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Complete story verses chapters

Magi

Can someone submit an entire long story or is there a maximum size for a submission?
If they did submit a long story, would it be posted as such or would SOL break it into chapters.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Magi

There is a maximum 'page size' (I think it's about 10,000 words). If your single chapter story exceeds that size the system is forced to slice it up (in places you probably will not like) if you don't divide it up yourself.

Effectively, you HAVE to cut it up into pieces with a maximum size, but you are not forced to call those pieces 'chapters'.

The next thing to consider is whether you're prepared to risk doing something readers here are not accustomed to. I may be wrong, but my sixth sense is detecting fingers hovering over '1' buttons on keyboards as I type ...

EDIT TO ADD ...
My comments about maximum page sizes are out-of-date. See G Younger's post below for updated facts.
I would still be very reluctant to use the option now available of single posts longer than 12,000 words. I think readers will resent it (and score accordingly) if you make it difficult to find where they'd got to when last reading a story.

StarFleetCarl

@Magi

From the guidelines for authors page:

Due to various technical reasons, we try to keep the length of each file served from the site below 55,000 characters (approximately 12,000 words). Any story or chapter longer than 55,000 characters will be served in pages on the site, just like in a book. The page breaks are created by a script, so you never know where your file will be divided. If you don't like the idea of page breaks in unexpected places, then divide your own text into smaller chunks.

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

Is that still extant? I understood forced paging had been scrapped thanks to the new, extended bandwidth.

AJ

G Younger
Updated:

If you submit it without chapters it will put it all on one page regardless of how how long it is. This is a recent change and you can find more information in previous blogs.

Click Here to Read

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

There is a maximum 'page size' (I think it's about 10,000 words). If your single chapter story exceeds that size the system is forced to slice it up (in places you probably will not like) if you don't divide it up yourself.

Lazeez modified the code that did that. According to him, it no longer does that. The only limit I can see, is that you can only post 20 chapters at a time (it used to be lower too).

As for 'long chapters doing worse', I suspect the opposite is true. SOL readers, for the most part, like to be immersed in their stories, and prefer chapters they can really sink their teeth into. Since I've modified my writing to be more concise, my scores have been consistently lower on all three sites, so I'm clearly not being punished for my stories being overly long. Some of my best scores were for stores that ran between 10,000 and 14,000 words.

That said, one issue where posting all at once (all as a single chapter) would be a serious negative would be when the story becomes hard to read. If a single chapter became 20,000 or 50,000 words, readers would have fewer chances to pause and consider the story, or if they stopped reading, they'd have a more difficult time figuring out where they were, and would likely penalize the author over it.

However, I don't see that being a major problem, as few authors posts extremely long single chapters.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

The only limit I can see, is that you can only post 20 chapters at a time (it used to be lower too).


I've not seen this limit applied in any way. Either as an initial posting or as a repost limit when my stories exceed 20 chapters.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I've not seen this limit applied in any way. Either as an initial posting or as a repost limit when my stories exceed 20 chapters.

You're right, you can (now) easily post 20 chapters, and then immediately post 20 more. However, if I'm not mistaken (it was a while ago), it used to be that you could only post 8 or 10, and then had to wait until they were accepted and posted before posting any more (meaning most authors ended up waiting for the next day to post the rest).

Bandwidth buys you a lot of benefits! (Now if we can just start posting higher quality covers, or multiple images per submission.) I doubt many authors will post many images, but I always make a point of matching graphic section breaks to my story content (not that I anticipate doing that here, don't worry Lazeez). ;-D

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

it used to be that you could only post 8 or 10, and then had to wait until they were accepted and posted before posting any more


I can't remember too far back about posting limits, but in 2011 I posted Finding Home 38 parts -I posted it like usual: post the first chapter, wait until that's up, then upload everything else into the Wizard with future dates. Now, the reason I wait for the first part to be up is it makes it a lot easier to post the rest because a I just need to select the new chapter number and all the rest of the information is there. Each chapter with a new date requires it's own Wizard entry.

