where it won’t fit.

    If possible I would like to see a book where the acutal prices for many of the surges are expanded. Zach seemed to adapt to his losses in a way that didn’t really make them seem that bad.

    I also love how you actually respond to the comments, and give us extra info that may not show up in the books.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks. I try to keep up with the readers interested enough to get invested in the storytelling and world development. Plus it helps me put my house in order on things I may not have considered at first.

      Avoiding too much exposition at once is another thing I try to focus on, but I think I can work some info on the nature of the prices later. Actually, I have a perfect place for it in Blue Steel.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Honestly, i kinda preferred DOAH more than this one, but i think thats because Zach was funnier? idk, i just really like amusing protagonists, but id like to read Threefold next because i did like this book and am interested in more. Also would like to read Blue Steel because it sounds more action packed. keep up the good work! :)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Personally I preferred DOAH, the characters were just more interesting. Plus I found that focusing on a single main worked much better than switching between 3. I’d want to see nothing given as the next story

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I also liked DOAH better for the fact that it’s characters may not have been better, but what there was of them caused a more enjoyable read. With In Triplicate you’ve done some good world building, and the characters seem more fleshed out, but they are just missing that special ‘something’ to make the jump from a good read, to a great read… That said, I can’t define what that special something is, and it’s almost certainly different for everyone.

    Also, voting for Threefold next.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have really enjoyed both of your stories so far. I think on an overall basis Triplicate is a better story but especially Zach was a more likeable and funny main character than Chloe or Dom (though I am really beginning to love Doms character). The story in Triplicate is better than in DoaH and I find the idea of expanding on the pairbond and learning more about Heritage very appealing.
    So I vote Threefold.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hmmm…The story not being over yet makes it hard to truly cast a vote, but if the ending is indeed satisfying and ties things up well then it should be good to move to other characters for the simple reason that otherwise there would be no point in dividing the story in two books.

    So as for what I would like to read next well this one is quite difficult as now the book I was most excited about is avaiable as an option(that would be Rebirth)and that there is a new one that find just as exciting.

    Depending on the Rebirth’s lead age I would give an edge to Blue Steel to it seeming to have a more adult cast, as it would change a bit from the teen Drama and because I want to see Tananari handling an adult cast plus this book seems to be a great way to learn more about the Price world at large that and also the Black ops/Governement/spy side of said world is something I am very curious to see.

    In fact the Ideal set up for me would be either Rebirth or Blue Steel next and the one that did not make it after that.

    As for why DoaH was more popular well I think it owes a lot to Zach’s character who was funny and rather likeable with a cast just as good, while in Triplicate had less humor and Chloe was not really that likeable(at least to me)and since she is a PoV character…yeah.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Either’s fine by me really so yes put Rebirth down for me…Of course if Blue steel just happens to be tied with another book that is not Rebirth you can count my vote as another for Blue Steel so it prevails.

        I’ll say this again though: I do not see the point in separating the Triplicate’s story in two if you put the second part right away, but that’s just me.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. To me Double Billing sounds really cool.

    Concerning loss of readership during In Triplicate, I agree with some other commenters that it’s not an issue of quality but of taste. People generally like getting into one character’s head and following their actions. It probably hurt you early on that the characters seemed to be on completely different tracks with little apparent connection. That, combined with the pretty harsh first chapter, may have turned some people off enough that they stopped checking in.

    Also, I could see it being an issue that most of Dom and Chloe’s problems aren’t something that they can go out and solve on their own. You can’t just roll up your sleeves and punch racial injustice, socioeconomic issues, disillusionment with family, or abhorrent ideology. Compare that to Zach who focused on killing Kitten, exploring his powers, and handling bullshit at school. He could deal with those much more directly. It reminds me of Ghost Story from the Dresden Files in a way. That book was frustrating because for much of it, Dresden had very little agency. It doesn’t mean that it or In Triplicate are poorly written by any means, just that it isn’t as easy to satisfy readers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most of my stories are going to focus on things that you can’t get rid of via punching them. DoaH wasn’t an exception to that rule, but yeah, I did give him things he could punch. I’ll keep that in mind in the future.

