90% of fanfiction id absolute cancer, I think few here will dispute that. But I'm curious about the episodic format that most fanfiction is told in.
how would /lit/ go about making that work?
Dickens, pretty much everything by him.
Hell, it's not even something you can 'link' because it was so widespread from the invention of the modern 'novel' in the ~17th century up until the dawn of the 20th.
Accelerando by Charles Stross was written and released episodically, as recently as 2005. I'm sure there are plenty of ongoing stories happening like that even now that I just don't know about. As has been said, it's pretty normal.
HPMoR is sort of like that but I'm not advocating it as a piece of good writing.
Look at this guy... Episodic lit was huge back then. Not just Dickens, you had whole Europe releasing work in that way. Every country had newspapers, dedicated or regular, that had original fiction released in them. Even huge novels like The Count of Monte Cristo, and Brothers Karamarov were released as serials.
It was often more profitable for authors to do it that way. For the poorer people it was also the only way to get into fiction. Books were very expensive.