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Chapter Size  [message #77861] Fri, 11 June 2021 03:57 Go to next message
Teddy is currently offline  Teddy

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I realize the answer to this question is going to be more than a bit subjective but here it is.

I sat down to write the other day when my muse started up on one of his rare, inspirational jags, and before I was done for the day I was just a couple hundred words shy of 40,000. To this point I've not divided it up into chapters, and I'm definitely not done with the story. My question is this: What is your idea of a good chapter length. I'm thinking 5-6 K as a good length but wonder what some of the rest of you story writers think?



“There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.” - Terry Pratchett
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77862 is a reply to message #77861] Fri, 11 June 2021 05:59 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

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Reading How to know when it is Finished will bring you towards the answer.

You need to consider the purpose of chapters. What do they signify? If you are just makkng random breaks so the reader can go and pee or poo, that is not a chapter's purpose.

[Updated on: Fri, 11 June 2021 06:04]




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77863 is a reply to message #77862] Fri, 11 June 2021 07:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Teddy is currently offline  Teddy

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On the other hand presenting a story that's 170,000 words long without chapter breaks can be problematic for the reader for any number of reasons. Also I'm not a big fan of the writing school that says we must leave some sort of cliff hanger or other suspense filled break between chapters. That gets particularly annoying, at least for me! LOL

But the fact is that I'm not asking this question so much in an effort to gain some sort of advice as to a magic number that a chapter must have in order to be done correctly. I'm asking because I'm genuinely curious what length, if any, the rest of the authors here have as a target for their chapters.  

For me, when all is said and done with this story it will be broken up into chapters of approximate equal length, give or take a thousand words or so, but the breaks will also come in places that are naturally good stopping places, or at least that's the goal. Some may end with a bit of suspense and others may end when the protagonist in the tale falls asleep for the night. 



“There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.” - Terry Pratchett
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77864 is a reply to message #77863] Fri, 11 June 2021 07:59 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Bisexual_Guy is currently offline  Bisexual_Guy

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Teddy, as a reader, I'm very happy to see you writing again.

That said, my opinion of chapter size may different from the ideas of many others.

My favorite authors vary widely in chapter length.  I have seen chapters as short as a thousand words, and as long as 20,000+ words (though the long ones like that usually frustrate me a bit).  My favorite of recently read stories (defined as having been published and read in the last three months) has chapters ranging from 2,619 words to 7,988 words.  But the story was one of the best I've read in a long time.  The chapter breaks were at reasonable places in the story, and did not interrupt the flow at all, with two or three cliffhangers, depending on an individual's definition of cliffhanger.

In print books, some of the worst chapters I've seen is where an author or editor arbitrairily forces a chapter to be roughly the same length, unless it is an epilogue or prologue.  That is my opinion.  Other opinions may vary widely.
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77865 is a reply to message #77863] Fri, 11 June 2021 08:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

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"Teddy wrote on Fri, 11 June 2021 08:24"
On the other hand presenting a story that's 170,000 words long without chapter breaks can be problematic for the reader for any number of reasons. Also I'm not a big fan of the writing school that says we must leave some sort of cliff hanger or other suspense filled break between chapters. That gets particularly annoying, at least for me! LOL

But the fact is that I'm not asking this question so much in an effort to gain some sort of advice as to a magic number that a chapter must have in order to be done correctly. I'm asking because I'm genuinely curious what length, if any, the rest of the authors here have as a target for their chapters.  

For me, when all is said and done with this story it will be broken up into chapters of approximate equal length, give or take a thousand words or so, but the breaks will also come in places that are naturally good stopping places, or at least that's the goal. Some may end with a bit of suspense and others may end when the protagonist in the tale falls asleep for the night. 

--
One may, of course, 'sectionalise' and indicate sectiins with a printed device.

What matters most is flow.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77866 is a reply to message #77861] Fri, 11 June 2021 08:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ivor slipper is currently offline  ivor slipper

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40,000 words in a day Teddy - that's very impressive! I'm lucky if I can manage 4,000 :).

As for chapter size, I do believe over long chapters can deter readers. I'm pretty sure I know the author to whom BG is referring. If so, he discovered from posting on another site where readers figures are visible, that if he posted his stories as a whole they obtained far fewer readers than if he posted in chapters of the length mentioned.

I am definitely of the view that chapters of not more than around 5-6000 words are the best option. Indeed, it seems that the 2-4000 area is the most common seen there. I suspect, although I have no evidence to support this, the preference for short chapters may be driven by the number who read on mobile devices.
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77867 is a reply to message #77861] Fri, 11 June 2021 12:16 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Jolyon Lewes

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It could be because I am so old but I far prefer to read the printed word than to read on a screen, however large. 

In a real book, I'm happy to read a novel with chapters about thirty pages in length but on a screen I like more frequent breaks, not necessarily new chapters but breaks indicated by a subtitle or a row of asterisks. The chapters in my current story, The Au Pair Boy, are about 2,500 words in length. If faced with  story of say 20,000 words with no breaks I think I'd give up fairly quickly.



Jolyon
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77868 is a reply to message #77863] Fri, 11 June 2021 15:16 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Bensiamin is currently offline  Bensiamin

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I'm far from the expert on this subject, but reply as both author and reader. While I think it's a mistake to overly structure with a rule about fixed page lengths per chapter, and likewise dislike books that have been arbitrarily broken into chapters for a clearly mechanical reason, I think it's important for authors to write with a framework that adjusts as the story takes shape, is sensitive to reader attention span, etc.

As a reader, if the story is moving along and I'm engaged, a short chapter at 2,500 words is not a problem--in fact it can (should?) add drama and excitement. Correspondingly, a longer one that runs over 10,000 words is fine if it's engaging and the story is moving. It's all in the story. I try to write with a target range of 7,000 words per chapter(or 15 pages in Word, the word processor I use), and then adjust accordingly. Most run over, but the important thing is that as I'm writing I know subconsciously that I'm trying to develop this part of the story within a certain size frame. I also find doing so leads to much less editing afterwards. Like the old saying 'begin with the end in mind.'

Tim summed it up: what matters most is flow. In my mind the assurance of that flow comes from a flexible framework.



Bensiamin
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77869 is a reply to message #77866] Sun, 13 June 2021 03:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Teddy is currently offline  Teddy

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"Quote:"

"ivor slipper wrote on Fri, 11 June 2021 01:58"
40,000 words in a day Teddy - that's very impressive! I'm lucky if I can manage 4,000 :).



--


Well, You have to understand the 40,000 words was simply writing wihout looking back. I struck on a storry concept, settled quickly on the beginning, the end, and how I wanted to get from one to the other, or in other words what I wanted the story to accomplish. From there my muse took over and I wrote. No editing, no going back over previous sentences or paragraphs, nothing but letting the muse tell the storry, mistakes, unproductive side trips and all. 

