About

An introverted teenage girl with an unconventional superpower, Taylor goes out in costume to find escape from a deeply unhappy and frustrated civilian life. Her first attempt at taking down a supervillain sees her mistaken for one, thrusting her into the midst of the local ‘cape’ scene’s politics, unwritten rules, and ambiguous morals. As she risks life and limb, Taylor faces the dilemma of having to do the wrong things for the right reasons.

The story, titled Worm, takes the form of a web serial, posted in bite-sized reads in much the same way that authors such as Mark Twain would release their works one chapter at a time in the days before full-fledged novels.  Worm started in June 2011, updating twice a week, and finished in late November, 2013.  It totals roughly 1,750,000 words; roughly 26 typical novels in length (or 10-11 very thick novels).  The story updated on Tuesdays and Saturdays, with bonus chapters appearing on the occasional Thursday, as explained below.

The actual work is divided into a number of story arcs, each containing five to sixteen individual chapters.  Interludes (side stories) are inserted between each story arc to showcase events from different perspectives or provide some background information that the reader wouldn’t get from Taylor’s point of view.  Further interludes were released as bonus content when the audience reached specific donation goals, but these were found to distract from the core story (with a good reception, but still) and were paced out more in favor of additional main-story chapters.

Readers should be cautioned that Worm is fairly dark as fiction goes, and it gets far darker as the story progresses.  Morality isn’t black and white, Taylor and her acquaintances aren’t invincible, the heroes aren’t winning the war between right and wrong, and superpowers haven’t necessarily affected society for the better.  Just the opposite on every count, really.  Even on a more fundamental level, Taylor’s day to day life is unhappy, with her clinging to the end of her rope from the story’s outset.  The denizens of the Wormverse (as readers have termed it) don’t pull punches, and I try to avoid doing so myself, as a writer.  There’s graphic language, descriptions of violence and sex does happen (albeit offscreen).  It would be easier to note the trigger warnings that don’t apply than all the ones that do.

All in all, this probably isn’t a story for the sensitive or the young.  I’d peg it with a PG-18 rating, but I think we all know that there’s kids who can handle that sort of thing and there’s adults who can’t.  Use your best judgement and ask in the comments below if you’re still unsure.

If I haven’t scared you off yet, you can begin reading Taylor’s story here.  Enjoy.

56 thoughts on “About

  1. You really need a table of contents. I started reading this story before, but now I’ve no idea how to find where I was, or even the latest entry.

  2. I’m curious. Is there any chance of this coming in an ebook format? I generally dislike reading anything extended on a monitor.

    • Considering either working with 1889 labs if they’re willing (which would mean the whole editing/production process would only start in 2013 at the earliest) or self-publishing (which might fit that same timetable).

      Short answer: Yes.
      Long answer: Yes, but it’ll probably be a little while.

      • i also dont like reading books on pc so i went through every chapter. copied them into ritch text format and then converted them to epub file but it had the down side of me missing a few chapter here and there by mistake. so now im constantly having to check the website to see if i missed a chapter or its just a timeskip. if you could make just a rough epub file for each arc and add it as a donating incetive till you get a proper published version that would be realy nice.

          • Hi, it’s 2014. Any updates?

            I’d really like to read your story, but it’s very, very cumbersome in its current format for a variety of reasons I’m sure you’ve been told a hundred times over. I’m willing to buy the ebook.

            • Same… I wouldn’t mind having to pay for an ebook. Or even if you had it divided into sections, to buy a section of it or two for when I don’t have access to my laptop.

              • I did make an “easy to read” version of this by downloading all the pages and removing everything other than the text of the book. Happy to share it with individual readers (unless wildbow will object, which he has, numerous times).

  3. Hi, I’m looking at web serials as part of my Master’s thesis and want to compare other people’s experience with mine. I was wondering if you would be willing to ‘talk’ with me further about this? Thanks.

    • Not a problem. You can email me at wildbowpig (at) gmail com or reach me on google talk at the same address. I frequently afk from my computer, so please don’t be offended if I’m late in replying to an IM.

    • Thanks for the offer, Um.

      Afraid I don’t have anything particular – I don’t have access to my regular computer (away for 3 weeks) and all I’ve really got is the cover image I use for Worm on my ebook reader:
      http://i46.tinypic.com/5ogh3k.jpg

      It’s unpolished though, mainly a placeholder – I simply used the image i had for the banner.

  4. [ Her first attempt*s* at taking down a supervillain *to see* her mistaken for one, and things snowball from there.]

    Not singular, as in “first attempt”? In any case, the “to” is out of place. A bit jarring to see an error here, when I have yet to spot one in the story. Kudos to you – and editors/proofreaders, if any, very impressive.

