FictionPress Round Table Discussion
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NsShadowSerpent

Uh... well hello. I suppose I'm still fairly new here to FictionPress, and this would probably be my first time posting in a forum, but I'll skip the introductions and just get straight to my point.

I've been wondering exactly what would be an ideal word count per chapter in a manga story. Other authors on the website in the manga category have some fairly good stories, but I've noticed that they are often quite long in length per chapter. I think maybe the length of the story chapter might deter readers when they see such a long scroll bar.

Maybe it's only me, but I've also noticed chapters around the length of maybe 1500-2500 words seem to attract more readers. I'm assuming it is because they don't have to spend such a long amount of time reading a single segment, and are more compelled to leave critique. Has anyone else noticed a trend between the number of words per chapter and the amount of people who stick with your story? What are your thoughts when considering the amount of words per chapter? In your opinion, what would be the ideal chapter length?

10/25/2010 . Edited 10/25/2010 #1
Eytha

It's funny that you ask. We were have a discussion about that in brief in another thread. I think there are more factors involved beyond just having shorter length chapter to become popular and attract interest. I've seen plenty of stories that are short that don't have much attention. Part of it is becoming established, but also networking with the other readers and writers. You'll tend to get more eyes looking if you end up going out and meeting people either through the forums or just reviewing other people's stories. I suspect a lot of the reason there are high review volumes for some stories despite the lack of quality at times is just due to the fact that they get out there and review other people like crazy and grabbing interest or the polite return review.

It is possible to have a popular story that has really long chapters. In the end I think it is best to work with what you feel works for yourself rather than forcing yourself into a mold that may end up causing you problems later. Networking will end up getting you more attention than a short chapter.

10/29/2010 #2
NsShadowSerpent

Thanks for the response. I thought for a moment that I had some kind of "ya don't write good" or "fail author!" disease. I've already realized that in order to really get people to take a look at a story, you gotta review others. I've left like ninety reviews so far, hoping to bump up my Magical Girl Story. Most of the stories here that do have a high review count are usually because of fellow authors reviewing others in return. I have a few reviewers I'm still expecting... You know who you are.

Anyway, stories that have been here for an awful long time have even attracted outside readers, so I suppose it's just something I'll have to be patient with before it happens to me.

I did divide some of my chapters up though previously before the response, but it wasn't so much that I wanted to, but I thought maybe it was too long for readers and fellow authors alike. (My chapters are usually six-thousand words, so I guess that's why it takes me so long to update.) I find it tough to review a chapter and offer corrections for an author when it's very long from my experience, so maybe it'll help. Anyway, I'm probably rambling at this point, but I want to have one of those stories where someone can jump in and read it, then offer critique without wasting hours of their time wading though a sea of words.

I'll really take what you've said to heart, because in the end, I suppose it really is up to the author to decide what works best.

10/31/2010 #3
Eytha

Yeah, it is pretty common to see in those popular stories the same like 10-15 people reviewing after every chapter. Probably because they know each other and doing it to help out friends or whatever. But in the end people can't see how many hits or views a story gets so they can only judge popularity on number of reviews.

I have noticed at least with one of my stories where I have pretty short chapters that people will review in a bunches. They'll read like 8 or 10 chapters before giving a review because they just breeze through. And I think some of them probably feel a little uneasy about providing 80 or 90 reviews because my story has so many chapters. So it is possible that shorter chapters could reduce the quantity of reviews.

I actually find it easier to review longer chapters than shorter ones. Short chapters have too little happening so often that it is hard to provide proper feedback. A long chapter has a lot going on and I have plenty that I can respond back on. So I feel like I'm being more useful to the author.

10/31/2010 #4
NsShadowSerpent

Hmm, seems to be about personal reader preference with things like that, and perhaps just building a proper fan base. I think it helps if the fan base you have, or the authors that review works in return have some sort of interest in the stories that are written, otherwise it'll probably just end up with half-hearted responses. It's nice to receive that return review, but it helps even more if the reviewer in question actually likes your story.

About the reviewing in bunches, I think that actually happens a lot with a good number of stories here too. I think people end up liking it so much, that they'll just read the story without actually reviewing if there are a large number of chapters. That may have something to do with reviewers skipping over so many chapters rather than just reviewing them one at a time. A good hook or cliff hanger might give that spark.

