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Old 03-12-2012, 11:49 AM   #1
griffingirl
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story length

I am wondering how long a story should be. Is there a general guide for number of pages. What is too long? what is too short?
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Old 03-12-2012, 01:06 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by griffingirl View Post
I am wondering how long a story should be. ...
As I have said before on this forum misquoting Mozart, "It should have exactly the right number of words." The story itself should tell you how long it is. Leave out nothing important; do not add irrelevancies just to reach some predefined word count.

Incidentally "pages" mean nothing. Given (say) 3750 words, that is one page on Literotica; in a word processor it could be nearly 15 pages if they are small pages in a large font.
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Old 03-12-2012, 01:36 PM   #3
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i see

So you don't think it matters how long the story is.....

I guess i will just write and see where the story goes

thanks
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Old 03-12-2012, 02:10 PM   #4
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I think there are enough readers on Literotica who've indicated they don't want to read more than two or three Literotica pages (7,500-11,500 words) at a chunk that you might want to take that into consideration--and do it in chapters if it's longer than that.
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Old 03-12-2012, 03:13 PM   #5
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thanks

good advice.
This is my second or third go around. I keep starting stories with the intention of writing erotic fiction only to find i have started a story that isn't erotic at all.

Maybe my characters just aren't that into each other.
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Old 03-12-2012, 04:12 PM   #6
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Two Pence Worth.

I think SR71PLT has given a good rule of thumb. If you have a longer story, break it into chapters or even sub-chapters.

I assume most readers here want some erotic stuff early on to whet their appetites but some enjoy the long build up. I try to at least set the stage for erotic tension from early on with that assumption in mind.

Tell your story as you see it unfold. I have seen authors add a note warning that the sex will not be found in the early chapter or chapters. I added a story I am still undecided if it will have a Part II, and the "sex" is rather tame and a dream at the very end of 3 pages as posted. I was playing with characterization really and working at building erotic tension. I got some good feedback and one "hate" mail. Your mileage may vary as they say.
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Old 03-12-2012, 04:26 PM   #7
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I have many stories that are 5+ lit pages. In some of them I have some sex early to draw the reader in, but in others it doesn't happen until late in the story.

When that is the case I put an authors note saying that the story takes its time building up and if you're looking for a quick stroke piece this may not be for you.

Although there are a lot of stroke readers here, you would be surprised at how many are looking for some type of erotic tension and a decent storyline.

It's just my opinion that when people say "they won't read longer than, or they have no interest in anything other than...." that that is insulting the average reader.

If a story is interesting they will read it. My last story was 7 lit pages with no sex at all until page 5. It's done pretty well. I also build my incest tales up and rather than the mother banging her son in a page I drag out the hesitation and build on the guilt of the attraction, all my stories have done pretty well here.

Bottom line if you can tell a story they will read it. As the first poster said, don't limit the story, let it tell itself and please don't make the assumption that a lot of authors seem to do here and treat you readers like mindless idiots.
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Old 03-12-2012, 04:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovecraft68 View Post
It's just my opinion that when people say "they won't read longer than, or they have no interest in anything other than...." that that is insulting the average reader.
Tilt. When they say "they won't read anything longer than" xx number of Lit. pages, they are just reporting their personal preference for their own reads, not anyone elses. They aren't insulting anyone, certainly not other readers.

The classic definition of a short story is a story that can be read in one sitting. If someone won't read more than two or three Lit. pages at one go, they are honestly saying they don't want to devote the time to reading more than 7,500 words or 11,500 words at one sitting.

The industry optimum length guidance for today's fast-paced reading age is 3,000 to 3,500 words for a short story or a novel chapter.

It's not insulting anyone else to declare their own read (or even story) length limits.

And, no, I won't read more than three pages of a Lit. entry myself. I don't do reading in bigger single chunks than that. And if you want to look at the flip side of your belief on insulting someone, I consider it pushy for an author to expect me to sit through seven Lit. pages of a posting at one go.
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Old 03-12-2012, 05:18 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by sr71plt View Post
Tilt. When they say "they won't read anything longer than" xx number of Lit. pages, they are just reporting their personal preference for their own reads, not anyone elses. They aren't insulting anyone, certainly not other readers.

The classic definition of a short story is a story that can be read in one sitting. If someone won't read more than two or three Lit. pages at one go, they are honestly saying they don't want to devote the time to reading more than 7,500 words or 11,500 words at one sitting.

The industry optimum length guidance for today's fast-paced reading age is 3,000 to 3,500 words for a short story or a novel chapter.

It's not insulting anyone else to declare their own read (or even story) length limits.