However, what I think you may be confusing with the posting size is the File Upload Limit the most number of files you can upload for a single posting at once is 20, and has been as far back as I can remember. Now if you have 25 chapters with each as a separate file, then you need to post two Wizard entries to get all the files uploaded. But, if you have the same story as 25 chapters in the one big file you can post it all as one. However, with the big file option if you want them showing as 25 chapters you have to insert the Partition Command of { p } (spaces to avoid processing) so the system will split the chapters where you want it to. This is how I repost a multi-chapter story after I revise it.

Crumbly Writer

Alas, Ernest, aside from the two of us, I doubt many authors here would go to that much effort to post a story to the site. Most either post text, or use html generated by their Word Processor. Individually coding chapter breaks in one large block of text is a bit more work than is really required, as posting individual chapters is easy enough.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Individually coding chapter breaks in one large block of text is a bit more work than is really required, as posting individual chapters is easy enough.


Oddly enough, I see the large block for a revision as being less work.

I write a story as a single formated file of text in a word processor, and don't post until the full story is written. When I prepare it for SoL / FS / SciFi I convert to html via Libre Office, then use Bluefish or Notepad++ to clean up the html code by using Find and Replace All to remove excess code. I then change a few of the html commands to suit the style sheet I'm using. Once I've got the single clean html file I can either break it up into the Posting Parts for SoL (which is what I do for the initial post) or I can go to just before the chapter heading for the start of each Posting Part and insert { p } Chapter xx in the line before it (which is what I do when posting a revision of the full story. If I'm making a revision to a single chapter I do that to the original Posting Part and upload that. I find entering the breaks for each Posting Part less work than breaking it up into individual files.

NB: Posting Part is what I call a SoL chapter since I write in chapters and sub-chapters then post multiples of them to SoL to make the posting a good sized read.

However, CW, most of the SoL authors write and post a chapter at a time, so my system wouldn't work for them.

Vlad_Inhaler

Speaking purely as a reader, posting megabyte one-chapter stories is a very unfriendly thing to do. Anything above a certain size is going to take days to read and it is far easier to read resume at chapter 21 than to have to guess.
A story I will probably never get around to finishing is http://storiesonline.net/s/11279/the-flats - 435 KB.

zebra69347

As a reader I would not bother starting to read a story submitted in one very large file.
Much better to have chapters or sections that can be read comfortably, then have a break and have an easy way to find the point to resume reading.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@zebra69347

As a reader I would not bother starting to read a story submitted in one very large file.
Much better to have chapters or sections that can be read comfortably, then have a break and have an easy way to find the point to resume reading.


I think a lot will depend on how it's done. Most of what I write are novels and sags - 40,000 to 250,000 word long stories. However, when I write I break them up into chapters, sub-chapters, and sections with different coloured and styled headings, which is why I make a big point of including a Table of Contents with the stories, because what I call a chapter doesn't match what SoL calls a chapter. I cut a Posting Part (SoL chapter) into about 5,000 to 10,000 word groups, thus it appears at SoL in multiple postings. I do have html files of the same stories as a single file, and having the coloured headings makes it easy to know where you are in the story - but the same stories without such headings and breaks would be bloody annoying and almost impossible to read.

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

Addressing some points:

Paging is coming back. Too many readers asked for it. But I'm reimplementing it with better code.

The only limit to posting is in uploaded files. You can upload up to 20 files. Each file can have as many chapters as you want, as long as they're marked. Each file is limited to 2 MB but since you can upload zipped files then it's enough to upload any volume of text.

You can upload bigger covers and multiple illustrations per part. Let us worry about sizing and quality. Due to new usability guidelines from google and apple for mobile devices, the displayed image needs to be narrower than 480 pixels, but if the image needs it, we link the full size one to the one that shows up in the story so nothing is sacrificed.

awnlee jawking

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

Paging is coming back. Too many readers asked for it.