Anyway, on another completely unrelated note, thanks for taking the time to offer some serious in depth-critique for Mahou Shojo Miyabita Hana.

I'm glad to see that there weren't any grammatical errors. I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to things like that. From what I've heard, people can get quickly turned off from a story at the slightest sign of it.

On a second note, originally, I had these chapters merged into a single section. When I did, the first major occurring event happened at the very end of the chapter. Thing was, the chapter topped over at about nine-thousand words, lol. I think I ended it on a good cliff hanger, but you're right, there needs to be more of a reason to attract a reader to click on the second chapter, so maybe I can come up with something better. If it were an actual light novel, many of these chapters would be easily be merged.

As for the prologue, I'm considering revising it, as I think maybe describing the beginning with detailed action and dialogue might be better than just inner thoughts. It's just how she thinks, but not in particularly how Hana actually is, lol.

Anyway, I'm rambling and getting off topic again, but I think a good key like you've said, is to end on a note with a good hook to attract those readers. If authors could know what kind of good hook to throw out there, it would definitely keep them coming back for more.

11/1/2010 #5
Eytha

Sorry, I haven't responded for a while, illness claimed my time preventing me from doing much of anything for most of the week. I finally getting back into the rhythm of things at this point. But I can agree that there is a certain degree of preference for reading and reviewing. Though I'd imagine that if the story did not fall into their personal preference then they wouldn't not even continue reading it unless they felt obligated to do so. If you're uninterested you tend not to leave anything behind. So most of those concerns would come from people that are being obligated to do so. And then probably depending on the person it is very likely you'll end up getting a half hearted response. However, a good person can provide feedback even if it is not to their liking. I've seen that with someone that reviewed me. They said the genre was not really their interest, but they still provided something useful and positive. But it is certainly true that you'll struggle with that. If it is possible having a wide variety of stories that play to different interest probably will help, though I would imagine that would be very difficult for many.

People tend to still to a single genre or style and play to those in that base without really straying too far away from there. Which is certainly a perfectly natural thing to do. If you build a strong base in one genre it is difficult to feel like going out to something else and losing those people because they are likely not going to be interested. And even writers have their own preferred areas to be writing in. Those types of writers that stick a single genre or style can do quite well for themselves because the same people will keep going to the next story and they don't have to worry about finding a new audience each time.

So branching out in others can be difficult. But it can also be good for a broader audience base so people can review, but not feel forced into something that they are not interested in. It is certainly trying to do so. Pretty much all of my stories fall into different genres and even some of the stylistic things change as well. The funny things is that my preferred genre is actually fantasy writing, which I have done none. But then again, my own view is that if I haven't written it then I want to write it to see if I can write it. Even if I fail I can have fun while doing it.

That's a long winded tangent.

It is true that if it was a light novel everything would be different. Though considering the subject of the thread was length, I wouldn't worry too much about it. If it has to 9,000 words to get the introduction done then I think that is fine. Naturally, others will disagree with me. Peoples say my intro chapters for my recent stories are too long, but I felt it was necessary to do. Something I did realize from writing Shift was that the original first chapter I wrote which I put in something strange and mysterious for the cliffhanger was just not enough. It was far too small and subtle I think to really get people, not to mention the exciting stuff doesn't really happen for a few more chapters. So I revised it for a more action packed introduction, as a big glorified hook that in the end was pretty inconsequential to the story. The funny thing from doing it is that it ended up confusing a lot of people despite the advanced warnings I provided people.

One thing that could be possible to do and has been done before is a non-linear approach. You know that it is going to take time to reach the action or exciting part of the story, but you want a big draw so people are psyched up for the story. So you put all of the drama or action in the first pages cutting out all introductions and build up. They are just dropped in the middle of chaos. Then you dial back and say how you got to that point by laying out the foundation and build up until you are back to where you are. Normally, that still happens in the first chapter, but I think you could get away with it split up. You just have that big impact in the first chapter and retrace the steps in the following chapters to till you're back. It might be a option.