That type of poductivity is rare for me, when I do write. I figure I'm maybe between 1/2 and 2/3 done with the tale at this point then comes the hard work of going over all that work irioning out all the rough spots and removing all the inconsistencies, etc. For me that's what's the most time consuming. When I'm finished with that, hopefully my editor/beta reader won't have too much to do when I send it off to her! lol

[Updated on: Sun, 13 June 2021 03:55]




“There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.” - Terry Pratchett
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77870 is a reply to message #77869] Sun, 13 June 2021 07:18 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

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I have a 35,000 words short story on the site. There was, and is, no way of breaking it into chapters. When I wrote it the stream of consciousness was such that there was no pausing, no breaks. I wrote it on holiday, in pencil on paper, and trabnscriubed it. As I did so I edited it. Editing it showed me no break points.

I only know it to be 35k because I asked Open Office to tell me just now. I had thought it to be longer.

Only our readers can judge if the length of a tale is fine, and that is because the writing either gets them to the end or does not. So, again, I come back to flow. Does the flow carry you forwards, inexorably, to the end?

If it does not, will breaking it into chapters improve that or just offer a handy fire exit to the bored reader?

[Updated on: Sun, 13 June 2021 07:21]




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77873 is a reply to message #77870] Tue, 15 June 2021 15:32 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Merkin is currently offline  Merkin

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I like that notion of a 'fire exit'; As a reader I often wish for such an opportunity. As a writer I like to think of constructing chapters much like a composer for a symphony may envision his work in terms of sections and movements.  If I were to tell my tale aloud, sitting in a cosy pub with close friends, I'd weave the story into episodes that provide natural pauses as the arc of the story develops; places where it seems appropriate to get up from my chair, stretch, and go for another round or to take a piss.  Most stories do not benefit from nonstop narration since one's attention tends to flag from overload.

[Updated on: Tue, 15 June 2021 15:34]

Re: Chapter Size  [message #77874 is a reply to message #77866] Tue, 15 June 2021 15:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Geron Kees is currently offline  Geron Kees

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"ivor slipper wrote on Fri, 11 June 2021 08:58"
40,000 words in a day Teddy - that's very impressive! I'm lucky if I can manage 4,000 :).

As for chapter size, I do believe over long chapters can deter readers. I'm pretty sure I know the author to whom BG is referring. If so, he discovered from posting on another site where readers figures are visible, that if he posted his stories as a whole they obtained far fewer readers than if he posted in chapters of the length mentioned.

I am definitely of the view that chapters of not more than around 5-6000 words are the best option. Indeed, it seems that the 2-4000 area is the most common seen there. I suspect, although I have no evidence to support this, the preference for short chapters may be driven by the number who read on mobile devices.

--I have posted long stories as one continuous file, and have received both positive and negative comments from readers on the practice. Even though the stories were posted as one file, there were clear breaks in the action every so often, where a reader could stop if needed. The general consensus was that it was too much trouble to scroll back through a single file and find the place where a reader had left off, and that clear chapters are preferred.

The end result is that I TRY to write in chapters now, as most people felt it is simply easier to read a story that way. Reading 40,000 words all in one sitting takes time, and people are busy. Having chapters simply gives readers a place to stop for the time being, if they need that. And, some readers LIKE to have stories posted in chapters, so that they can look forward to the next one.

I still often write a story as one file, and then separate it into chapters at the natural breaks in the action, which results in chapters of varying length. But I am also writing some stories in distinct chapters now, and keeping them to a more uniform length. A concession to uniformity for the reader's sake. Razz

I prefer chapter lengths around 7500 words, myself, when reading. A multitude of separate, very short chapters is irritating to me. Just my opinion.
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77875 is a reply to message #77867] Thu, 17 June 2021 23:27 Go to previous messageGo to next message
cole parker is currently offline  cole parker

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Lots of good thoughts here, even if they don't provide Teddy much help.  But Timmy's right, as usual: flow and pace should dictate. 

I myself prefer reading chapters that tend to be in the 2,500 to 3,500 word general area, though 4,000 is no problem.  But how interesting and capitivating the chapter is should be taken into accout.  A relatively quiescent one probalby is best if it's short.  An action-filled, exciting one can be longer and still hold the readers' attention.

When I write, I tend to want my chapters to fall into the above specified lengths, and I write them with that in mind, which then means the flow and pace will accommodate that length.  So I have a goal with each chapter: to have it meaningful and move the story forward but to have it come to a natural, unforced resting spot at its end.

There is a problem writing for online posting that isn't there with published works that I feel we have to keep in mind.  Published works frequently have long and short chapters mixed together.  What we have to be aware of is that the reader is stuck with waiting for the next installment before moving on.  If a book has a 1,200 word chapter and the reader wants more, he can simply keep reading.  Not so for us.  So I rarely write short chapters.  Doesn't seem fair to the reader.

Oh, and Timmy's right that short stories can be any length.  It's chapter stories that need more planning.[/font-size]

[Updated on: Thu, 17 June 2021 23:38]

Re: Chapter Size  [message #77876 is a reply to message #77875] Fri, 18 June 2021 11:16 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Pedro

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"cole parker wrote on Thu, 17 June 2021 23:27"

There is a problem writing for online posting that isn't there with published works that I feel we have to keep in mind.  Published works frequently have long and short chapters mixed together.  What we have to be aware of is that the reader is stuck with waiting for the next installment before moving on.  If a book has a 1,200 word chapter and the reader wants more, he can simply keep reading.  Not so for us.  So I rarely write short chapters.  Doesn't seem fair to the reader.

--

As a reader, I can't deny that I feel a bit let down if an installment is less than, say, 3000 words, especially if previous installments have been significantly longer. Like buying a product where the box is twice the size it needs to be for the contents.

However, as a scribbler, I feel it a courtesy to the reader to mark changes of scene etc to indicate suitable places to break  for a pee or if the reader doesn't have the time available to get right to the end of the chapter/short story.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned is the overall length of the full novel. An author asked me to look at a story for him. We both had reservations about it's length at 120+ chapters, which would represent a committment by readers to follow it for the best part of a year even if installments were posted three times a week. Although the chapters were between 3000 and 5000 words, I suggested it might appear less daunting for readers to combine the chapters in pairs so only hitting them with around 60 chapters, even though the total number of words remained the same. If I remember correctly, quite fortuitously,  the combined 8000 word chapters were much nearer to all being the same length. 






Pedro
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77877 is a reply to message #77875] Sat, 19 June 2021 18:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Teddy is currently offline  Teddy

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"cole parker wrote on Thu, 17 June 2021 16:27"

There is a problem writing for online posting that isn't there with published works that I feel we have to keep in mind.  Published works frequently have long and short chapters mixed together.  What we have to be aware of is that the reader is stuck with waiting for the next installment before moving on.  If a book has a 1,200 word chapter and the reader wants more, he can simply keep reading.  Not so for us.  So I rarely write short chapters.  Doesn't seem fair to the reader.