      Like

      1. I, for one, am completely down with more complex narratives. However, when you are considering voting patterns, there’s no way to get away from the influence of the lowest common denominator.

        While most of the stories making it on topwebfiction are generally good and thus don’t assume their readers are completely braindead, the big ones do still tend toward the more direct antagonists.

        If you keep your work high concept, then you may have to accept that you may not ever top the ratings online. Is that really much of a problem though? As long as you’re still up there you’ll still be getting significant exposure and, one presumes, fresh readers.

        On another note, with how you seem to be setting up this universe as a series of contained narratives, it may behoove you to cater somewhat to readers who enjoy consuming a complete story. With more separate stories coming in the near future, I would advise Header links leading to the start of each story in a drop-down menu.

        It would also help to have a general introduction to your world at some point. Otherwise, your only options are to include an infodump in each work or assume everyone has read everything else you’ve written. Neither of which are super great assumptions.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s a problem if I hope to make a career as a writer, I would think. But, yeah, I’m sticking to the High Concept. Because that’s who I am and what I love.

          I have the “general introduction” to my world. It’s literally the home page of the site, and it tells you what you need to settle in and read a story on its own.

          Don’t know how to do menus well, and I borked my site a few times trying. I’m running with completed books listed at the top in order, and the current book chapters listed at the bottom.

          I’ll be imitating the late, great Terry Pratchett in regard to exposition. Sparse at best, what’s necessary to understand the story kept in the story, but not enough to overwhelm.

          Still, only the people who read everything will get everything.

          Like

          1. Naturally, keep to high concept and preserve your integrity, I only make that point in reference to your mentions of vote counts.

            As for the Home page issue, that comes down to many other sites using the home page as a listing of recent posts. As long as you’re on something like wordpress it really might help to have a non-spoiler Setting page as well. Hell, if you can get someone to help you with menus, you could just have a non-spoiler and spoiler setting page pretty easy. Also, it could help to set up an option for people to get an email notification when a book finishes. That could help to ameliorate reader loss somewhat.

            I do want to mention that I am completely in support of you not spoon-feeding exposition. Hell, probably the single biggest fantasy author of today, Brandon Sanderson, manages to, even with mediocre writing skill, enthrall readers because he put a lot of thought into his setting and reveals. For a better example, Malazan. Incredible worldbuilding can do great things for an author.

            Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m excited for Paid in Blood, Rebirth, and Unspoken. If I had to choose one… Paid in Blood.

    Not so hyped for Nothing Given, Blue Steel, Double Billing, or Of a Dream.

    Threefold…. eh. I’m not all that into In Triplicate, so I have mixed feelings about a sequel. It seems like it could give this story room to become something amazing, but I’m not really that invested at the moment.

    I did find In Triplicate difficult at first, with viewpoint switching between 3-4 characters (it settled on 2 main ones, but still) and no initial connection between them. Plus, metallokinesis and flying-brute are just less interesting/weird powers compared to Zach’s respawn-teleportation thing, which was new, interesting, and interacted well with his personality. I feel like the story only introduced it’s central concept (threeway pairbond) and brought it’s central characters together in the last few chapters, so I was a bit surprised to find out that it’s finishing soon. I know there’s a sequel planned and a few more chapters to go, but I have my doubts about how well it’ll hold up as a story on it’s own.

