ATL’s One-Year Anniversary

ATL: Stories from the Retrofuture started one year ago today.

(Or, tomorrow, I guess. But it was the final Tuesday of September, okay? It counts. It does.)

One year ago, I set up atl.quinlancircle.com. And one year ago, I found out that I had no idea how to use WordPress to any functionality, delaying the start of my web serial by at least a week.

So… With a half-finished website and frantic last-second edits to my story draft, I posted the first chapter of The Social Media Killer and held my breath. And then… I waited.

People were impressed by the cover art by amoxli, which garnered and still garners universal praise. Family and friends gave the usual compliments and some of them even read a little bit. But what I wanted to see was: would ATL be the kind of story that people actually wanted to read? Was this endeavor even going to work?

The answer… took a while.

Those first few months were a bit rough. With few readers, fewer comments, and a story whose appeal I was genuinely unsure of, it was hard to keep myself optimistic about whether or not people would enjoy the mysteries and adventures of Morgan Harding & Pals. Was the story too low-concept? Were the characters a bit too quirky for The Social Media Killer‘s relatively serious plot? Self-doubt is something that plagues all authors, but it’s a whole lot worse when you’re posting stories seemingly into the void, I’ll tell you that.

But I knew I had to be patient. I bided (bade?) my time, waited for that first spark–and finally got it when ATL was listed on Web Fiction Guide in December, coinciding very nicely with the end of its first story. Readership spiked. Regular commenters started popping up (especially you, Hejin), and the story finally started to make its place in the wide world of web fiction.

It’s meant so much to me to see people enjoy this story. Every comment, every review, every snarky insult–it moves me emotionally. It really does. Thank you so much for your support.

Since the beginning a whole lot has changed for ATL. For me, too. I mean, I’m living and working in Japan now, something I had no clue I’d be doing when I posted the first chapter. But the story’s had a lot of good moments. Probably some bad ones, too, but I don’t care about that. For any faults I may have with everything so far, I’ve had a great time with ATL so far.

It’s (for now) being posted on two new sites– Wattpad and Royal Road–and it’s already on its seventh story, The New Knights. We’ve gone through closing in on 200,000 words. We’ve had a crossword puzzle, an in-story TV sitcom, a chooseable-path-adventure chapter, a noncanon movie script… It’s fair to say that ATL has gone to some odd places already, and I love it.

It all started with a discontent, superpowered slacker getting beaten up, and then going on an adventure to uncover the identity of a digital serial killer. One year ago today.

Here’s to one year with Morgan Harding.

We love you, Morgan

(Also, I refuse to write a sentimental blog post about it, but happy one-year anniversary to that other serial story that I started on a whim as a way to cool off from ATL but then turned into a ridiculous behemoth.)

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