--
Which brings up a whole other sub-topic. I've seen others say, though not many, that like me they prefer to wait till an online tale is complete before reading it. For those of us who do that, chapter size or chapters at all, are not quite same issue, but only lend to the ease of what a couple of you have already mentioned, i.e., stopping for a pee break or another margarita, in much the same as putting in a page break or devider indicating a break in the time flow or change of venue for the tale being told. 

All of which was one of the reasons I asked this question in the first place, because for me, the binge reader, chapters are not as relevant as they are to those of you who prefer the serialized format.

Timmy mentioned his longer "stream of consiciousness" tale he wrote, which is pretty much what the first 40,000 words of my current tale are. Since that initial burst of creativity life has gotten in the way and I'm only doing a few hundred words at a time, due to the need to earn a living. At any rate, like Timmy says, the stream of consciousness aproach tends to complicate the whole chapter concept. Still, I think I will be able to divide the tale up into chapter sections that don't detract from the overall readability.

[Updated on: Sat, 19 June 2021 18:45]




“There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.” - Terry Pratchett
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77878 is a reply to message #77861] Sat, 19 June 2021 20:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
luvtwinks is currently offline  luvtwinks

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As an online reader I prefer chapters to be a bit on the shorter side. Primarily because even if I leave my browser open when I take break (in my iPad) it will often get confused the next time I select it and it will reload the entire page from the beginning. At that point I have to scroll through the story and attempt to find where I left off. If reading ye olde paper books one can hold in their hand and place on a bookshelf a simple piece of toilet paper can be an effective bookmark. Not so in the online world. Unless one knows how to indefinitely "pin" their place on a specific web page?

[Updated on: Sat, 19 June 2021 20:12]

Re: Chapter Size  [message #77880 is a reply to message #77878] Mon, 21 June 2021 01:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Mark

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I'll admit I'm of somewhat mixed feelings myself.  Yeah, I can certainly understand not wanting a chapter to be too long.  I sometimes like to get in a bit or reading when I've only got a limited amount of time (such as if I'm about to go to bed or if I have to go somewhere soon), and I'm not a huge fan of stopping in the middle of a chapter, even with a physical book (just because it's a bit harder to pick up the story later in the middle of a chapter than it is at the beginning of a new chapter, at least for me).

But then, kind of like how Pedro and Teddy have brought up, sometimes I take a look at older stories (here or on sites like Nifty), and if they consist of a huge amount of chapters, I'm more likely to turn around and go start looking at other stories to read.  I don't even stop long enough to see if the chapters themselves are long or short.

I don't know if there should be a "set" length for chapters.  I know that when I wrote "An Apprentice's Adventures," I wrote it in a single file and then divided it up into chapters of roughly equal length (about 10 pages, give or take) once I was through.  If I were to write another multi-chapter story, would the chapters there be of similar length?  I don't know.  I remember that when Timmy first approached me about publishing "Adventures" here, we talked a bit about other stuff that I'd either written or was working on, and we did briefly discuss a story that I'd started prior to "Adventures" but had never finished (one reason was that I was writing each chapter in separate files, and was unhappy with the length of each of the chapters I'd written so far - about 3 pages each).
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77881 is a reply to message #77861] Mon, 21 June 2021 15:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
cm is currently offline  cm

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What an interesting question. I've just taken a look at the stories I have here, and the chapters mostly fall into the 5000-ish word category. This appears to be my 'natural' break point; I can't say that I've consciously written chapters or designed break points at that length.

The longest single-chapter story I have on this site is 13000 words (the latest one where I wanted to write about asexuality). My initial instinct was that too long for a single instalment, and so I sent it to Timmy as both a single and a two-part story. I asked Timmy to pick whichever he felt worked better. He chose the single instalment option - and there's no doubt he was right. His reason? That it simply flowed better that way. Which kind of underlines the point he made first in this thread that it really IS about flow and not length.

[Updated on: Mon, 21 June 2021 15:19]

Re: Chapter Size  [message #77887 is a reply to message #77881] Sun, 27 June 2021 19:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

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Flow is an interesting topic I  have a firm belief that the only thing that should interfere with flow is the end of a story. Thus, if a chapter end interferes with the flow the chapter has ended poorly or the next has started poorly. Reading must flow over chapter ends. That does not prevent a change of pace, a change of point of veiw, a time (or other) jump from happening at a chapter break, but it must flow well.

[Updated on: Sun, 27 June 2021 20:00]




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77888 is a reply to message #77887] Mon, 28 June 2021 01:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Teddy is currently offline  Teddy

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"timmy wrote on Sun, 27 June 2021 12:58"
Flow is an interesting topic I  have a firm belief that the only thing that should interfere with flow is the end of a story. Thus, if a chapter end interferes with the flow the chapter has ended poorly or the next has started poorly. Reading must flow over chapter ends. That does not prevent a change of pace, a change of point of veiw, a time (or other) jump from happening at a chapter break, but it must flow well.

--
It might be good to define what is meant by the term "flow". 

For me, it's a good flow if it doesn't leave me scratching my head going, "Wait... What???" or wondering if I missed something by mistakenly turning two pages instead of one.  



“There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.” - Terry Pratchett
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77889 is a reply to message #77888] Mon, 28 June 2021 06:17 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

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"Teddy wrote on Mon, 28 June 2021 02:48"

"timmy wrote on Sun, 27 June 2021 12:58"
Flow is an interesting topic I  have a firm belief that the only thing that should interfere with flow is the end of a story. Thus, if a chapter end interferes with the flow the chapter has ended poorly or the next has started poorly. Reading must flow over chapter ends. That does not prevent a change of pace, a change of point of veiw, a time (or other) jump from happening at a chapter break, but it must flow well.

--
It might be good to define what is meant by the term "flow". 

For me, it's a good flow if it doesn't leave me scratching my head going, "Wait... What???" or wondering if I missed something by mistakenly turning two pages instead of one.  

--
Good enough.

A story should not judder. Come to that it should not drag, either. "Harry Potter and the Enormously Long and Irrelevant Camping Trip" dragged. My view is that this also made it lack flow, because I got bored. There was a decent tale in there, hiding, somewhere, probably. I Just never quite found it.

[Updated on: Mon, 28 June 2021 06:18]




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77976 is a reply to message #77861] Thu, 05 August 2021 20:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean E is currently offline  Sean E

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I know that I'm am late to this discussion, and much has already been covered - but if I may, I'd like to add my 13-1/2 cents worth (2-cents really, adjusted for onflation, or something like that!): :d

When I started a story that was considered for another certain awesome-type site (ahem!), the first thing they tried to preach to me, rather rigidly, was "Your chapters are far too long! You use too many senseless words! If you ever hope to be taken seriously, you'll have to have your chapters cut down or consolidated!!" I couldn't understand it, really. "It should always strive to be artound 8000 words, or less, to keep a reader's attention!" was the answer I got back, rather rigidly, when I asked for an explanation. This is at a time I was only pushing things out to another certain niofty site (another ahem!), who didn't really care at all about structure or prose. It begged the question to me though, similar to what is being discussed here: is there a right way, or pattern, that should be followed? Because if there was, I was miserably out of step with reality.

