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Old 05-17-2017, 07:46 AM   #1
SFCTaleSpinner
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To Split Or Not To Split?

I've got a story that, at 35K words, seems a little chunky to upload as a single piece. I'm thinking that the size might be off-putting for an audience, whereas 3 or 4 pieces of 9,000 - 12,000 words each might seem more digestible.

I believe I can split it quite neatly into 3 roughly equal segments, but the downside of this is that the first segment doesn't really reflect the essence of the story.

As a whole, the story is about a wild, liberating, no-strings-attached affair that flairs up between a man and woman who are each upset with their separate relationship troubles. If I divided it, part one would mainly be about the development of those troubles; it's messy and unsatisfying, so that the satisfaction can come to fruition in the later parts of the story.

My concern would be that readers might pass judgement prematurely on the first part and give up on the story before they get a chance to find out what it's all about.

What would you suggest?
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Old 05-17-2017, 07:52 AM   #2
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If it's fully self contained, put it up in one go. There have been way longer stories than 35k go up as a one shot.

If as you say the first part is a downer, folk will back out regardless, if it's not working for them
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Old 05-17-2017, 08:12 AM   #3
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I agree with Blue. If the first third of those 35k words is a bit of a downer, those for whom that is a deal-breaker will bail regardless of whether or not you decide to split the story. And, based on what you've told us, I wouldn't split it up. I think readers will be a lot more forgiving of a sex-less build-up if there's an indication (i.e. more words) that it's going somewhere. I've also noticed that--contrary to my own intuition--really long one shots do pretty good. Since a lot of authors bail on multi-part stories halfway in, readers seem more likely to give long stories a chance if they've been completed and posted in their entirety already. There's less risk of disappointment that way.
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Old 05-17-2017, 08:44 AM   #4
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If you, the author, feel like the beginning 33% of the story may bore readers, then I feel like you've identified the problem all on your own.

Literary scholar George Lucas encountered a similar problem with his often-overlooked masterpiece Star Wars. So, after carefully looking at what he had, he spent his efforts focusing on the most interesting section of the story he'd written; the middle.

I heard it might get made into a movie, but I won't hold my breath.
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Old 05-17-2017, 09:42 AM   #5
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I used to split stories and made the mistake with a few of not writing the whole before posting the first part(s). I'm still working on finishing two.

BUT - I have also, much later, submitted compilations of the whole story in addition to the individual parts e.g. https://www.literotica.com/s/gulliver-completed
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:09 AM   #6
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So, 35k story. Lit page is 3500. 10-11 pages. Three pages is about the attention span of readers. So, 3 10k chucks or 3 chapters.
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Old 05-17-2017, 12:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oggbashan View Post
I used to split stories and made the mistake with a few of not writing the whole before posting the first part(s). I'm still working on finishing two.

BUT - I have also, much later, submitted compilations of the whole story in addition to the individual parts e.g. https://www.literotica.com/s/gulliver-completed
Well, I'm not worrying about leaving the job unfinished, because it already is. My dilemma now is how to present my finished product.

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Originally Posted by Zeb_Carter View Post
So, 35k story. Lit page is 3500. 10-11 pages. Three pages is about the attention span of readers. So, 3 10k chucks or 3 chapters.
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Originally Posted by LeandraNyx View Post
I agree with Blue. If the first third of those 35k words is a bit of a downer, those for whom that is a deal-breaker will bail regardless of whether or not you decide to split the story. And, based on what you've told us, I wouldn't split it up...

I've also noticed that--contrary to my own intuition--really long one shots do pretty good. Since a lot of authors bail on multi-part stories halfway in, readers seem more likely to give long stories a chance if they've been completed and posted in their entirety already. There's less risk of disappointment that way.
Seems like I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't. Though I have to admit that I'm leaning more towards keeping the story intact. If nothing else, it'll allow me to make the summary more reflective of the story as a whole.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeandraNyx View Post
I think readers will be a lot more forgiving of a sex-less build-up if there's an indication (i.e. more words) that it's going somewhere.
Actually, the build-up has sex, but it's bad sex (for lack of a better word). One protagonist gets disappointed when the love interest he's pursuing goes and has sex with someone else, while the other protagonist starts having sex, only to be rudely interrupted. As I said, it's all about setting the stage with dissatisfaction, so that when the main relationship flares to life, the satisfaction is all the sweeter.

No sex might've been better, in terms of reader retention, because on a site like Literotica, you can be pretty sure that it's all building to something. But when the beginning has plenty of sex - sex where nothing goes right - it might make the readers think that all the story's sexual content will be in that vein.

I know probably a lot of people write and read here purely for a quick, convenient masturbation aid. But I like to tell a story. IMHO, it makes things immensely hotter when you stir in a tumultuous emotional tone and a scandalous narrative to the raw, sweaty genital thrusting. And it just doesn't work if you half-ass the story. You need to get invested in the characters and their situations, and that requires several pages of build-up.
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Old 05-17-2017, 12:47 PM   #8
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Having no erotica in a big chunk of the story at the beginning is a good argument not to split it--but it's also a good argument, as AwkwardMD posts, to rewrite it for an erotica story site--if you are concerned about reads and good ratings.
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Old 05-17-2017, 12:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SFCTaleSpinner View Post
Actually, the build-up has sex, but it's bad sex (for lack of a better word). One protagonist gets disappointed when the love interest he's pursuing goes and has sex with someone else, while the other protagonist starts having sex, only to be rudely interrupted. As I said, it's all about setting the stage with dissatisfaction, so that when the main relationship flares to life, the satisfaction is all the sweeter.
In the case of a difficult start, I would definitely keep it as one story. If the first part is disappointing, I might not start reading the next one, while, if I'm still in it...