And, no, I won't read more than three pages of a Lit. entry myself. I don't do reading in bigger single chunks than that. And if you want to look at the flip side of your belief on insulting someone, I consider it pushy for an author to expect me to sit through seven Lit. pages of a posting at one go.
I see what you're saying. but as you say "tilt" when you're declaring what you like to read (for me longer works and I usually search them out), maybe you like 1-2 pages that's fine, but you're speaking for you.

When posters say "most people like" how do you really know that? Unless a lot have told you that.

As for short story, Literotica does not necessarily state they are there for "short erotic" stories, just stories.

I believe in what Snooper said, let the story tell itself, and there are a lot of good short ones out there. I am simply saying not to generalize and lock into a predetermined length to make others happy

On an aside, my issue as a writer is at this point I simply cannot write short stroke. I say I'm going to, I get an idea I start it and next you know we know everything about the character, his motivations etc... and we got 5 pages again.

I would give a lot to be able to pull off the amount of 1-2 page stories you and BFW whip out. I'd be a lot more prolific and be able to get more shit out there both for here and on places like Smaswords.

What's bizarre is R/L I don;t talk a whole lot. I know that is hard to believe, but most of my parts in conversations are very short quick answers that usually have people thinking I'm disinterested or just rude(well...) but when I write I get goddamn diarrhea of the keyboard
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Old 03-12-2012, 05:26 PM   #10
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No one here posted about what "most readers" want. In my #4 post I very carefully didn't say that. I posted that enough have posted to this forum that they won't read entries longer than three pages for the OP to consider that--and that it might be a good idea to chapter it if it went longer.

And you, again, posted that someone's personal preference was an insult to other readers.

11,500 words isn't short. It's way longer than a mainstream magazine will run. It's only in this electronic enviornment sans good editors urging succinctness, clarity, tight plotlines, and avoidance of uncompleted story threads that 24,000 words would be considered a good length for a short story. (Even the sedentary, flowery-prose Victorians didn't go over 20,000 words with a short story.) And when they put longer works in their version of an electronic story site (magazine serializations), they broke them down into shorter chapters.
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:28 PM   #11
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When I used to post on Erotica Republic, they preferred a posting be kept to 10k words or less. At LushStories, they limit you to 10k words or 40k characters at one time (they told me this was related to a bandwidth issue). And I've been told by readers there that they prefer posts be, say, 3k words or less (this has resulted me in me breaking up stories into lots of pieces).

Personally, I don't usually have time, at any one sitting, to read much more than 10k words myself, which usually comes out to about 3-4 Lit pages. I don't care if it's a complete story or an installment, but I personally just don't have the time to sit and read much more than that.

Given that, I tend to keep my submissions to that length myself. If I can't do more than that, I don't like to ask readers to. Usually the only exception I make for that is a contest entry.

And I have a hard time keeping my stories short as well. I'm trying to write a 3-5k word short story at the moment, and well, it's a challenge.
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PennLady View Post
When I used to post on Erotica Republic, they preferred a posting be kept to 10k words or less. At LushStories, they limit you to 10k words or 40k characters at one time (they told me this was related to a bandwidth issue). And I've been told by readers there that they prefer posts be, say, 3k words or less (this has resulted me in me breaking up stories into lots of pieces).

Personally, I don't usually have time, at any one sitting, to read much more than 10k words myself, which usually comes out to about 3-4 Lit pages. I don't care if it's a complete story or an installment, but I personally just don't have the time to sit and read much more than that.

Given that, I tend to keep my submissions to that length myself. If I can't do more than that, I don't like to ask readers to. Usually the only exception I make for that is a contest entry.

And I have a hard time keeping my stories short as well. I'm trying to write a 3-5k word short story at the moment, and well, it's a challenge.
I wrote several of the 100-word flash-fics to practice losing the extraneous information in a story. That made condensing a sentence from twenty words to ten an easy task. After I edited for a while, deleting sentences and paragraphs became a habit. You can lose a lot of words without changing a story.
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
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I wrote several of the 100-word flash-fics to practice losing the extraneous information in a story. That made condensing a sentence from twenty words to ten an easy task. After I edited for a while, deleting sentences and paragraphs became a habit. You can lose a lot of words without changing a story.
Maybe I should try that. I don't think my problem is (exactly) having too many words, although maybe that's what it comes down to. I guess I want to "show" more than I have room for, and I should "tell" as concisely as I can to save the words for showing.

And sex.
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:40 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by PennLady View Post
Maybe I should try that. I don't think my problem is (exactly) having too many words, although maybe that's what it comes down to. I guess I want to "show" more than I have room for, and I should "tell" as concisely as I can to save the words for showing.

And sex.
A story needs sex?

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Old 03-12-2012, 08:43 PM   #15
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A story needs sex?