To each their own though, I guess - but that level of rigidity, to me, never made sense, because it never emphasized anything that made sense. (Is that a contradiction of words? I wonder...) As Tim has emphasized here, I think it belongs to the "flow" of the narritive. For example, for my writing process, I always create a rough outline of what I want each story to include, sometimes with multiple arcs, and then knead them into a kind of guide. That guide helps me know when I'm accomplishing something with a piece that stands out, or stands by-itself, compared to the rest of my story. Then I know where to make my chapters "fit". The flow of what I'm doing tells me where I'm at in the tale I'm spinning and putting to (virtual) paper.

My way of doing it isn't perfect, though. For example, I wrote one story (Bully and the Bullied) thinking it would take me a while to describe out the mad father hunting down his son, where they would clash in a scene once and for all. Turns out, I did that in a single chapter and was quite satisfied with in when I finished. Then, there's another story I wrote called The Scars Above My Heart, that includes my two main characters going to a boys camp for part of their summer. As it turned out, I couldn't do what I wanted to accomplish in one chapter - even though that was what I originally planned! Instead, it's kind of like (again, Tim, although honestly I'm not trying to single you out my friend!) was explained above, that part of a story that stretched on and on for a bit (though thankfully not in the "Harry Potter and the..." style!) Still, I had to have my characters accomplish a few things at that camp, and it ended up taking me the better part of 3 chapters to make it happen. If I had been forced to chop it up more, or cut some of the things there, then well - honestly, I didn't think that would be me. It would have been rushed, haphazard, and a detraction from what I try to give my readers as a level of completeness to things...

The flow is something that happens as a part of the story, where events are progressing from one place, or stage, to the next. If they are disparate, or distinct yet building, then that's a "natural" place for a break, in my humble opinion. I don't know how many words are in most of my chapters, really - I have rarely ever considered looking at the counts. What I have watched is the number of pages. I mean, when I type them into MS Word (sorry, that just happens to be my word processor of choice, more or less), my pages avereage anywhere from 17 to 20, and sometimes even 22 or 23 pages (but not often) per chapter. I seriously try not to look at the page count or anything until I've at least filled out what I want, or think is needed in the chapter at first, before I'm ready to edit or flush things out further (or, is that flesh things out? See - even trying to find the right words catch me every once in a while!) When I start editing though, I try to make everything fit at least roughly into the same length. That is usually 17-20 pages per chapter, but I am not hard-bound to doing it. It's just what comes, um, natural to me, I guess. Then after the re-writes, the corrected language and spellings, the change or prose or such... my editor friend gets it to do his suggestions, too. In the end, I finish up with a chapter that fits what I set out to do.

So, that's kind of my process, and how I look at length. For better or worse, at least. Someday, however, I hope to at least stand on my own two feet and not call myself a wanna-be author anymore, and instead make myself a Junior, or Intermediate author of sorts. :)

Okay, I'm done. Thanks!
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77984 is a reply to message #77861] Mon, 09 August 2021 05:27 Go to previous messageGo to next message
James K is currently offline  James K

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I apologise for taking the thread into how I choose what to read when it's about chapter size, but I thought authors might like one person's view. 
Be kind to your readers. What length of chapter - 2000 to 4000 words, which can be read in 10 to 20 minutes. 10,000 words - too long. A 35,000 word short story which cannot be broken into sections or chapters - yes it can.
Online stories should be easy to read, else you risk losing your audience. Television series are easily broken into 50 minute episodes, why can't you break stories into 2000 to 4000 word chapters?
A lot of thought goes into the writing, at least I like to think so, much less into the presentation. There are "books" online by authors with weird pen names, stories with titles that read like an afterthought. There is very little done to "sell" a story, synopsis, review, discussion. Recommendations are one liners, anything else is non-existent. How am I going to find and choose to read your story?
In the absence of anything else, by title, size, and length, and I will chose short, with an interesting title, by someone who has a normal name. Which means, A Death in Missouri by PG Armes over, well, let's look at what I would open from the current offering: A Wartime Evacuee by Andrew Passey, maybe. An Overheard Conversation by Ivor Slipper, good title, but the author's name! Corners by Dabeagle, title says nothing, author name is weird. Prairie Dogs, Pronghorns & Penis Sheaths by Biff Spork, just wouldn't go there. Puppy for Sale by James Matthews, no, not because of the author, but who wants to read about puppies! The Wizard and the Torch by Flaulus, sounds like an historical sword and sorcery novel, not my thing, but at least you know what you're getting.
Those are my honest thoughts as a reader. I'm just not likely to open any of those stories. What I did open and read here was A Rainbow for Jack by Henke Sjorgen. Why? Because it's a great title by someone with a real name. No matter if the author name is a pen name, it's real, it's serious. Meaning, the writing must be serious and I wanted to know who Jack was and what was his rainbow!
This is how as a reader I choose what to open, afterwards it depends on the opening few paragraphs. You could argue that what I do is complete crap and unfair, but that is how it is, maybe other readers have different ways of choosing what stories to read? 
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77985 is a reply to message #77984] Mon, 09 August 2021 08:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

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"Never judge a book by its cover" was the basis of  of Books and Covers. It seems to me that one limits one's choices by judging a book by the pen name of the author or the title.

When you say that a 35,000 word story can be broken into chapters, what do you mean?



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77986 is a reply to message #77985] Mon, 09 August 2021 15:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Biff Spork is currently offline  Biff Spork

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Hi Teddy.
This has been a surprisingly interesting discussion and has made me think about how I go about deciding where to break a story into chapters. We all know that a sentence should be a complete thought and that a paragraph should be a set of topically related sentences. But I can't say I've ever read any prescription for what defines a chapter, or where one should start or end. Logically, it should consist of a set of related paragraphs. One expects, furthermore, that a chapter will comprise a discrete part of a story. However, with all three of these basic clusters of words there are considerations that have little to do with content. The length and construction of sentences and paragraphs both have an effect on the reader that can be more visceral than intellectual. If you want the reader to get caught up in action and excitement, then short direct sentences can be a good way to achieve this. The same holds true for paragraphs. Long, dense paragraphs are more meditative than action-oriented. 

