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HissingSnake

For fanfiction over 40,000 words, do you ever read them? What about if they're over 60,000 words?

10/6/2012 #1
Ragnelle

Yes. Very simply. I love long stories, both in books and as fanfiction, but I am less likely to trudge my way through a long fic if it is badly written. And I might hesitate if I am tired, or for other reasons not quite in shape. But the times I do search for stories based on length, it is the long fics I look for.

10/6/2012 #2
BloodyLhyra

I actually prefer stories 40,000 words or larger. Anything shorter then that I usually skip because it just seems to end way to soon. Not saying the shorter stories are bad or such just my personal reading taste.

10/6/2012 #3
Aspiring Hobby

I too always prefer long stories. I always try to search for stories with a higher word count though I read smaller stories but as said above they just end too soon. I just recently finished a story over 351,900 (app.)

Though I cannot say much for my own stories, they seem to have a small word count. T.T;;

10/6/2012 #4
Blue-Inked Frost

That length is not that long to me as a reader - anything below 200,000 words I feel like I can get through in one session. But I'm willing to read short fics as well; sometimes short stories can work extremely well, and sometimes length is only padding.

In general, newer writers are more likely to have stories too short than stories that are too long, so filtering length is a good idea to get a slightly better quality on average, but some short stories are gems and some long stories can be extremely bad (the Draco Trilogy and the fanfic that became 50 Shades of Grey were both very long!). I'd feel I was missing out on some great stories if I only read stories based on length.

Mostly I choose based on the summary and title. The longer a story is, the more picky I am as a reader - after all, if I'm going to be spending a lot of time reading it, then it should be worth the read for me.

As a writer, the longest story I've ever posted here was 300K, and I've found myself going between stages of writing too much unnecessary detail and diversion and writing not enough.

10/6/2012 #5
JadedPhoenixBurning

Absolutely! I also write them! And I DON'T consider 40,000 thousand words a long fic. MY fics average over 100,000 words. Many of them have toed the line of being nearly 200,000 words and one has surpassed it by about 40,000 words. I think that shorter fics tend to have the feeling (for me) of being rushed and they don't feel like they have nearly enough detail. They tend to read like they are the bare-bones fics. I don't want to eat a "Hot-Pocket", I want an eight course meal when I sit down to read. :D

10/6/2012 . Edited 10/6/2012 #6
Phalanx

All three of my current WIP are over 40,000 words.

As far as I can tell, people read and enjoy them? But then again, they are for a manga series which is known to be one of the longest and still ongoing after a decade or so, so I guess long stories do suit the demographic.

10/6/2012 #7
HissingSnake

Wow, I'm pretty surprised that so many people read longfics. Maybe it's because I personally do an update-and-run kind of thing, and if a reviewer leaves an insightful comment I go to their profile and checkout their one shots (if any) and leave a detailed review back. I normally don't read things longer than 20k words unless people recommend it. I did read a 300k word fanfic once, but it took me a week to slog through and it consumed so much time I never wanted to read a longfic again.

Which leads me to wonder - if you story just goes on and on, is it better to split it and start a new story where half of it left off or keep going? My current longest fic is around 60k words, I estimate that it'll take at least another 100k words to finish. Right now I have a stable reader base, but sadly no new readers anymore and I feel that new readers don't want to read my story because it's so long.

*edit* wow just did a search for all fics over 60k words in my fandom and there's like...only 20 fics. Is that a lot or very little?

10/6/2012 . Edited 10/6/2012 #8
Ragnelle

I guess that depends on how many stories there are in the fandom. There are over a thousand in my fandom, not counting M-rated fics because I was too lazy to change any other parameter than length. But then there is closer to 42 000 stories (without the M-rating) in the fandom, so the ratio would be, what? 41 to 1? (Not in the mood to do the math properly). There are 422 fics more than 100 000 words long (currently, my current VIP will add to that number before I finnish). I have split my WIP up to form a series, actually, and partly because of length, but to will be far longer than 160 000 words before it end.