*chuckle*
Haha. Yes, this particular one does, as it's going to be part of a collection of romantic/erotic stories
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:17 PM   #16
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One thing that should be noted is that there is a 750-word (I think) minimum for prose on this site. Shorter submissions will be bounced. I'm sure somebody can correct me if I got the specific number wrong.
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Old 03-12-2012, 10:29 PM   #17
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One thing that should be noted is that there is a 750-word (I think) minimum for prose on this site. Shorter submissions will be bounced. I'm sure somebody can correct me if I got the specific number wrong.
You're correct regarding story submissions. The minimum is 750 words.
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Old 03-13-2012, 04:24 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PennLady View Post
... Personally, I don't usually have time, at any one sitting, to read much more than 10k words myself, which usually comes out to about 3-4 Lit pages. I don't care if it's a complete story or an installment, but I personally just don't have the time to sit and read much more than that. ...
In this electronic age I have discovered that I can download stories into my own computer,and then put them on the screen full width in a font (and format) which is easier on the eyes, and larger, than Lit's. Then I can read as much as I want at a time and even put a bookmark of some kind (I use @~@) where I left off if I can't read the whole story at once.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MistressLynn View Post
You're correct regarding story submissions. The minimum is 750 words.
That is a site limit and does not invalidate my earlier comment about length. It means that if a particular story is only 650 words it needs to go on a different site, not that 100 words of padding needs to be added.
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Old 03-16-2012, 01:33 AM   #19
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From experience writing on Literotica, a page I find is around 3,500 - 3,750 words. On Word where a page tends to be, depending on your page settings, around 400 words. This means a page on Literotica will be around 9 typed pages on Word. Based on my experience with Literotica I find 3 pages on Literotica is long enough to hold a reader's attention and if the story is extremely well written you can hold their attention for about 6 pages on Literotica. Therefore, I wold say a good guide for writting will be a story no longer than 10,000 - 12,000 words. If your story goes longer than that then I would recommend writing the story as chapters.
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Old 03-29-2012, 12:59 AM   #20
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Quote:
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From experience writing on Literotica, a page I find is around 3,500 - 3,750 words. On Word where a page tends to be, depending on your page settings, around 400 words. This means a page on Literotica will be around 9 typed pages on Word. Based on my experience with Literotica I find 3 pages on Literotica is long enough to hold a reader's attention and if the story is extremely well written you can hold their attention for about 6 pages on Literotica. Therefore, I wold say a good guide for writting will be a story no longer than 10,000 - 12,000 words. If your story goes longer than that then I would recommend writing the story as chapters.
Is there some way of equating file size with number of words? Say a file of 25KB?
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Old 03-29-2012, 03:01 AM   #21
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Is there some way of equating file size with number of words? Say a file of 25KB?
Only roughly, but if you write as most of us do, without too many long words then a word average of five letters, plus a space after each letter, gives the rule of divide by six to get the words. Sadly this applies only to .txt files.

Programs like MSWord add a lot of extraneous stuff, so there are much nearer seven characters per word, and a file using MSWord has an overhead of 20KB which needs to be subtracted first. This gives a word processed 25KB file as about 700 words, but in almost all word processors there is a word count function, so this arithmetic is not needed.
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Old 03-30-2012, 07:17 PM   #22
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by snoopercharmbrights View Post
Only roughly, but if you write as most of us do, without too many long words then a word average of five letters, plus a space after each letter, gives the rule of divide by six to get the words. Sadly this applies only to .txt files.

Programs like MSWord add a lot of extraneous stuff, so there are much nearer seven characters per word, and a file using MSWord has an overhead of 20KB which needs to be subtracted first. This gives a word processed 25KB file as about 700 words, but in almost all word processors there is a word count function, so this arithmetic is not needed.
Dang! Just under the glasses frames was the word counter.
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:31 PM   #23
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I am wondering how long a story should be. Is there a general guide for number of pages. What is too long? what is too short?
Happy writing.
That's a good question. When I reposted a story that was removed and made into an ebook, then was returned here I asked the same thing. The answer I got was to keep it short. 3 Lit pages, 5 at the most. Another reader marked me down simply because a story was more than 2 pages.

Flip a coin. Just saying.
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:36 PM   #24
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You're correct regarding story submissions. The minimum is 750 words.
I do believe that the minimum is 700 words and I am currently attempting to locate the policy that states this. Just saying. Fifty words is miniscule, a few lengthy sentences.
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:58 PM   #25
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I do believe that the minimum is 700 words and I am currently attempting to locate the policy that states this. Just saying. Fifty words is miniscule, a few lengthy sentences.
4. We do not currently accept submissions under 750 words
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