Then there are the physical or ergonomic factors of how the work is formatted, characteristics that are almost independent of the content of the story - line length is an important one. It is well known that when reading long line lengths, many readers find it difficult to move to the beginning of the next line if the line length is more than about a hand-span. I suspect many readers, particularly of online works, may find long paragraphs too daunting for a similar reason - you have to pay a lot of attention to where your eyes are focused in the paragraph. That detracts from attention that could be devoted to the story and makes that willing suspension of disbelief we all reach for more difficult to attain. With shorter paragraphs it is easier for readers to move through the story. I very much like the way that Timmy has formatted the physical line length of the stories here with shorter line lengths instead of letting the lines stretch right across the screen. (Timmy, you might consider doing the same with these forum posts - give us pages with line lengths that are like the story pages and I suspect a few more members would participate in forum discussions). 

Other members have pointed out that reading on a screen is a different experience from reading a physical book. I find this so true that when I edit my writing I always alternate between printed and on-screen versions. So first I edit on-screen. Than I print it on paper and edit it again, and usually notice a bunch of other things I want to change. The next edit will be on-screen and that will be followed by another print-out. Word processors have changed my editing process significantly. I wrote my first books by hand with a pen and paper. Then I transcribed them using a typewritter and paper. A second editing would follow a re-typing of the entire manuscript. By the third draft I was physically exhausted. Now I don't pay any attention to how many draft versions a story goes through. I fancy that my writing has improved considerably as a result. 

I suspect that all the factors that I've mentioned above regarding sentences and paragraphs also relate to chapters. However, I find I haven't consciously considered all these factors when deciding on my own chapter divisions. I don't expect any of my stories will ever rest on a page of actual paper so I pay more attention to considerations that are particular to the internet. luvtwinks and Mark both pointed out that long chapters demand more of the online reader because if they are not finished at one go, then one has to waste time scrolling around to find where one stopped reading. A short chapter - say two to four thousand words - can almost aways be read at one sitting and even if your reading is interrupted, it is easy to find where you left off with a few clicks of the mouse. Also, shorter chapters lend themselves to reader habits such as bathroom and snack breaks and refreshing your drink. I suspect most readers of online stories are sitting at desks while most readers of paper books are probably sitting in easy chairs. However comfortable your desk chair may be, your easy chair is more-so, so shorter chapters are probably better for online tales because readers are more likely to get restless when sitting at desks.  

So, what's a chapter? I think the classical rules of drama as promulgated by Aristotle give us a useful framework, if we substitute the word 'chapter' for 'play'.
The classical unities or three unities indrama are:
• The unity of action: a play should have one main action that it follows, with no or fewsubplots.
• The unity of place: a play should cover a single physical space and should not attempt to compress geography, nor should the stage represent more than one place.
• The unity of time: the action in a play should take place over no more than 24 hours.

Our lives have chapters - often defined by time, location and action. So, from 1970 to 1975 I owned and operated an organic farm in a semi-arid desert. From 1975 to 1983 I studied International Development at a university in a coastal city. From 1983 to 2000 I lived in various African countries and worked in water projects. Action, time and location are useful and natural ways of defining chapters. Action can be a little harder to pin down but I suspect it usually fits within time and location contexts. I find I lean towards one day = one chapter. Sometimes, when the action is concentrated and significant, then one day will yield two or three chapters - morning, afternoon and evening. Often there are changes of location and/or action throughout the day that make these divisions even more natural.  

So, a chapter begins with either a new action sequence, a new location or at the beginning of a new temporal period, or all three. The chapter can end when the action is completed, when the location changes or when the temporal period ends, or all three. I suspect that the more that all three of the unities are characteristic of a chapter, the more natural and satisfying that chapter is for the reader.  

And how long should a chapter be? Though I wish the previous poster James K was more tolerant of my pseudonym or the title of my story, for online reading I am pretty much in agreement with him on a 2,000 to 4,000 or 5,000 word count. In addition, at least one of the unities should be observed and ideally, though not necessarily, all three - one action, one place, one chunk of time.

[Updated on: Mon, 09 August 2021 15:51]




Consider becoming vegan. It's good for your health. It's kind and respectful to other animals. It's a good way to make an individual gesture towards averting the climate crisis. It's easy - if a lazy degenerate like me can do it, anyone can.
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77987 is a reply to message #77984] Mon, 09 August 2021 20:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Teddy is currently offline  Teddy

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Messages: 466



"James K wrote on Sun, 08 August 2021 22:27"
I apologise for taking the thread into how I choose what to read when it's about chapter size, but I thought authors might like one person's view. [/font-size]
Be kind to your readers. What length of chapter - 2000 to 4000 words, which can be read in 10 to 20 minutes.


--

Really? And why bother picking up the book at all unless one dearly loves flash fiction and nothing else?

For this reader, the bigger the book the better, and chapter size is nearly irrelavent except to mark a stopping place when I get sleepy, or not, if I get sleepy before reaching the end of it. But that's me. Others may experience results different from mine.


"Quote:"
An Overheard Conversation by Ivor Slipper, good title, but the author's name! Corners by Dabeagle, title says nothing, author name is weird. Prairie Dogs, Pronghorns & Penis Sheaths by Biff Spork, just wouldn't go there. Puppy for Sale by James Matthews, no, not because of the author, but who wants to read about puppies! The Wizard and the Torch by Flaulus, sounds like an historical sword and sorcery novel, not my thing, but at least you know what you're getting.


t'would seem to me that imagination is part and parcel of good story writing and there's definitely no rule that says a title or pen name must lack imagination and be as austere as a Calvinist Reverend. 

[Updated on: Mon, 09 August 2021 20:56]




“There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.” - Terry Pratchett
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77988 is a reply to message #77986] Mon, 09 August 2021 21:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Teddy is currently offline  Teddy

Really getting into it
Location: USA
Registered: October 2006
Messages: 466



"Biff Spork wrote on Mon, 09 August 2021 08:36"
luvtwinks and Mark both pointed out that long chapters demand more of the online reader because if they are not finished at one go, then one has to waste time scrolling around to find where one stopped reading.

--

Thanks for your comments. I found all of them informative except the one quoted above which rather boggled me, as did those of the similar ones from the commentors to which you referred. While I will agree that in the early days of the internet and the various bulliten boards it was a bit more cumbersome to pick up where one left off, this is a problem I have NEVER encountered withtin confines of the last 15-20 years, give or take, and the ability of putting your computer or device to sleep or turning it completely off and back on again, that have made it possible to pick up a page exactly where I left off. Or is this a feature you don't utilize? I thought everyone did?

[Updated on: Mon, 09 August 2021 21:09]




“There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.” - Terry Pratchett
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77989 is a reply to message #77988] Mon, 09 August 2021 21:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Biff Spork is currently offline  Biff Spork

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It doesn't happen to me often, either, but a few times after getting engrossed in a story on the Nif site, I have realized it's way too long for the time I have to spare. I close the page and the site because I don't want to leave them on my computer for the sake of privacy. What I read is my business. Then when I return to the story it can be challenging to find exactly where I left off. It's a minor problem for sure but it adds a little weight to the argument for bite-size chapters.



