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December 29, 2011
Posted at 9:41 am

The Problem of Story Length in Short Story Terms

When I first started to write short stories only a scant 10 months ago, I did not have a clue as to exactly what constituted a proper short story. After reading several hundred stories, I came to the conclusion that length of the story is a key issue. Please bear in mind that most of these comments refer to the genre of erotica as that is my primary focus. It became painfully obvious that a sizable percentage of readers are "turned-off" by a story that is too short and an equally sizable number of readers are turned off by a story that is so long it starts to get repetitive or boring. It seemed to me that 2,000 to 3,000 words are an ideal format to do a single entry story and also ideal for multi-entry stories or even a continuing series featuring the same main characters. I know this sounds a bit "formula driven" but I believe it is just good sense to follow what readers seem to enjoy or expect in a "short" story. I have written about 250 stories this past year and they average 4 to 5 pages each. My "best" story in terms of total readership was called "A Bet is A Bet" It is on this site but does not enjoy as much success here. I suspect that the average reader on SOL is more knowledgeable of what constitutes "Good" writing. I wrote that story with the express intent of gaining a "famous" story badge on another site. I fell short by only a couple of thousand reads and I have determined that the magic formula for a story that collects a high degree of readership is subject to many other factors besides the skill in writing or the interest factor of the material. More on this later.