11/7/2010 #6
Charming Dice

Chapter length matters, but like most things in life, talent and personal connections are king. If you're good enough or connected enough, you can get anyway with anything. Including massive chapters. If you're not, then you should pay more attention to the little things like the presentation -- which includes the story title, summary, paragraph size, chapter length, chapter titles, use of italics, etc. I would say pay attention to that stuff even if you're good and/or connected, but that's a personal choice.

I always say the ideal chapter length for this site is around 2000 words. And I say paragraph size is something to consider too, because everybody hates walls of text on a computer screen. Spacing isn't something to obsess over, but it does matter to a point. But the better you writing, the less people care.

The biggest reasons for keeping chapters short are in this link http://www.useit.com/alertbox/whyscanning.html. Take that how you want. In the end, do it whatever way is enjoyable for you. I would tell you its all about you the author and do what you want, how you want, when you want.

But remember: you can do the little things to make your story more accessible to readers, without ruining your story in the process. Balancing the two is a skill, not everyone has or wants. But I think it's worth mastering. Because if you can't be bothered to consider your readers when presenting your story, don't be surprised if they can't be bothered with reading it. But if you completely sacrifice your vision to please others, you won't be satisfied at all.

Balance, talent, direction, connections, attention to detail, hard work, and confidence = epic win always. No matter what you're doing in life. Hope that helps.

11/11/2010 . Edited 11/11/2010 #7
Eytha

The option always exists, so long as you're at your own computer, to just leave the story up where you stopped if you're unable to read it. When you stop it is not like you're being forced to close out the tab or window. You can just leave it up and pick it up back up later like you would a book. Most people tend not to finish a book in a single sitting, so it is not something that they would be unfamiliar with doing. I've done it a couple of times for longer stories, because it was getting late or something came up. It is not a bad thing to do.

You will actually find people that appreciate having a longer chapter. I've had a few people that said they were pleased to see long chapters because they had been finding stories that were way too short. So things certainly go both ways. I'll readily admit that there are probably fewer people that want long chapters to short chapters. The type of audience you have will end up playing into that, if you play to your audience interests.

How often you update probably will have a factor in it as well. If you update weekly, then shorter is probably going to be better on the reader. The reader won't have the time to read a lot if they are an activate reader around here. But if you come in once a month or couple months you probably will want something longer or then the reader may feel like they are getting short changed. How frustrating would it be for you be reading your favorite manga and waiting eagerly for the next chapter, but it is a month away. And then when it comes you only get 15 pages, less than a weekly chapter. You'd probably feel really annoyed that you got so little for such a long wait. There tends to be a reason monthly manga are longer, aside from just having more time to do the work. The faster you put out something the less you give and get away with it because it is just another week to wait. You keep that want and desire high by giving a little to keep them happy, but not enough that they feel they can walk away.

But then again, I take the name manga section here on Fiction Press far more literal than most do.

11/14/2010 #8
NsShadowSerpent

I agree there with what you've said Dice, as while I do very seriously take what reviewers suggest or advise for me to do to clean up my story and edit accordingly, sometimes I find myself getting so caught up in those, that I lose focus on the direction of my story. As a result, I found myself getting frustrated and annoyed that I couldn't please everyone who read it, which is one of the primary reasons for my hiatus. I know I can't capture every error that I see, or write flawlessly, but I guess I'm just a sucker for considering everyone else's opinion when it comes to things like that.

I took the time to add a small prologue with maybe some more questions popping up, and as for the the first chapter I decided to take Eytha's suggestion (Good to hear you're feeling better by the way) and add quite a bit of length to it, (around 7154 words to the former 4254). So maybe that will provide a temporary hold over until I can get around to said action. I haven't posted the newest revisions, but hopefully it will be a bit more enjoyable once they're up.

I'm still quite the newbie writer, so I haven't really mastered the whole non-linear approach to writing or anything else for that matter. I am taking some time to read a few light novel manga for reference though, particularly Strawberry Panic and Toradora! so maybe it'll help.

11/15/2010 #9
Eytha

There is a saying that says you can't please everyone all the time, which is certainly going to be true with writing. People will have different opinions and different things that they like and dislike. It is better to take the ideas that you agree with and work with your style rather than to take everything. Because like you said, if you try to do everything it is just going to hurt yourself in the end. It is not a problem to ignore advice, people give bad advice sometimes.