Consider becoming vegan. It's good for your health. It's kind and respectful to other animals. It's a good way to make an individual gesture towards averting the climate crisis. It's easy - if a lazy degenerate like me can do it, anyone can.
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77990 is a reply to message #77989] Tue, 10 August 2021 05:06 Go to previous messageGo to next message
James K is currently offline  James K

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35,000 words is a book, to make it readable it should be divided into seven to twelve chapters. It's like paperbacks, they are not too large and easy to carry around. You want to make it difficult to read, you lose readers. You cannot really bookmark the spot you left off reading, you can bookmark a chapter. For the commentator who leaves the page open on their computer, that only works if you are doing nothing else on your device. What about if you are reading on a tablet at home and your phone on the train?

It is all about making it easy to read, but in the first place it's about getting the reader to open the book. Ebooks are so much better, they save the page you last read, they have covers, they look and read like, well, books.

Some sites have book covers and the covers catch the eye, a brief synopsis intrigues, a title grabs you. I am not telling you what to do, only pointing out what attracts and what doesn't for myself as a reader. Maybe you need a poll of the site: do you read series? Long chapters of 10k words or more? Do you judge a book by its title? Etc. That's the only way you might tell if my views are common or I'm odd!

But think about this: why do newspapers have headlines? Why do films have posters? Why do actors do interviews? Publicity, buzz, getting talked about. Even bad publicity is good for grabbing an audience. Some readers will be intrigued by Prairie Dogs, Pronghorns & Penis Sheaths by Biff Spork http://iomfats.org/storyshelf/hosted/biff-spork/prairie-dogs -pronghorns-penis-sheaths/01.html, simply because it's getting talked about. But, Biff, you have to take the momentum of the current thread and start a new one, titled Prairie Dogs, Pronghorns & Penis Sheaths - What's it all about? Readers will go there and read that thread and probably click the link to your story, just because we are talking about it. Do not be afraid of self-promotion, every dude does it!!!

And one last thing - there is nothing more frustrating than a comment about a great story someone is reading, with no f****** link to click. More work to find it!

PS. Writing, copy/paste to this forum sucks... You ought to get it working to make it easy (normal). The site is not up to date, not secure, not https and carries a warning telling you the site is dangerous - "go back to safety." That is going to alienate half the people coming here.

Re: Chapter Size  [message #77991 is a reply to message #77990] Tue, 10 August 2021 07:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13585



"James K wrote on Tue, 10 August 2021 06:06"
35,000 words is a book, to make it readable it should be divided into seven to twelve chapters. It's like paperbacks, they are not too large and easy to carry around. You want to make it difficult to read, you lose readers. You cannot really bookmark the spot you left off reading, you can bookmark a chapter. For the commentator who leaves the page open on their computer, that only works if you are doing nothing else on your device. What about if you are reading on a tablet at home and your phone on the train?

It is all about making it easy to read, but in the first place it's about getting the reader to open the book. Ebooks are so much better, they save the page you last read, they have covers, they look and read like, well, books.

Some sites have book covers and the covers catch the eye, a brief synopsis intrigues, a title grabs you. I am not telling you what to do, only pointing out what attracts and what doesn't for myself as a reader. Maybe you need a poll of the site: do you read series? Long chapters of 10k words or more? Do you judge a book by its title? Etc. That's the only way you might tell if my views are common or I'm odd!

But think about this: why do newspapers have headlines? Why do films have posters? Why do actors do interviews? Publicity, buzz, getting talked about. Even bad publicity is good for grabbing an audience. Some readers will be intrigued by Prairie Dogs, Pronghorns & Penis Sheaths by Biff Spork http://iomfats.org/storyshelf/hosted/biff-spork/prairie-dogs -pronghorns-penis-sheaths/01.html, simply because it's getting talked about. But, Biff, you have to take the momentum of the current thread and start a new one, titled Prairie Dogs, Pronghorns & Penis Sheaths - What's it all about? Readers will go there and read that thread and probably click the link to your story, just because we are talking about it. Do not be afraid of self-promotion, every dude does it!!!

And one last thing - there is nothing more frustrating than a comment about a great story someone is reading, with no f****** link to click. More work to find it!

PS. Writing, copy/paste to this forum sucks... You ought to get it working to make it easy (normal). The site is not up to date, not secure, not https and carries a warning telling you the site is dangerous - "go back to safety." That is going to alienate half the people coming here.



--
The world is full of experts. Thank yoiu for sharing your expertise.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77992 is a reply to message #77991] Tue, 10 August 2021 12:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
James K is currently offline  James K

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"timmy wrote on Tue, 10 August 2021 07:31"
timmy wrote on Tue, 10 August 2021 07:31
Thank yoiu for sharing your expertise.

--
You're welcome, but I'm no expert, just a Joe Bloggs, your average reader. You can take or leave my comments, but I call it as I see it, if you don't want to see what's very obvious (to me) you just carry on as is and readers will take it or leave for themselves. Have a good day!

Re: Chapter Size  [message #77993 is a reply to message #77992] Tue, 10 August 2021 22:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

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"James K wrote on Tue, 10 August 2021 13:53"

"timmy wrote on Tue, 10 August 2021 07:31"
timmy wrote on Tue, 10 August 2021 07:31
Thank yoiu for sharing your expertise.

--
You're welcome, but I'm no expert, just a Joe Bloggs, your average reader. You can take or leave my comments, but I call it as I see it, if you don't want to see what's very obvious (to me) you just carry on as is and readers will take it or leave for themselves. Have a good day!



--
I can see what is obvious to you. You have made it abundantly clear.

You want short chapters  because you haven't the attention span to read long ones. You can't be bothered with things you can't be bothered with. You like carping about things. Regrettably your carping is tl;dr

Most people do  not come here to whine about stuff. You have come here with some sort of agenda. This is a warning shot. Continue like this and you will be voting to  leave. As the benign despot who runs this place I will enforce your vote.

As an alternatve, play nice and be welcome.

You choose.

Me? I'm happy either way.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77995 is a reply to message #77993] Wed, 11 August 2021 06:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
James K is currently offline  James K

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Look, you (TImmy) started this with your one line snide remark attacking me personally and not a reply about chapter length, the website being out of date, or anything else mentioned in the thread. 

I have no agenda of any sort, I am giving my opinion about how I see things. When I said "it's obvious," I was referring to the website not being up to date, specifically that it is not a https address, and that will send a lot of people away, because it carries a warning on browsers that the site is not secure and a connection to the site is not private.

Your reply is another personal attack telling me, "I can't be bothered with things, I have a short attention span..." in plain English, I'm a moron.