Thank you.

AJ

Crumbly Writer

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

You can upload bigger covers and multiple illustrations per part. Let us worry about sizing and quality. Due to new usability guidelines from google and apple for mobile devices, the displayed image needs to be narrower than 480 pixels, but if the image needs it, we link the full size one to the one that shows up in the story so nothing is sacrificed.

I'd thought the new trend was to display everything in 'retna display sizes' (at least 300dpi) and the browsers would determine, on the fly, how to display it. Requiring a limit of 480 pixels sounds like a return to the 2000s, where everyone was worried that 'older machines' could only display so many pixels at a time.

What's the trade off on cover sizes? If every image gets cut down to 480 pixels, there's little reason to post anything over 480 pixels. If the page decides, on the fly, what size to display to the user, then it makes sense to post large images (for those with retna displays) while the system resizes it as necessary.

Also, would you recommend using graphic section breaks like I use for my books, or would you prefer we stick to the SOL standard "* * *"?

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@Crumbly Writer

I'd thought the new trend was to display everything in 'retna display sizes' (at least 300dpi) and the browsers would determine, on the fly, how to display it. Requiring a limit of 480 pixels sounds like a return to the 2000s, where everyone was worried that 'older machines' could only display so many pixels at a time.

What's the trade off on cover sizes? If every image gets cut down to 480 pixels, there's little reason to post anything over 480 pixels. If the page decides, on the fly, what size to display to the user, then it makes sense to post large images (for those with retna displays) while the system resizes it as necessary.


Just because it shows up at that size, it doesn't mean it's rendered at that size.

That's why I specifically said, let us worry about the sizing. So if you upload a cover that's 1000px wide we'll know what to do with it.

Also, would you recommend using graphic section breaks like I use for my books, or would you prefer we stick to the SOL standard "* * *"?


The old rules are not all scrapped. The main rule that the illustration have to add something to the story to be accepted is still enforced. A graphic divider may look better than a horizontal rule, but doesn't add anything to the story and would truly be a waste of bandwidth. Please remember that with the shift to mobile a lot more people are on metered plans and it will affect the readers negatively (it's not only about the server's bandwidth). So if it's just cosmetic, it shouldn't be used.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Grant

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

Paging is coming back.

Thanks.
Mostly with the older stories, it's hard to find where you left off without the pagination.
eg Magestic.

Ernest Bywater

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

That's why I specifically said, let us worry about the sizing. So if you upload a cover that's 1000px wide we'll know what to do with it.


So the floor plans and maps I provide to help people visualise parts of some stories should now be provided as the full hi-resolution image and let you cut it down. Is that correct?

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@Ernest Bywater

So the floor plans and maps I provide to help people visualise parts of some stories should now be provided as the full hi-resolution image and let you cut it down. Is that correct?


Yes.

If I remember correctly, the last time I processed the repost I linked the full sized map to the shrunk version on the site. Although, I doubt that if vixen processed it should would do it. She isn't as technically savvy as I am.

Bit by bit I'm making changes to take advantage of our increased bandwidth to provide better service.

Ernest Bywater

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

If I remember correctly, the last time I processed the repost I linked the full sized map to the shrunk version on the site.


Thank you. That saves me having to try and make a shrunk one within the old tolerances. I'll just upload the original and let you worry about. I will continue to load the full one to dropbox with that same public link so people can download it from there if they want to.

docholladay

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

If I remember correctly, the last time I processed the repost I linked the full sized map to the shrunk version on the site. Although, I doubt that if vixen processed it should would do it. She isn't as technically savvy as I am.


A perfect reason for writers to include links in their stories. If desired the links can be used to open many features which would tend to waste space on SOL. I know I tend to follow links especially the music related ones. I will also sometimes open reference links if they are given for things mentioned in the story. Most of the writers who use those in stories now tend to do a great job of making them fit the story, without being overbearing.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

A perfect reason for writers to include links in their stories. If desired the links can be used to open many features which would tend to waste space on SOL.