The whole sick thing put me behind the eight ball with my work, but I'll get back on track soon enough. Length for your first chapter was not really an issue. It was more the lack of a strong hook. Doing character development in the first chapter can be a little awkward when the direction of the story remains unclear and the focus does not seem to be present. If it was just slice of life and not a magical girl like you have then it really would not be a problem. But since you have that it is good to introduce that element early.

If you want a less orthodox magical girl story Nurse Angel Ririka SOS is a good one. It is less monster of the week like Sailor Moon and more character driven. There still remains a fair amount of enemies to fight in the series.

11/15/2010 #10
Charming Dice

The option exists to pick up a story where you left off. That's true. But what about the motivation? Sure, if you write well enough, then that's motivation enough. But with a material book, there are usually other factors at play beyond quality that make it more likely for some to come back to a story they've put down in mid chapter. If you buy a book, there's the desire to get what value you can out of the book you paid for. Borrow it from a friend or family, then they're bound to bring it up at some point and keep it fresher in your mind then it might've otherwise been, whether it's to discuss the book a bit or just to know when you're giving it back. Borrow from a library, there's a due date to help keep it fresher in your mind than something you could just toss away at any moment. If it's a gift, there may be (but not necessarily) some slight sense of obligation to give it a legitimate try, because it's a gift. Marketing and hype can help drive someone to continue coming back to a story, whether its to see if it lives up to the hype or to prove it isn't as good as everyone thinks (the Eragon hatedom is the best example of that).

With stories on this site, theres not much of that. If you have a connection with a writer here or they have a good history of writing stories you like, that's motivation to continue. Maybe the "review and I'll review back" game -- which is a connection in itself -- is in effect and that could be a lesser motivation. But mostly, the main reason to come back to an unfinished chapter is the quality of the chapter. That's why I said that talent and connections are king. And the problem is, some people are lacking in both areas, and are here to develop both.

But that's a struggle because this site is a battle for people's time and attention, and even if it doesn't seem like it, it is a competition of sorts. Probably not an active competition for most, but it's there. When you say you want quality reviews, Eytha, you're saying you want a reader's time and effort. Everyone wants that, but there's only so many hours in a day, not enough for anyone to read everything here. There's a selection process that goes on. I'm sure plenty of people try to read randomly, but eventually the hook of the summary and title and opening few paragraphs will make a difference, and wrting those well are skills newbies probably fully haven't developed yet. Then there's favoritism, elitism, biases and whatever to overcome. So we compete for what minutes of someone's time we can get, and the ones who need it most (newbies in partcular) are the ones least likely to get it. So much of my advice is a gameplan for them, to give them the edge they may need to compete. It's like training wheels, in a way.

But I understand the frustration of waiting a long time for a new chapter, only to get something small. I've both caued the frustration and felt it. But my idea isn't that people should write less or write slower than usual. Its more so that, if you usually write 8,000 word chapters for example, write them the same speed, but break it down into 3 or 4 chapters when possible. I say when possible, because sometimes there really is no good place to cut it off. But scene changes are naturally built for that so the separation shouldn't be a huge problem for most. Plus, breaking it down will allow you to post more often, which keeps the story in readers mind. It'll also give you the chance to create more cliffhangers, which can be great way to keep people hooked, if you post often and consistently enough for it to not generate too much frustration. It's like you said: "The faster you put out something the less you give and get away with it because it's just another week to wait. You keep the want and desire high by giving a little to keep them happy, but not enough that they feel they can walk away." You summed up my entire point for me, Miss. For those who read only once a month or so, the same amount of words will be posted regardless of whether you break down the chapters or not, so it doesn't affect them. But for those who read a lot here, the smaller chapters posted at a faster pace do exactly what your quote says.

And the added bonuses are these: posting smaller chapters quickly keeps your story near the top of the update list, which gives it better exposure and ups the chances it being read and reviewed (and the chances of one of those reviews being a quality review); and it offers an opportunity for readers to give more reviews (important because reviews averaged per chapter helps draw more eyes to your story; it's FP's most effective form of hype) and have their reviews be more focused on smaller sections of your story at a time (better than expecting them to read a massive chapter and then trying to remember all the points they wanted to make). So there's legitimte reasons to do it my way, but it's more a tool than a rule.