You have your finger on the button, so if you want to nuke me, go ahead, you will only be proving you are not open to other people's points of view. I came here to comment about things, not to have an argument - "The world is full of experts. Thank you for sharing your expertise." Do you think that is a nice thing to say or a personal attack?

Don't give me warnings like some manic psychotic teacher when if anyone has written something out of place, it is you, not me! ☹
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77996 is a reply to message #77995] Wed, 11 August 2021 08:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Bisexual_Guy is currently offline  Bisexual_Guy

Likes it here
Location: USA Midwest
Registered: September 2015
Messages: 130



"James K wrote on Wed, 11 August 2021 06:56"
Look, you (TImmy) started this with your one line snide remark attacking me personally and not a reply about chapter length, the website being out of date, or anything else mentioned in the thread. 

I have no agenda of any sort, I am giving my opinion about how I see things. When I said "it's obvious," I was referring to the website not being up to date, specifically that it is not a https address, and that will send a lot of people away, because it carries a warning on browsers that the site is not secure and a connection to the site is not private.

Your reply is another personal attack telling me, "I can't be bothered with things, I have a short attention span..." in plain English, I'm a moron.

You have your finger on the button, so if you want to nuke me, go ahead, you will only be proving you are not open to other people's points of view. I came here to comment about things, not to have an argument - "The world is full of experts. Thank you for sharing your expertise." Do you think that is a nice thing to say or a personal attack?

Don't give me warnings like some manic psychotic teacher when if anyone has written something out of place, it is you, not me! ☹

--
Let's take your points, one by one.  Warning:  You probably will not like what I have to say.

A]  The website is not out of date.  Timmy covered the "https" issue in posts on this forum two or three years ago.  I don't have time to look it up at this time; I might have time in the future.  My browser does not carry such a warning, whether I use Chrome, Firefox, or Edge.  The browsers I use are up-to-date and use actual, reported viruses and malware warnings to judge the websites I visit.  There IS, however, considerable malware out there which generates false warnings about a particular website or category of websites.

B]  Your comment on the attention span tells on you.  Most chapters I read, whether on GayAuthors dot org, Dabeagle dot net, AwesomeDude dot com, IOMfAtS, Nifty dot org, CodeysWorld dot com, tickiestories dot us, storylover dot us, themustardjar dot com, ao3 dot org, or whatever, have many stories with long chapters by your own definition -- chapters with more than four thousand words.  (Years ago, when I had much more time, I read a story of eleven chapters, and they ranged in length from 30,000 words to 93,000 words.)  An anecdotal observation tells me that younger persons often have shorter attention spans than those age 45 and up.  In the last three years, I have seen television commercials that were two and three SECONDS long.  We are training the human race to have shorter and shorter attention spans so we can get in all the ads and commercials.  While chapters can be very short -- I have seen some on GA less than fifty words, but rarely -- many chapters are just getting started well at three or four thousand words.

C]  You are complaining about not getting it your way, if persons don't kowtow to your demand of chapters of less than 4,000 words.  If you want short, choppy chapters, you have the right to look elsewhere.  In the meantime, authors have the right to write their stories with varying chapter lengths.  If they are happy, the website owner and website manager  and webmaster (sometimes the same person, sometimes multiple persons) is/are happy, and the readers are happy, why worry?  You do have the right to read elsewhere, if you wish.

D]  Timmy was being very restrained in his earlier comment, and also in his warning.

E]  This is a website which is free to use.  But there are rules.  (See the Netiquette here section, located at the top of the Forum page.)

I could say more, but I do not think it would be helpful.  But I back what Timmy, Teddy, Biff Spork, cm, Geron Kees, Cole Parker, luvtwinks, Jolyon Lewes, and several others have stated.  The main consensus I see is that opinions are varied, and the others I have mentioned have agreed to agree or disagree in a friendly way.  
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77997 is a reply to message #77995] Wed, 11 August 2021 09:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13585



"James K wrote on Wed, 11 August 2021 07:56"
Look, you (TImmy) started this with your one line snide remark attacking me personally and not a reply about chapter length, the website being out of date, or anything else mentioned in the thread. 

I have no agenda of any sort, I am giving my opinion about how I see things. When I said "it's obvious," I was referring to the website not being up to date, specifically that it is not a https address, and that will send a lot of people away, because it carries a warning on browsers that the site is not secure and a connection to the site is not private.

Your reply is another personal attack telling me, "I can't be bothered with things, I have a short attention span..." in plain English, I'm a moron.

You have your finger on the button, so if you want to nuke me, go ahead, you will only be proving you are not open to other people's points of view. I came here to comment about things, not to have an argument - "The world is full of experts. Thank you for sharing your expertise." Do you think that is a nice thing to say or a personal attack?

Don't give me warnings like some manic psychotic teacher when if anyone has written something out of place, it is you, not me! ☹

--
I will take that reply as part of your current behaviour. It is your future behaviour that concerns me.

Play nice and become welcome. Continue in the way that you have started and you will be choosing to leave. As I have said, I am happy either way.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Chapter Size  [message #77998 is a reply to message #77996] Wed, 11 August 2021 09:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

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Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13585



"Quote:"
The website is not out of date.  Timmy covered the "https" issue in posts on this forum two or three years ago.  I don't have time to look it up at this time; I might have time in the future.


The https issue is a simple thing.  It is a red herring created by organisations like Google to force everyone into https, which
  • slows web site performance (need to buy more powerful server space)
  • provides them with an extra revenue stream for security certificates.

They warn and warn because they seek to blackmail or otherwise cajole webmasters into spending extra money.

Where no personal data and especially no financial data is collected there is 100% no point in having https. Even on the forum or the site email list, where anonymised identitites are the norm, there is no rationale for https.

They rely on the gullible surfers to seek to force webmasters to comply with something that is irrelevant unimportant, counter-productive, and useless.

I could go for a free security certificate scheme. That requires:
  • work
  • likely a more powerful, more costly server

It provides absolutely zero benefit to the end user, but appeases the gullible. In this the gullible are seen by those pushing https as useful idiots.

These useful idiots are already circumvented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The tinfoil hat brigade can use it to their heart's content.

[Updated on: Wed, 11 August 2021 13:59]




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Chapter Size  [message #78002 is a reply to message #77998] Wed, 11 August 2021 19:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
James K is currently offline  James K

Getting started

Registered: August 2021
Messages: 19



There is some miss-quoting happening here. I didn't bring up attention span, Timmy did, "You want short chapters  because you haven't the attention span to read long ones." Actually, it is because it is more practical reading ten minutes or twenty minutes and knowing you pick up the story at chapter x and don't have to search where you left off.

In reply to previous comments: Firstly, to Bisexual Guy, point A, see below browser message. Point B, yes, there is huge variation in chapter lengths. Point C, I am not complaining or demanding short chapters, I am stating my personal preference regarding chapter lengths, in response to the thread question. Authors can make whatever length of chapters or stories they want. 