    Whatever you write, I’ll trust that it’ll be good enough to stick around for.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. One of the things I missed in In Triplicate was spending some more time with the side characters. I love Bea and Nanna, and I’d like to see more of them! Plus we know next to nothing about Chloe’s family, and that makes it really hard to care about Starfall’s death, even though we get to see its effect on Chloe. This wasn’t a problem in DoaH. It might be because the focus wasn’t split between two characters, maybe it’s because so much of the focus was about school life, or maybe because non-Imbued, non-POV characters like Laura and their mom played an actual role. We barely see any school stuff here, even though Dom’s supposed to be an excellent student. TBH, both he and Chloe kinda seem like losers just because we don’t see any of their friends.
    I do think it’s a plus that the story stayed on track better, but what I’m trying to say is that it’s ok to be slower-paced in non-action parts. It helps me care so much more about the characters.

    Anyway, I think I’d vote for Blue Steel. I’d like to see a story from another perspective (AKA not teen vigilante), and I’m intrigued by this completely new, absolutely original idea of a competent government (who knew?!) Plus, a completely new story could shift focus away from the (rather alarming) first chapter of In Triplicate. For story purposes it works right where it is, but if that was the first thing I read, I wouldn’t have stayed either. That kind of thing needs trust between writer and reader.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fair points. Perhaps in the final rewrite I can add a couple more chapters about school and/or home life. I felt like it dragged DoaH out too long thanks to putting too much effort. There’s a reason I aligned this story up to the end of the school year.

      Like

      1. It could work if they were in the beginning. It would give a bit of time to cool off after the first wham chapter, and give us a chance to get to know Chloe and Dom before their lives go to shit. With a side benefit of uneasy distrust, a la “oh god something’s gonna go horribly wrong.”

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I gotta agree. It could help flesh out the characters to see Dom ruefully observing his nerd friends geeking about powers or him looking down on Bea’s friends even more in the context of powers and power. It might even be worthwhile to get extended Dom and Chloe POVs prior to getting powers to set up some parallels between them and H&K.

          Liked by 1 person

  11. I thought DOAH and In Triplicate were both good. They were just different. You explored different topics, and built your universe. Since pairbonds seems to be a big future focus for you it was a good idea to do In Triplicate. My vote would either be for Nothing Given or Blue Steel. I want to see what happens after DOAH, but I also like the idea of mature characters dealing with high powered Imbued. Its always fun to se what a competent government can do.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. More punching is good, there really was bugger-all action in In Triplicate I’ve already mentioned the multi-pov thing possibly putting people off so as far as critique goes that’s it :)
    My vote would be for Nothing Given, partially because I like Anima as a character and would like to learn more, partially because I’m a greedy prick and want to be able to binge DoAH\In Triplicate in full and their crossover\finale as soon as possible :D

    Liked by 1 person

  13. My vote would be for Threefold, followed by Paid in Blood, then Blue Steel. Nothing against Anima, but I would like to see more of the world fleshed out through the new characters that I have not yet seen. I love what you are building, and am glad to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. That’s because you need to advertise like mad. You are your own marketer, at the end of the day.

    Advertise on popular forums, Pimp your ass on tvtropes, do whatever you can do.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It still helps. I found Worm because of it being entry pimped to hell, and most webcomics from discussion threads or reccomendations by other authors.

        Like

  15. I really want to read Blue Steel, because it sounds like it could be a fun look on the other side of the fence when it comes to Imbued and authority. But it also sounds like the beginning of another story line which may not be what you need right now. It might be safer to stick with a sequel to one of the previous books, given the drop in readership you had going from DoaH to In Triplicate.

    So, that being said I would cast my vote for Nothing Given. I think Anima is an interesting character, the few bits of her personality that we saw in DoaH painted an intriguing picture. Cursed with overwhelming strength, constantly afraid of people realizing that she is so powerful and that all of her summons are the worst sorts of monsters, having to be creative just to not kill stuff every time she uses her power. And maybe the occasional bit of Zach tossed in to help lighten things up.

    It kind of sucks to have to take things like “which story will pull in the most readers” into account, since it might narrow down your choices, but I would also much rather see you succeed early so that you can keep the writing going and get to those other story lines. I would be pretty jazzed if you ended up as a kind of webserial-Pratchett, juggling a couple of different stories all in the same universe.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’d like to vote for either Blue Steel or Unspoken. Blue Steel a tiny bit more.