The elephant in the room is usually this: this site is a huge case of the blind leading the blind. When people who don't know what they're doing and try to tell others what to do, that's no good. But it's worse when someone takes that bad advice as truth and spreads it to others. I firmly believe all of the cliche hate here is a cause of that. Despite everybody having loved some sort of cliche in their lifetime, you would think cliches were a flesh eating plague, instead of what thy are: tools to be used or not used, depending on situation. Not to mention that alot of these "cliches" people m*** about are really just archetypes that can enhance a story when used right.

I honestly believe even the best of us only have one good eye, when it comes to seeing what's good or bad about someone's methods here. If we had a full view, we probably would've moved on to greater things by now. So for us, the more experienced writers here, I think the best case scenario is this: I bring my good eye and you bring yours, and we put em together and see what we can see. That's why I'm enjoying our little debate, Eytha. You've got a good eye. And I think we agree on more than it might seem. But you taking the manga part seriously? We're not on the same page there. I treat this section as General-lite. Anything goes. Just add water and a Japanese name.

On another note, while I think it's best to not try to please everyone, its good to have a target audience in mind if you want others to read. For those who write mainly for themselves, your target audience is probably just yourself and those who share your tastes. That's cool. For those like me who aim for mass appeal, the target is broader but still limited to a point. Having that in mind before your start is a helpful thing.

And about expecting return reviews, that's not a good mindset to bring to this game. You best bet is to review widely and with good quality critique, but not expect anything back unless someone specifically says they'll do it. Hope for them to review, but try to not take it farther than that. Why? Because selflessness is a beautiful thing, and it's often rewarded in time. And I'm sure you know people do have a habit of checking the reviews of other stories. And a cool thing is, if your name shows up often enough on other stories review pages and you're giving quality reviews, people will see that you know a lot about writing. They could either be curious to see how you put that knowledge to use in your writing and read (and posibly review) for that reason, or they may want a piece of your sweet reviews for themselves and review you to entice you to send some back their way. Regardless, think of reviewing more as a way to help fellow writers and pique the interest of readers, instead of using it as a way of guilt-trip people into doing what you want.

Edit: I almost forgot. About using light novels as guidance or a template, be careful there. Something you love in manga form may be a mess of a novel. It could have you making new mistakes you never made before. Few years back, I got into the Devil May Cry and Naruto light novels. Threw a serious dent into my writing and storytelling style, because I thought they were well written. I changed things in my style, because these books did things differently. Turns out, when I started reading better quality novels, I found out these light novels were not good. I was better off before I read them, and it took a while to get back to where I was and eventually get better. Not that all light novels are bad, just that not everything translates well into prose. I won't tell you what to read. I would suggest, though, that along with reading light novels, that you try some regular novels that have a manga story feel to the plot. Or even better, novels that were later turned manga.

11/15/2010 . Edited 11/16/2010 #11
Eytha

Yeah, I was going to say that a Naruto light novel probably is going to be lacking things that the manga does. Finding the light novels that came before the manga would probably be for the best since they are not trying to make a manga in novel format. They are just trying to tell a story. I've been meaning to pick up some light novels sometime just to see what they do. I've always figured that they are just easier to digest novels that are probably more like novella in length rather than being manga in words. But I haven't really read any light novels so I remain curious to find out what makes a light novel different, if at all from a standard novel you would pick up.

Addressing the rest of the post, I think the motivation would be pretty simple. If someone has decided to stop and leave the story up where they left on their computer rather than closing it then the motivation is already there. Their intention at that moment is to come back to it by leaving it so they can continue it later just like any book you set down. Whenever you go back to your computer you'll see it up there staring you in the face as well. So it is not like it is going to be easily ignored or forgotten. I've seen people put a book away that they are reading stopped in the middle with no intention of ever finishing because it pushed them away. Owning, borrowing, gift or whatever the case is not really going to be as strong of a motivator as you might think. I don't believe that for someone reading something that the source it comes from digital or paper is going to play a factor into their continuing if they stop. People come back to a novel because they want to read more, generally not out of a sense of obligation. You have to find the right sort of personality for obligation to actually be the driving force to doing something. They'll do it because want to rather than because they are being pressured by an external force.