I don't want to upset you either, but drawing the conclusion that younger persons often have shorter attention spans, is founded on what research? 

Point D, no comment. Point E, I believe I follow the rules of Netiquette.

Secondly, to Timmy, I see you have strong views about website certification and huge multinationals, Google etc.You have a point, not certain I agree. What I would say is that getting the message below is, well, likely to send people running. And the message is on Chrome you click the little - I - symbol in the address bar, top of browser window. For some sites the message fills the screen, so perhaps people may not notice it here.

Unsecured connection
Your connection to this site isn't private.
The identity of this website has not been verified.
Your connection to forum.iomfats.org is not encrypted.

It really doesn't matter whether you do or don't need certification and encryption, the message is likely to stop people coming here. Maybe it's not logical, but it's like walking in the countryside, and you see a sign, Danger Keep Out. There may be no danger, but a lot of people will not enter.
Re: Chapter Size  [message #78003 is a reply to message #78002] Wed, 11 August 2021 21:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13585



"James K wrote on Wed, 11 August 2021 20:44"
There is some miss-quoting happening here. I didn't bring up attention span, Timmy did, "You want short chapters  because you haven't the attention span to read long ones." Actually, it is because it is more practical reading ten minutes or twenty minutes and knowing you pick up the story at chapter x and don't have to search where you left off.

In reply to previous comments: Firstly, to Bisexual Guy, point A, see below browser message. Point B, yes, there is huge variation in chapter lengths. Point C, I am not complaining or demanding short chapters, I am stating my personal preference regarding chapter lengths, in response to the thread question. Authors can make whatever length of chapters or stories they want. 

I don't want to upset you either, but drawing the conclusion that younger persons often have shorter attention spans, is founded on what research? 

Point D, no comment. Point E, I believe I follow the rules of Netiquette.

Secondly, to Timmy, I see you have strong views about website certification and huge multinationals, Google etc.You have a point, not certain I agree. What I would say is that getting the message below is, well, likely to send people running. And the message is on Chrome you click the little - I - symbol in the address bar, top of browser window. For some sites the message fills the screen, so perhaps people may not notice it here.

Unsecured connection
Your connection to this site isn't private.
The identity of this website has not been verified.
Your connection to forum.iomfats.org is not encrypted.

It really doesn't matter whether you do or don't need certification and encryption, the message is likely to stop people coming here. Maybe it's not logical, but it's like walking in the countryside, and you see a sign, Danger Keep Out. There may be no danger, but a lot of people will not enter.

--
Please allow me to  guide you here.

The words you are looking for are along the lines of "I seem to have misjudged my first post. I apologise for that. I'd like to draw a line under this and start again."

While you are looking for the right phrasing I think you need to go back outside the room and think about what you have said in it. When you have done so you are welcome to  return, if you play nice. If you are not going to play nice you may stay outside the door.

I am still perfectly happy either way.

[Updated on: Wed, 11 August 2021 21:42]




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Chapter Size  [message #78013 is a reply to message #77989] Fri, 13 August 2021 21:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Teddy is currently offline  Teddy

Really getting into it
Location: USA
Registered: October 2006
Messages: 466



"Biff Spork wrote on Mon, 09 August 2021 14:50"
I close the page and the site because I don't want to leave them on my computer for the sake of privacy. What I read is my business.

--
I understand that desire. Some of us have to be more concerned about that than do others and I certainly won't be critical in that regard. For me, I don't allow anyone access to my device and I don't leave it open and unguarded, ever, except around those whom I trust, and there are definitely those within my larger circle of family and acquaintences who I don't trust. My approach seems to work for me, and like I've said elsewhere, others experience may vary. Smile



“There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.” - Terry Pratchett
Re: Chapter Size  [message #78020 is a reply to message #77988] Sat, 14 August 2021 21:08 Go to previous messageGo to previous message
Mark

Likes it here
Location: Earth
Registered: April 2013
Messages: 258



"Teddy wrote on Mon, 09 August 2021 15:07"

"Biff Spork wrote on Mon, 09 August 2021 08:36"
luvtwinks and Mark both pointed out that long chapters demand more of the online reader because if they are not finished at one go, then one has to waste time scrolling around to find where one stopped reading.




--

Thanks for your comments. I found all of them informative except the one quoted above which rather boggled me, as did those of the similar ones from the commentors to which you referred. While I will agree that in the early days of the internet and the various bulliten boards it was a bit more cumbersome to pick up where one left off, this is a problem I have NEVER encountered withtin confines of the last 15-20 years, give or take, and the ability of putting your computer or device to sleep or turning it completely off and back on again, that have made it possible to pick up a page exactly where I left off. Or is this a feature you don't utilize? I thought everyone did?




--

I must confess I don't know of anything that allows you to pick up where you left off in the middle of an on-line chapter (at least on both IOMFATS and Nifty) if you have to shut down the browser (or even the computer as a whole).  Granted, I don't claim to be any sort of Internet technical expert by any means, so for all I know there's some program out there that says, "You not only went to this webpage last, but this is where you stopped reading on it."  However, if there is, I certainly haven't heard of it, and as such am forced to either rely on my (sometimes faulty) memory or I have to manually write it down somewhere and hope I can quickly find my place again.

"James K wrote on Wed, 11 August 2021 13:44"

Point E, I believe I follow the rules of Netiquette.


--

I don't want to stir up the hornet's nest here (and if Timmy thinks I am in the wrong myself with the comments I am about to make, I agree to abide by whatever disciplinary measures he sees fit to send my way), but you and I, Sir, must be operating on a rather different definition of Netiquette here.  Netiquette, to me, means that I don't charge in and say things like I think authors here have "weird pen names" (your words, not mine!) or "stories with titles that read like an afterthought" (again, your words, not mine!).  You seem to want to bypass (or at least consider bypassing) even those stories that meet your criteria - "A Wartime Evacuee" by Andrew Passey seems like a rather explanatory title by someone with an ordinary enough sounding name, yet you indicated that you might only "maybe" read it, while apparently insisting (if I understand you correctly) that you are taken aback by the name of another author here - Ivor Slipper.  "But the author's name!" you declare (how that's being polite and following Netiquette is admittedly beyond me).  A title like "Corners" might actually make perfect sense if you actually take the time to read the story itself.  And who wants to read a story about puppies?  Well, several people here do, going off of some of the comments I've read so far on this message board (and those commenting here about it are, I suspect, a small fraction of the total number of people who have read "Puppy for Sale").

And finally: "Don't give me warnings like some manic psychotic teacher when if anyone has written something out of place, it is you, not me!"  Really?  The last time I checked, this is Timmy's site, not yours.  He can hand out wanings here in any fashion he darn well pleases, especially when the one making the said comment is hardly in a position to be able to claim to not have written anything out of place.

[Updated on: Sat, 14 August 2021 21:09]

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