Uh, dumb question, but I thought active links within stories aren't allowed, or was that only for active links in the End Notes?

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@Crumbly Writer

The links to youtube music or other videos have been used regularly for example. Also you can mention sites by name while not giving the actual web address. The names make them fairly simple to find. There are other types of links as well that seem to be accepted, just I am not sure what makes the difference. I can only guess its in how its done. Of course sometimes even without the link for youtube, if the artist name and recording is named its fairly easy to look them up.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

Since Lazeez started warning about active links in blogs, I've been a bit gunshy about using links. For blogs, it makes sense to link directly to your own website, but I've instead used a text description of my website address (since Lazeez doesn't trust 'outside links'), so I'm a bit confused to discover that everyone else is providing the same 'outside links' to a variety of sources.

I guess it's a question of 'trusted links' (of established sites like YouTube) and non-established sites (like custom author sites), but the distinction seems more to penalize struggling authors, rather than saving readers from malicious sites.

So now I'm befuddled.

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Since Lazeez started warning about active links in blogs, I've been a bit gunshy about using links.


I never warned or forbidden active links in blogs.

I only removed implicit support for external blogs and forums from the navigation bar for authors because those links imply SOL support for said sites/forums.

If I had a problem with external links, I wouldn't actively support them in the editing buttons for blogs or forum posts, and it would definitely be a cinch to kill all links used in posts if I wanted to.

Replies:   Lugh
Ernest Bywater

One thing with links, I use two types in stories:

One is to include links to places I have things readers may want, such as my Public DropBox Folder where I put drawings and plans to help visualise places. The other is links to other sites with useful information such as Wikipedia etc.

I also have a link to my Lulu account in my blog for those who wish to obtain a print or e-pub copy of the story which is either on, or being posted to SoL / FS etc. The full story goes up on SoL over a reasonable time, so people can have it for free, if they want. I write to give people pleasure when they read my stories. I know I'll never get rich from writing, unless a miracle happens.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I also have a link to my Lulu account in my blog for those who wish to obtain a print or e-pub copy of the story which is either on, or being posted to SoL / FS etc.

Since I traditionally publish on multiple sites, that's why I provide links to my site, so readers can find whichever published version they prefer (ex. Amazon, epub or printed versions of the books).

Like Ernest, I aim to provide my story to anyone interested, whether they can afford to pay or not. In exchange, though, I appreciate feedback as an alternate payment, as decent feedback is worth a lot for authors who often never hear after someone has purchased a book. SOL is excellent for that type of feedback. FS and Sci-Fi aren't quite as good at that, and ASSTR readers prefer the "The Sex was great!" responses over detailed plot comments.

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@Crumbly Writer

That is why I mentioned that Ernest does the links right. The links are always in context to the character. They provide insight to their habits and other relevant story information which could possibly sink the story in background details. For story links of course he tends to link to his own stories as a rule on SOL for reading purposes while providing the lulu link for ebooks. By using his own stories there can be no copyright infringements. You could potentially provide links to sol for reading purposes and your site for purchasing individual copies regardless of format. Also links which give detailed plans or technical information can be given as well. Just keep them small and relevant to the character and story is the only suggestion I could give. As long as the links are relevant to the story and character they can give details which might create information overload in the story itself. Yet that information is available for those who want the details.

Lugh

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

If I had a problem with external links, I wouldn't actively support them in the editing buttons for blogs or forum posts, and it would definitely be a cinch to kill all links used in posts if I wanted to.


Do you have a note somewhere about how to use them? For example, in the Prologues to my alt-history stories, I do have a number of references to scholarly sources, but not as links. I also might link to wiki articles generally, not only Wikipedia (contributor) but some that I've written elsewhere.

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