      • Agreed. I’ve been meaning to post a comment on here saying that “snowball” doesn’t begin to cover it. Though that what proceed to happen was so understated was actually really funny.

  5. I just started reading Worm and I am thoroughly enjoying it thus far!
    I’m also totally interested in writing a review of it. Is there a banner or image in particular you’d like for me to associate with Worm?

    Thanks for your time!

  6. Discovered your story last week and I have spent every spare moment reading it (I’m already on 11e). I have referred it to at least 10 other people as well. I’ve got to tell you, I have teared up, cursed at the monitor, let go of a lung full of air in relief of a tense moment…point being, you are fucking talented. I can’t remember the last time a story has captivated my emotions like this.

    I wanted to talk to you about something but I am having a hard time finding your email address on here. Is there a contacts page that I’m not seeing? Anyway; if you could indulge me a bit of your time, I would like to talk to you via email of an idea I think you may like.

    Seriously, this is an excellent story; very well written. I would even volunteer to format and edit your work to make a good .pdf for everyone that desires it. We can talk about this and other stuff in the email.

    Thank you for your time,

    cadbrowser

  7. Just wanted to drop by and let you know that I think your story is amazing, and I’ve referred it to as many people as possible. Out of curiosity, have you considered getting it published or otherwise finding broader distribution? I feel like more people should know about this!

    (By the way, I found your story via Eliezer Yudkowsky, the author of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, who gave it a plug in his latest blog update).

  8. There are few authors in the at least 500ish or so in my library, who can draw a surprised chuckle, (or maybe guffaw is better term) from me, Heinlein, Spider Robinson, Lois McMaster Bujold, Eliezer Yudkowsky, Robert A Wilson, Neal Stephenson, John Ringo & now John McCrae

    If that is the authors name anyway=)

    From someone who has read a book a day from the age of 9 to approx 5 years ago, having mostly switched to E-texts, (which are harder to keep track of=), you are a wonderful writer.

    Not just the story itself, which is great, (I’m at to 13.1), but your product is remarkably clean, I think I’ve spotted 2 typos & one glitched name. That’s better than some of the PRINT books I’ve read, from big publishing houses, printing books for established name authors.

    That you don’t sell this in kindle format on Amazon only makes sense to me if you are somehow allergic to money! I’d gladly spend a couple of bucks an arc, just to avoid the hassle of creating the mobi files so I can read from my phone

    Besides, the more time not spent working at other jobs, the more time you’ll have to write, a win win solution for everybody=)
    Assuming you’re not already filthy rich

    I’d do more meta info research but I have 13.1 calling so I’m going back to reading now
    you rock=)

    ps it was because of assault=)

  9. Just wondering if there was like a glossary of the terms used in Worm anywhere? I stopped reading, wanting to let the serial have a few more arcs before I carried on, but have found I’m struggling to remember some of the meanings of organisations, classifications etc.

    • I second this, especially with the classifications. I’m assuming the following based on Weld’s rhyme in the beginning of Sentinal.

      Mover Those who have movement powers (includes flying/teleporting/tech)
      Shaker Reality warping?
      Brute Those who are unnaturally strong and tough. (mentioned in Sentinal 1)
      Breaker Those who can nullify or modify laws of physics (mentioned in Flachette’s interlude)

      Master Can affect people’s minds, emotions, or control?
      Tinker Supernaturally skilled in a branch of science.
      Blaster Can create blasts of energy (typically at a range).
      Thinker Enhanced mental prowess or supernatural information gathering.

      Striker Those with powerful, one-hit attacks (ie Clockblocker)
      Changer Can change their shape to some extent
      Trump ??
      Stranger Unknown or uncategorized?

      I don’t think Trump has even been mentioned as far as I am. (I’m trying to minimize spoilers as well).

      • Aha! I stumbled across the wiki and it has a full breakdown.
        http://parahumans.wikia.com/wiki/Powers_Classification

        To help avoid spoilers, I’m putting the blurbs here:

        Mover – Capes whose powers let them move great distances at a time. These categoy include flyers, teleporters and speedsters.

        Shaker – It’s currently unknown what being a shaker entails. Evidence suggests it involves affecting their surroundings. Most wide-area-effect, forcefield and spacetime manipulation powers fall under the Shaker classification.

        Brute – Those under the ‘brute’ label are unnaturally tough and strong.

        Breaker – Generally those who had some ability to ‘break’ the natural laws of the universe as far as those laws applied to them. This is frequently a side effect of powers to prevent them from harming their owners.

        Master – A cape whose powers let them control others or create minions (be they humans, parahumans, animals or specific objects).

