How to Build a Serial Story Website in WordPress

Update (27 November 2013) – Since I wrote this blog, some of the plugins have updated, most notably, WP Post Navigation. In the settings, you can now set the Navigate Within Category so the links stay within the same category, like your story, rather than jump to a blog or other stories on your site. I don’t have to hack the code any more.

Another author was amazed that I could turn WordPress into a working serial book website. If you ever get the weird idea to write your stories down and put them online, here is how I created the website.

First, you need to download WordPress from www.wordpress.com.

In WordPress, the general layout is controlled by a theme. The theme I am using is Kingsize from Themeforest.net. I like the openness of the theme and it works well on tablets and phones.

After I uploaded and installed WordPress and the theme, I needed a few plugins to make the site work like I wanted. Normally, WordPress displays posts from oldest to newest. I needed to change that so my chapters would stay in Chapter order. I also wanted a link at the bottom of the Chapter pages that automatically linked to the Previous and Next Chapter. And finally, I wanted the Table of Contents on the right side pane for readers to skip to any chapter.

  • To display the posts oldest to newest use ‘Serial Posts Plugin’ by Ade Walker.
  • To add the navigation links at the bottom of my chapter pages use ‘WP Post Navigation’ by Anas Mir.
  • For the table of contents that automatically updates with new posts use ‘List category posts’ by Fernando Briano.

Now, the fun didn’t stop there. When I added this blog, I ran into problems with the plugins doing what they are supposed to but I didn’t want it on my blog page. I copied the blog-template that came with the theme, made an edited template page, and added the code that specifies to only pull from the Blog category. I also added code to that new template page that flips the order of the posts back to the WordPress default, newest to oldest, since Serial Posts Plugin flips it oldest to newest.

(Note: This is no longer necessary, see Update above) The last issue I discovered was from WP Post Navigation. That was linking to all the categories based only on the date. I changed the plugin code so it would only go to the next chapter in the same category as the current chapter. This will keep all the Portal Chapter posts separated from the Blog posts.

And that’s how I do it. I’m sure you will see further improvements in the future. My next goal is to add touch gestures for tablets and phone to swipe for the next and previous chapter.