I own a couple of books that I haven't read yet. I have all the intention in the world to read them at some point, but they have been just sitting there. I have books as gifts that I have no intention of reading, because I'm not interested in them. And I imagine that goes for a long of people. Unless I had some pushy friend or relative asking me daily if I read it or not would I even consider reading something that doesn't interest me. So I do really think it comes down to the readers interest and desire to continue the story. If they bookmark a book (unless they have a great memory or something) they are doing so with the intention of picking up where they left off just like if you stop a story here you are bookmarking it so you can pick it back up. If they don't do that then they are not interested or if they are, not enough to do so. They might come back and try to find where they were, but if they closed it then it is like they've lost interest with it. So I think it remains a perfectly valid option.

It is certainly true that there is an ever continuing competition going on here for people's attention. That is going to be case in just about everything in the world, though. You do whatever you can to get noticed so that others will look at you over someone else.

Though I think we sort of agreed to disagree about chapter length the last time we discussed this. If I took one of my stories and cut it into 2k pieces it would be five parts. It's plotted to be 50 episodes. That's going to be somewhere between 200-250 chapters where it just says Part A, Part B, Part C, Part D and Part E. And finding four breaks in the episode that actual works out is not always that good. It's like when I'm watching Gundam 00 on Sci-Fi and they put in two additional commercial breaks in the episodes when I know there is only a good place for one. When they do it if feels awkward and unnatural. The pacing and flow was intended for the way it was originally presented.

I do view the Manga section as pretty much just being General with the Japanese flair added to it. That I certainly do agree on, since it is pretty much the only thing that separates this from the General section. The Manga section allows for just about anything to be written here and you don't have to worry about if it is fits or not so long as it has that touch of Japanese. However, to clarify my own words. When I said I take it more literally, I was referring to how I do my own work. I don't hold anyone else to the stylistic choices that I make for myself. I just tend to reference back to the actual Manga industry and their publishing and writing methods when making my points. Most people do not think in that sort of mind set and I end up doing that since I'm doing that for my writing. My writing isn't intended to be written like a novel. If I wanted to write a novel I would be posting it somewhere else in FP. I think the first thing I wrote was more novel and less Anime/Manga influences stylistically, but the longer I've stayed here and developed a specific style here the more I've chance the way I write for this section.

I write with the specific intention of getting the response someone that they feel like they just watched an anime or read a manga. If I get that sort of response from them then I've succeeded in the goal of my style for here. It does not always succeed and I know I certainly can't adapt everything into written form. I still tend to provide more details than the medium I've referencing, but I want the reader to feel like what they just read could have been a manga or anime. So I tend to put in stylistic choices that make that come out more. I think one of my new stories is probably the accumulation of all of that stylistic design. So you'll see me doing a lot of things that would almost never happen in a normal novel or story because of that. But that's just a stylistic choice of mine. It tends to bleed over into how I approach my reasoning on here. Considering the place it usually is pretty good reference since the audience is familiar as well.

As for reviews, I think you're bring some of our previous conversation over to here. I think we were just talking about if the length made something more likely to be popular. I only mentioned reviews because reviews is the only indicating fair of popularity to someone that is not author. And a lot of those reviews were often because someone probably did a lot of reviewing themselves. So number of reviews does often present popularity, but it does not rate quality. I've read a story that had hundreds of reviews and it was horrible. But the person probably had a lot of friends and people they reviewed so they came around to check them out. And people have different degrees of what they think is bad or good. So I can think someone is bad, but plenty of others will like it.

You will need a vision for whatever you write. I think that is true for anything regardless of how mass appeal you make something or not. Remember the vision and what parts of it are important to you. Figure out where you can bend and where you think it is important to stay firm on. I think if you know that the writing will turn out to be something that you can enjoy. But if you lose sight of the vision then you'll just be unhappy with what you have or unmotivated.

11/25/2010 #12
Charming Dice

The Naruto light novels pretty much are novella length. Or the normal length for a Young Adult novel. That's the category they fall under anyway, I believe. YA Fantasy. And the writing is awkward at best.

Oh, and I know people won't read a printed novel out of obligation. Quality still matters the most. A good story, whether its here or printed, will hook a reader into reading. I think we can agree on that. But its safe to say, most published novels are a higher quality than what you find here. Although, there are some published clunkers too. But my main point is, for stories of lesser quality, it may take an extra motivation to get someone to give it a real chance. If a printed novel is borrowed, a gift, or something like that, that provides that motivation. Not a very strong motivation, but its more like a gentle nudge. Free will is always at work, so is not a guarantee you'll read the book or even try it. Its a small part of the puzzle, really. But a gentle nudge is still more effective than no nudge at all.