And there is nothing wrong with long stories - check out the winners of the story-contests; the long stories can also get really good scores.
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Old 05-17-2017, 01:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SFCTaleSpinner View Post
I've got a story that, at 35K words, seems a little chunky to upload as a single piece. I'm thinking that the size might be off-putting for an audience, whereas 3 or 4 pieces of 9,000 - 12,000 words each might seem more digestible.

I believe I can split it quite neatly into 3 roughly equal segments, but the downside of this is that the first segment doesn't really reflect the essence of the story.

As a whole, the story is about a wild, liberating, no-strings-attached affair that flairs up between a man and woman who are each upset with their separate relationship troubles. If I divided it, part one would mainly be about the development of those troubles; it's messy and unsatisfying, so that the satisfaction can come to fruition in the later parts of the story.

My concern would be that readers might pass judgement prematurely on the first part and give up on the story before they get a chance to find out what it's all about.

What would you suggest?
Divide it into two parts (Part 01 Part 02), but enter both at the same time .
Personally, I'm not keen on reading umpteen pages on my PC screen, but
I appreciate there are those who don't mind it.
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Old 05-17-2017, 01:07 PM   #11
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You should post it as one story unless you have a good reason not to. The length, alone, is not a reason to split it up -- there are plenty of 9-10 page Lit stories that have done well.

Some readers will click on your story and then pass because of its length. But, probably, even more will miss the last chapter if you split it up. The general rule is that readership declines considerably over the course of a series.

If you are concerned about losing readers because of the length of the story, concentrate on making the first page an attention-grabber, to get readers hooked. Give them a hint or taste of what's to come.
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Old 05-17-2017, 01:17 PM   #12
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On first read, I swore the title was "To spit or not to spit". An age old question for sure.

To split or not to split is also an age old question.

If the story has a slow build, leave it as one story. I've done that in a lot of stories and they all have good scores. If there is a good payoff for the reader by the end, even better scores.
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Old 05-17-2017, 02:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SFCTaleSpinner View Post
I know probably a lot of people write and read here purely for a quick, convenient masturbation aid. But I like to tell a story. IMHO, it makes things immensely hotter when you stir in a tumultuous emotional tone and a scandalous narrative to the raw, sweaty genital thrusting. And it just doesn't work if you half-ass the story. You need to get invested in the characters and their situations, and that requires several pages of build-up.
Hmmm, have you considered which category you'll be posting in? Some categories are more receptive to the slow build--in fact, some categories thrive on it--while others are pretty much in it for the wham, bam, thank you, ma'am. Romance readers tend to love a good build-up, although I've been told romance readers also despise cheating and it sounds like, technically, your characters are cheating with one another. Thoughts, anyone else?
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Old 05-17-2017, 02:57 PM   #14
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^^^

I'd say at 35k words it's better to post in novel/novellas where people expect that story will be long and not mind. That is if you're going to leave it in one long piece. If broken up then post in category that makes most sense.
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Old 05-17-2017, 03:00 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by SimonDoom View Post
You should post it as one story unless you have a good reason not to. The length, alone, is not a reason to split it up -- there are plenty of 9-10 page Lit stories that have done well.

Some readers will click on your story and then pass because of its length. But, probably, even more will miss the last chapter if you split it up. The general rule is that readership declines considerably over the course of a series.

If you are concerned about losing readers because of the length of the story, concentrate on making the first page an attention-grabber, to get readers hooked. Give them a hint or taste of what's to come.
I was going to say this, but others already have so I'll just concur. Also, it would take a really great story to keep me reading more than 5 pages on a computer screen. I suppose you could also add a note at the beginning which explains the "slow build" ?
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Old 05-17-2017, 03:04 PM   #16
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I suppose you could also add a note at the beginning which explains the "slow build"?
I think this is a really important point; it'll help those that are looking for a fully fleshed out story find it and allow those searching for a quick wank to move on.
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Old 05-17-2017, 03:36 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SFCTaleSpinner View Post
Seems like I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't. Though I have to admit that I'm leaning more towards keeping the story intact. If nothing else, it'll allow me to make the summary more reflective of the story as a whole.
The prospect of a long but complete story will generally gain as many readers as it loses, is my impression. If it's better for the integrity of the story, keep it together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeandraNyx
Thoughts, anyone else?
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Old 05-17-2017, 04:06 PM   #18
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Put it this way, the prospect of a long but complete story will generally gain as many readers as it loses. I'm certainly one of those who is wary of chaptered stories and prefer a longer, completed product. If it's better for the integrity of the story, keep it together.
Virtually the only instance in which I use an explanatory slug is for multichaptered series. I assure the reader the writing is completed, give the number of chapters it's going to be, and give an estimated completion time for all of it being posted.
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