This is the only long story I have written, though. All the others are vignettes and one-shots, most under 1000 words.

I do not mind at all having to use time to read through a story. While I often can read a book in a sitting if I have the time, I usually don't have that time, and will put the book down and then take it up when I have time again.

10/6/2012 #9
Ranguvar27

Not only read, but Beta. :P

But in all seriousness, if a story is told well, it doesn't matter to me if it's 1,000 words or 100,000.

10/6/2012 #10
April Dawn Irene
I go out of my way to find well written fics with plenty to read. I don't want to be done reading in the span of an hour. I want to spend many days worth of free time reading.
10/6/2012 #11
The Lauderdale

I have 18 stories on Alert. Of these stories, 10 are longer than 40k.

1 is 48k.

2 between 50 and 100k.

5 are between 100 and 150k.

1 is between 150 and 200k.

1 is between 350 and 400k.

*edit* wow just did a search for all fics over 60k words in my fandom and there's like...only 20 fics. Is that a lot or very little?

I guess that depends on how many stories there are in the fandom. There are over a thousand in my fandom, not counting M-rated fics because I was too lazy to change any other parameter than length.

There are 572 M-rated fics longer than 40k in the LOTR category. For the Silmarillion category there are 59 stories rated K-T and 8 rated M.

Which leads me to wonder - if you story just goes on and on, is it better to split it and start a new story where half of it left off or keep going?

Mixed feelings. On the one hand, a shorter work ("shorter" is purely relative, when the shorter work is already over 100k) is less intimidating to prospective readers. On the other hand, unless there is a natural "break" - ie. the installment is the first "book" of a story, with a sense of thematic self-containment on its own - I personally think it feels weird. For example, the 350-400k story that I have on alert is the continuation of a story that is really one continuous narrative, but has been rather arbitrarily broken into two parts.

Altogether the story is about 700k. It just looks strange to me to see it in two parts, even though I can understand why the author did it (700k is pretty long.)

10/6/2012 . Edited 10/6/2012 #12
TikiPrincess

Like many of the other posters, I don't mind reading long fics if they are written well. But I do have to say that I prefer reading shorter chapters, usually between 1K-4K words. If I were reading from a book, I'd have pages to break up the text, but on a screen, it strains my eyes a bit.

10/6/2012 #13
Aspiring Hobby
*edit* wow just did a search for all fics over 60k words in my fandom and there's like...only 20 fics. Is that a lot or very little?

I guess that depends on how many stories there are in the fandom. There are over a thousand in my fandom, not counting M-rated fics because I was too lazy to change any other parameter than length.

Well in my fandom I have about 1,236 stories over 60K rated K to T (all languages included)

And 1,543 M rated fics above 60K still with all languages included.

My fandom is Inuyasha, I believe rating second to Naruto in popularity.

Though the number of stories depends on the popularity of a fandom.

:)

10/6/2012 #14
Ficta Scriptor

I tend to go between reading long fics and read a few shorter ones. For the most part, I tend to like longer fics more. There are 4 fanfics that spring to my mind that I absolutely love, and 3 of them are over 100k words while the other is around 80k. That's not to say I don't think shorter fics can be great, but I love the feeling of getting tangled up in a complex story with questions swimming in my mind. It's the stories that I end up thinking about when I'm NOT reading that really affect me; the ones where I can hardly wait for the next update.

I've currently got over 100k of pre-written work that I won't publish until I've gotten further along. I'm just hoping people will stick with it, even if it will be very long...

10/6/2012 #15
HissingSnake
I guess that depends on how many stories there are in the fandom. There are over a thousand in my fandom, not counting M-rated fics because I was too lazy to change any other parameter than length. But then there is closer to 42 000 stories (without the M-rating) in the fandom, so the ratio would be, what? 41 to 1? (Not in the mood to do the math properly). There are 422 fics more than 100 000 words long (currently, my current VIP will add to that number before I finnish). I have split my WIP up to form a series, actually, and partly because of length, but to will be far longer than 160 000 words before it end.