That gentle nudge doesn't exist here. On this site, if your story doesn't instantly grab someone's attention, there are tens of thousands of other stories to instantly move on to. Unless you live at a library, no one has that many printed books to choose from. So while someone can always bookmark a story here if they enjoy it, whether or not they enjoy it enough to do so has much to do with how its presented. A big part of that has to do with the quality of the writing and story, but there are other small factors. But not everyone is good enough to grab many readers interest with quaity alone. Especially with so much competition here. That's why I suggest tactics that'll help mask a lack of ability. The small factors are more important for those lacking in other areas (or micro-managers like me).

Now, I mainly brought up reviews because in an earlier post, the OP mentioned reviews. That part of my last post was directed at our Serpent here. He mentioned something about expecting return reviews from people he had reviewed. So I only brought some of what I said in the other thread, because I thought it would be helpful here, for someone who wasn't involved with that thread.

And I completely agree that, sometimes, there is no good place to divide a chapter. That's why, in my last post, I said it should be done when possible. Sometimes, like you say, it's just not possible. Scene changes are a good place for it, but not every chapter has one. Not every chapter has a good cliffhanger point either. I would say plan to write short to begin with. But I doubt anybody will bother, but me. And I agree that having and maintaining your vision of the story is important, though I doubt we'd fully agree on what parts of someone's vision are unimportant enough to be bent or sacrificed.

I get what you're saying, about how you treat this section. You're not the first I've come across, who writes here as if their stories are manga without pictures. I can't picture writing that way myself, but I can see why some people would. Must make for some interesting reading. When you talk about working on developing your style, I can relate to that too. I always find myself trying to micro-manage themes, archetypes, setting, color psychology, and such. Nevermind the chapter and paragraph length, sentence syllable count and rhythm, etc. Its fun. Its my art.

It think its safe to end this debate with another "agree to disagree."

11/26/2010 #13
Eytha

I sort of feel bad about this. I feel like we're hijacking the thread a little, though I think we're still mostly remaining on topic. I don't even know if we're still being helpful for Serpent who originally asked the question.

And yeah, I don't really expect others to be trying to write in the same style I do for this section of FP. When I started writing The Inner Man I wasn't even a member here. I had no real intention of actually doing anything more than writing it for myself because I wanted to get the idea written. I just kept it on a separate location that did not really have the same sort of reader base. I only ended up here because I decided that I needed a motivating factor for myself, since I sort of stalled out there after the first episode. I came here because I figured if I ended up creating a fan base even of one person. That would obligate me to need to keep my schedule and keep writing. And it worked. The Inner Man isn't even really that heavy in the style that I've developed, but as I said before its changed and adapted to that quite a bit now. But I go write on my fantasy novel and it's style is completely different, like night and day looking at the two.

But agree to disagree, yeah. We've probably reached that point again. We both have equally reasonable and valid points that in the end won't end up being compromised enough probably. The funny thing is that despite everything I say, I do write chapters that are around that 2k mark, but I also write stuff around the 10k mark. And one of my stories that I'm writing I actually do end up doing a lot of things you say.

I guess if you have the time and passion you can do both with different stories and please everyone just not at the same time.

11/26/2010 #14
NsShadowSerpent

Ah, did I say something about expecting people to return reviews in this thread or was that something read in my profile possibly? That comment only applied to those few that I've reviewed that have said they'd do so in return.

As for myself, I never really expect a return review from anyone honestly, the reader traffic satisfies my ego to an extent. It'd be nice to get a guarantee when I do such a thing for others, but doing it out of expectation is just setting myself up for some kind of disappointment. I'd rather not be known to be such a selfish author.

About the thread jack, it's perfectly fine, lol. The information has been helpful no doubt. I think i have a general idea from all of the responses about what I'd like to do in terms of writing style and length. I've already got a mind set about writing more like a novel rather than a manga style. I also decided to look at some other quality light novels and anime in my category. I think Haruhi Suzumiya might be a good read, since it was so popular over in Japan and translated here. I've actually taken to watching Nurse Angel Ririka too (up to episode 10). It's similar to what I'd like to do, but there are some conventions that I'd like to avoid as I've stated already.

