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Old 07-26-2004, 07:14 PM
  #1
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FanFic Length

Out of curiosity, what do you guys think about fic lengths? Is longer better, or is shorter the only way to go?

And what is you average piece length? What about your chapters?


My average fic length is 15,625 words, but I have a work in progress so that'll probably go up a little. My average chapter length is usually somewhere around 1,000 words lately, but usually a little less.
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Old 07-26-2004, 08:20 PM
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It really depends, I guess, like many other things. That's why there're novel-lengths and there are those that you can just breeze through while you're in the tub.

My average chapter length is about 6,000 words, though. Eep.
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Old 07-26-2004, 08:31 PM
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Is 1000 words considered short for a chapter?
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Old 07-26-2004, 09:36 PM
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I hardly read chapter fanfics anymore, because frankly, they're not as well written as professional novels and I'd rather spend my time reading something better than your average fanfic out there. A fanfic novel would have to be absolutely amazing to keep me reading. On the other hand, I'm always willing to read a shortish, one-shot fic that is written reasonably well.

So I guess the bottom line is I have double standards. I'll read a good short fic, but I'll only read a chapter fic if it's phenomenally brilliant.

I write 'virtual episodes'. Usually they're about 20,000 words long, divided into 6 parts. I don't update chapter by chapter though - I only put them up when all 6 parts are complete.
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Old 07-26-2004, 11:08 PM
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I tend to like longer fics, given they're any good. Shorter fics tend to leave me wanting more.
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Old 07-27-2004, 10:31 PM
  #6
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What I write: Currently, I have 8 stories posted at ff.net. They range from 1 to 8 chapters and the stats page tells me the average length is 4,958 words. I'm making a guess here, but I'd say my average chapter length is 1000-1100 words. In fact, once I've established a first chapter on a multi-chapter story, I try to keep each successive chapter about the same length (it's a balance thing and I don't always succeed). Since my stories tend to have a very specific point or thought behind their creation, I don't see myself ever writing one lasting more than 10 chapters. With the exception of Conversations, everything I've posted is complete. The only reason Conversations is not complete is that each chapter is actually a independent story lumped together under the same heading - kind of like a book of short stories.

Catalinay said "Shorter fics tend to leave me wanting more," which is the biggest complaint I get from those who review my stuff. My only defense to that is, like I said earlier, each of my fics has a specific purpose. Once that purpose has been met, the story ends. If I continued the fic, it would have to find a new purpose and would necessarily dilute its original one. I donít want to do that. Maybe I could satisfy those left wanting more by writing a sequel if I can come up with a new purpose that links the two. We'll see.

What I read: Although I read alot (online and off) and don't shy away from the longer novels or ongoing series (Sue Grafton's alphabet series, James Patterson's Alex Cross series, etc.), I'm not a big fan of the seemingly endless fanfics. I got started on some of the Gilmore Girls post finale fics, but after 10 or so chapters each, I began waiting until at least 2 chapters of a fic were posted before I caught up (still doing that, I think only one of the many has ended). Also, especially for the longer ones, I look for completed fics so I don't get involved and then become disappointed when the author quits posting updates.
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Old 07-27-2004, 11:14 PM
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What I write:
I have 10 fanfics posted on FF.net. The shortest is 823 words and the longest is 47,905 words. I don't write in "chapters" but have posted a couple of the longer fics as two parts. According to the stats page, my average entry length is 12,125.

I have been asked to write more for several of them, including the longest one. I attempted to write one in chapters, but that didn't really work for me, so I gave up on that idea.

What I read:
Usually, I only read something that has been recommended to me by a friend. I don't usually seek out fanfic to read, except on challenge sites, because I like to know what the "competition" has to offer. And, I especially want to read something on a fanfic challenge site if it is in response to one of the same challenges that I have done.
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Old 07-28-2004, 08:23 AM
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I do both

but right now I'm in the middle of a multi chaptered trilogy.