        Tinker – Covers anyone with powers that give them an advanced grasp of science. Lets them make technology years ahead of its time. Most Tinkers have a specialty or a special trick. Something they’re particularly good at or something that they can do, which other Tinkers can’t.

        Blaster – A cape with a ranged attack.

        Thinker – No exact definition is known, but it is likely to be a cape who has powers relating to planning, information acquisition and, in some cases, narrow cognitive enhancement.

        Striker – A cape with the ability to apply some effect by touch or at point-blank range.

        Changer/Shifter – Those who can change their shape to some extent.

        Trump – Entails being able to change their powers based on specific circumstances, adapt their powers to different situations or act directly on the abilities of other parahumans whether to copy, borrow or nullify.

        Stranger – The term “Stranger” refers to parahumans whose abilities can be used for stealthy action and/or impact the mind to prevent a specific reaction.

  10. I was kinda doing some advertising to all my friends ;), and two of them complained about the black on white text.
    Is there some way to invert the display style, or can you add some inverted page style?

    • A couple of people read my serial through a website/app called “readability”. I’ve never used it myself so I can’t personally recommend it mind. I understand it basically turns web pages into simple black-text on white background unified font experiences.

      Personally I prefer light text on dark backgrounds for reading.

    • Found another solution (in Firefox)
      Tools->Options->Content->Advanced->Allow pages to choose their own font
      disabling this also forces the specified font (back)color.

  11. As someone that found the Story just recently I want you to know that I enjoyed every bit off it and look forward to whatever you are writing next.

  12. Super-enjoyable, and planning on sharing it with others.

    Possible spoiler? If this were a movie, I’d hope to see Christian Slater as Jack Slash. Specifically the ‘Heathers’-era Slater.

  13. Hey Wildbow, Worm is the greatest web serial I have read, and I think it is on par if not better than popular novels like the wheel of time. Started reading Pact recently and am looking forward to more.

    I was wondering if you have any suggestions for other web serials that I can read while I wait for more, as I’ve seen some of your reviews in Top Web Fiction and really appreciate them.

  14. I enjoyed Chapter 1 (or Book 1) immensely several months ago, and allowed my life to resume when I came to the first Interlude. This week, I started reading again, and I am just beginning to read Book 8.

    I would like to stress that this is by FAR the best fiction I have ever read on the internet (and I have read both “Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality” AND “Harry Potter and the Natural 20″), and I look forward to reading the rest of the series. And now comes the part where I feel compelled to tell you your business. Please accept my apologies in advance.

    Approximately 95%* of the time that the character string “and I” appears in the text, you would be doing less offense to the language were you to replace it with the character string “and me.” I recognize that I’m probably five months late with this information, but if your plans for the story have any room for you to make edits and alterations, the grammar-nazi who lives in my brain would be intensely grateful for your attention to this one.

    However you take this spot of input, please once again accept my gratitude for the fact that you have gifted this work of literature to the internet-reading public. As someone posted above, “You deserve ALL the money!” Let me assure you that should the opportunity arise for you to monetize this work, you will definitely have a customer in me.

    • Heh. Just remembered that I put an non-annotated asterisk in that post, and that will never do.

      * A totally off-the-top-of-my-head number, but I would be astonished were an audit to show it to be off by more than, say, 15%.

    • Glad you mentioned it. I am not a native speaker and was really puzzled with all thouse “between you and I” and alike. Apart from this the language seems to be quite sophisticated, so I wondered if there is some norm I just do not understand.

      Wildbow, greate pice of writing. I am on 70% precent now and it only gets better.

  15. I’ve just started my own web fiction – so I was pleased to read one of your articles explaining what Reddit is on http://www.webfictionguide.com, which was how I found out about your site. Wow – you have been doing this for a long time! This site is a great example of what can be done with the form. I’ll definitely have to add some extra things to my site at http://www.journaloftheliving.wordpress.com based on how you’ve already done it. :)

  16. After reading a few chapters (which I enjoyed immensely!), I noticed that the only way to move from one chapter to the next is by clicking on the links that send you back or ahead a chapter. Having said that, have you thought about adding a feature where you can use the arrow keys on a keyboard to move between chapters? I don’t know how feasible that actually is for something that isn’t a web-comic (especially since I don’t know who created your website and how), but I think it would be kinda neat to be able to just tap a key to keep reading!

    Meanwhile, I’ll just have to deal with finding where I left the mouse when I start reading each chapter!

    • Hi Hannah.

      I’m not a site designer – I use a setup provided by WordPress, which comes with everything in place, and some basic customization options. If and when I do get someone on board to do some proper site design that doesn’t force me to work with WordPress, I’ll bring that up. I like it when reading stuff online, myself.

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