But yeah, there are plenty of different and unique ways anyone can write manga here in the category. I guess it really does depend on the connections one can obtain or if people in particular enjoy the writing style. There's a saying that the only rule in writing is that any rule can be broken, so I suppose if it works, then just go for it.

11/27/2010 . Edited 11/27/2010 #15
Pure Kismet

I keep most of my stories' chapters at a length of 4-6 pages in Microsoft Word, so in FP terms, I believe that would be around 2,000 to 4,000 words (I ideally aim for the 2,000-3,000 range most of the time). Why do I do this? For a number of reasons:

1.) It's easier on the reader, and if you're one of those types who is competitive and/or likes to see reader feedback, you want to aim to please the reader.

2.) It makes things easier on the author sometimes. If you always aim for the same chapter length, then you know how to pace yourself and when to end the chapter. 2-3k words keeps you from being long-winded, but lets you belt out a decent amount of information at the same time.

3.) If you ever write a chapter that is significantly shorter or longer than normal, it will be noticed, and you can use this as an influential story-telling element (ex: The reader sees that the chapter is very long, so their minds settle into the proper "get ready for a read, there's gonna be some juicy stuff in this chapter!" mentality. Use that to your advantage, and make sure that really interesting stuff is that long chapter. It'll make the reader go, "Wow! That was awesome! I can't wait for some more of that." Throw boring explanations or side stories into shorter chapters. Readers are more likely read it multiple times, thus making the information they contain better digested.)

However, when it comes to how I group the lines of dialogue and paragraphs of description (and how long those paragraphs/sentences are), this all depends on the kind of story it is, what kind of reader I'm aiming for, and the flow of action in the story.

Some people type long walls of text of action scenes and whatnot, because they have a lot to describe, but it's actually better to break that up into smaller paragraphs and sentences (if possible). The shorter the sentence, the faster you direct the eye, thus, providing an illusion of "fast-paced action". If you want a slow scene or need to give a lot of basic information at once, then sometimes walls of text are necessary/have a greater impact. That sounds irrelevant to the subject of this thread, but what I'm getting at is that page length/word count isn't as important as how you group and organize your sentences and paragraphs.

Hope that helps? :3

11/27/2010 . Edited 11/27/2010 #16
Melissa Norvell

I actually think that for a first time writer, that 1,000 words are perfectly acceptable. My recent chapters are anywhere from 4-7,000 words but I've been here for 11 years. None of my chapters are truly all the same length and when they aren't, I try to note as to why they run either way. I also try to be somewhat consistent. If a chapter runs short, I make a longer one to compensate for it.

I think you should try and describe characters, looks and actions as detailed as possible because no one's going to picture every little thing, and it's up to the author to paint that picture into the heads of their audience. Remember, we as readers cannot see what you see in your mind. Conveying looks, actions and overall tone of the characters is very important.

Flow has a lot to do with a story as well. You don't want to rush everything but you don't want a slow progressing storyline either. I know that when I write a story, I plan out everything. I am a meticulous note-taker and timeline maker. I have everything planned out and if something unexpected comes up, I definitely make note of such an occurring and figure out how to better work it into the flow of my storyline. Timelines also help you in making sure that your story comes to the end that you desire and that all of the characters and side quests are resolved.

As for revealing all of the information at once about a character- this is a double-standard type of method. I only let my readers know what I want them to know. Execution is a huge part in stories, and I believe that you don't really want to give away a lot of information at first. I know that some writers can be excited to make their readers stand still in shock but it can mess up the overall feeling of the story and kill off later questions. The key to good character development, besides making them logically correct and at least somewhat realistic is to make sure that learning things about them is pretty well spaced out throughout the story. No one likes boring characters, and those who turn out to be boring will drop from people's likable or favorite lists.

Maybe this will help someone, though I am a little unsure. I've been neglecting this poor forum because of my college studies. :( Shame on me. Now, I'm going to go and check a few other things and get to writing a chapter of Sacrifice, since I've made no updates this year and it's past due for one.

1/22/2011 #17
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