But I do think some people write things that are way too short with no development at all...like one story had someone commit suicide which would have been a great story with the father/son dynamic and girlfriend issues, but this person just had them die without any build up especially in the manor in which they killed themselves which was out of the blue for that character. I always tell people write what they feel. Some short stories are proper others are just speedy pieces of **** with no development--you know those best friends with 100 reviews
type of stories.



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Old 07-28-2004, 12:50 PM
  #9
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Short, short, short. When I first started writing I wrote long ones. I eventually discovered that I cannot *finish* long ones. Of all the long fics I wrote, I've only ever finished one. So now I do short. And I pretty much only read short, too. My interest is more in character study and missing scenes and such, rather than actual plots. So its rare that I read something now thats more than one part.
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Old 07-28-2004, 09:52 PM
  #10
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When reading I go for novel length stories; browsing on FF.net I immediately set the sort to above 60,000 words, 100,000 if itís a large fandom. I like to spend two or three hours reading one fic more than hopping from short story to short story, unless itís a series of humorous one-shots.

As far as writing goes, I tend to do either short pieces (1,000-2,000 words) or long novels (about 15-20 pages per chapter). I have a long, sustainable attention span, possibly owing to the fact that I grew up without cable television.
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Old 07-29-2004, 06:27 PM
  #11
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I do chapter things because teh things i come up with...there would be know way to write it without some sort of a break. Ic an't just write and write and write.

I only have one story out of my seventeen (except my work in progress) that I haven't finished. It's my second longest story. Ff.net says it's 30746 words and it has 17 chapters. I was writing and writing that one, and I finally got to a point where I had no idea where this thing was supposed to end up and said to myself "I can't do this anymore." I posted everything I had for the story (I tend to write ahead for my better stuff) as one long and mushy chapters as to not leave everyone totally hanging and put it to rest. Then I went back and posted a "where are they now" type chap for my couple. I always tell myself that I can go back to it, but after all of the hours I hav pondered that thing there is no end. It should have stopped a long while before what I have- like 3 chapters before my "end".

The problem with long stories sometimes is that if you don't have enough going on, or you have too much going on, it's easy to lose sight of your purpose. Once you do that all is lost. And if that doesn't happen, you can get bored with it after a while and want a change. That happens to me a lot, too. By chapter three of everything. I am so weird.

I think a good 15000 word story is great. Long enough to get you fulfilled without dragging on for forever without a reason.

But then again, I have a 35 chapter, 62042 word story that I finished in it's entirety and never got totally bored with. To be honest, I love it. I know it isn't the best thing in the world, but it is my most prized fanfic and I am very proud of it. Go figure.
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Old 08-08-2004, 11:19 AM
  #12
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I always wondered about fic lengths....I'm currently writing a four piece series type thing, and each section is really long, and no one's taking any notice. It's probably because it's crap, but i think a lot of it is to do with its length. I know i'd be too lazy to read it.
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Old 08-08-2004, 04:07 PM
  #13
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If your looking to get more attention, you usually are better of by making things as small as possible...but then again not really small. 1000, 2000 words tops, is most likey sufficient. But you might not be able to do that with your piece, or it might downgrade the wuiality ofyour work by splitting it. It all depends on the piece I think.
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Old 08-08-2004, 05:35 PM
  #14
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I prefer really short ones. Short enough to read on my lunch break, ideally; 2000 words or less is good. Longer ones are almost never worth the time investment.

I have one that will be around 18,000 words, and I'm working hard to make sure there is nothing extraneous in it. I like to keep my writing as tight as possible. I have another that is several thousand words, but as I was writing it, each chapter was intended to be the end, so the reader could stop at the end of any chapter, and the chapters are each under 2000 words.
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Old 08-09-2004, 01:15 AM
  #15
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It really depends on the fandom for me. But most of the time, I love to read novel length fic. I've found that they are, on average, more developed, in character and better written.
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