    I enjoy both of your books, in different ways. Things I didn’t like with In Triplicate:
    – Good Characters’ motivations were really muddled. Domenic wanted to make money while keeping a mostly normal life, but also wanted to do good and fix people. Chloe wants to do good, but also do right by Dom, get revenge, and keep in touch with her brothers
    – Evil seems to be winning. Even when they kill Killer, it doesn’t seem to be quite an achievement, since they’re fated to do so.
    – Powers aren’t explored in as much detail. The characters spend one chapter each getting to know their powers, or automatically/already know everything they can do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Humans are complicated. If your motivations don’t get muddled, you’re a robot.

      Evil and good aren’t things that can ‘win’. They’re part of the human condition, present in every living person, not some nebulous anthropomorphic entities. Also… I think the (more or less) good guys won in both book. Maybe not perfect victories, but victories none the less.

      Get used to that. I despise “how do I shoot web?” scenes. So those get the fast forward button. Except for Cora, with her “super ninja instinct” power she automagically knows what she can do.

      Like

  17. Honestly, I just thought I’d give you a little time to write before I returned. You wrote a lot more than I thought though. I’m gonna have to read your new story now.

    Pretty sure a lot of people come to read a story they like. Just because you start a new story doesn’t mean they’ll all keep reading. That and death of a hero took longer than this one and built up a bit larger viewer base.

    Don’t sweat a twenty percent drop too much, readers are a fickle bunch.

    Like

  18. Nothing given or blue steel.

    I like stories with a complex multi-layered interaction, but worry that pairbonds are going to eat up a lot of the ‘story space’

    That being said i love your writing. I will read whatever you write with deep enjoyment.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. You telegraphed that the fate modification would bring her home. The death of her mother did not seem to accomplish that.

    The psycho set that suddenly splits up with one of them joining the protagonists was pretty sudden.

    This entire sequence seemed to have more art in the writing but less pay-off, if that makes any sense.

    Experienced heroes with broad power sets get whacked pretty easy by psychotics on a rampage.

    I’m kind of terse, but I have to admit of all the things you’ve written and that I’ve followed through the various books, this gave me the least to consistently follow/identify with and the most confusion/lease emotional pay-off or satisfaction, especially in the twists at the end.

    Like

    1. 1- Starfall’s human. And therefor prone to both failure and incorrect assumptions. Don’t think that just because a character thinks something is true, that it is then therefor true.

      2- Yeup. ‘Twas the goal. Terrifying how powerful Pairbonds and Surges can be, ain’t it?

      3- Mortals Make Mistakes. Also, if you paid attention to Granny: the Loa don’t like people murdering their peeps, and retaliate by setting up lethal dominoes to land on the killers. Not that you should believe everything the Greenwitch has to say, either.

      4- I’d rather write an honest story than a narratively convenient one. The story of life is rarely so clean or straightforward.

      Like

  20. Of a dream. Run the cycle of characters, ideas, and main concepts before drawing the noose shut and closing out the series. Don’t worry too much about viwership too much my friend. If nothing else, you’ll write well for yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I’ve been pretty busy in these last couple of months, so I’m one of the viewers you lost during In Triplicate. I just want to tell you I’ve really liked this.
    The characters are really interesting, in particular Chloe discovering just how much bias she has absorbed; the plot is quite nice (especially due to the “can’t punch away part someone mentioned above); and the pairbond gave me shivers.
    DoaH was good, but this was even better.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I would like to add that, although the voting is obviously over, my vote would have gone to Double Billing – the Pairbond thing was really impressive to me.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Honestly… after I’m done with Blue Steel, I think I’ll be going back to do the sequels to Death of a Hero and In Triplicate. Perhaps even their joint sequel after that. Either way, I’m fairly certain they’re next.

          Liked by 1 person

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