Well, the current total number of fanfics in my fandom is about 5,700. The /exact/number over 60k fics is 24. There are only 6 fics over 100k words. So I guess the ratio of total:over 60k like 250:1 approx. As apposed to your 41:1.

Wow. I guess writers in my fandom just don't do longfics.

10/6/2012 #16
Corinne Tate

I tend to write looong stories, with my longest being almost 500 k. I wish I'd broken that one into two stories, but it would have been difficult. I'm most comfortable writing in the 200 k. word range. I try to update regularly enough that I don't lose readers, and it always amazes me when someone drops me a review on my long one, telling me how long it took them to read it, and how they couldn't put it down.

I haven't been reading much, but if the story and writing is good, I don't care how long it is. Wait a minute, that's not entirely true. I've got one I've been meaning to read, but it's so long it's intimidating, even though the writer is very good. Stained Glass Soul is already at over 411,000 words, with a companion piece over 265,000 words, and a 15,000 word prequel! Her reviews number in the thousands, and her updates are usually 8,000 words or more. She's been writing it for two and a half years and it's still not finished!

If I want a sample of someone's writing, I'll choose something short or a one-shot. If their writing is good, I'll read something longer. I typically choose something already complete, since I don't like waiting for updates. For me, everything hinges on the quality of the writing.

10/6/2012 . Edited 10/6/2012 #17
JadedPhoenixBurning

Well, my stories

Words Spoken in Jest - 169,867 words

The General's Daughter - 138,973

Expanding the Duke Compound - 146,105

A Bouquet for Daisy - 229,787

Repopulation: Hazzard-Style - 191,806

Each of these are part of the same story but broken up. If posted as a single story then it'd be 876,538 words in total and many of the readers want MORE. I do think that breaking the story up has kept some folks from being intimidated too much though for some no matter what, a story of more than 50,000 words will be too long for them.

10/6/2012 . Edited 10/6/2012 #18
SpunkyPaperAngel

I usually avoid long stories, but there was one that was so good (I swear it reads like a published novel) that I had to pause reading The Hunger Games so that I could read it instead in three days. The Girl From Whirlpool. I got so obsessed with that thing, and it is probably the only long story I have ever read on this site. If it was a book, I would buy it.

Then there was another technically-MA-rated long story that I started, but I only read it for the romance aspect. When the girl died and the relationship fell apart I was out. It was too bloody and disturbing for my taste. And currently I'm reading another long story, but it has so many grammar mistakes that I don't think I can finish it. Or at least, I'm not getting into it. If it wasn't because I really like the main character I would've dropped it already.

I do not write super long fanfics. While fanfic is a lot of fun and I do try my best to make my stories as good as I can, I focus my time on original stories. If I'm aiming to write a story that is as long as the average novel, then I rather create something I can call completely mine.

10/6/2012 #19
RisingEmber

I've found that for my tastes, I find better written stories when they are longer since a writer that is still a bit rough around the edges usually won't stick with a long fic. Not always the case but it is more true than not in my opinion.

10/6/2012 #20
Teemuu

I personally enjoy reading the longer stories.

I have two stories over 300k words and one over 100k , as well as several shorter ones. Judging by the people that read the stuff, I get more hits per chapter on the longer stories then the shorter ones.

I don't know if people are intimated by the longer stories or not. I assume most people read the first chapter or two of a story and decide to continue based on whether it catches their interest or not.

10/6/2012 #21
Whispering Darkness
I tend to go between reading long fics and read a few shorter ones. For the most part, I tend to like longer fics more.

Like Ficta Scriptor I like long fics more, but I like to switch it up. I also like to read a few shorter stories or one-shots in between. And, of course, the long fic has to be worth the effort. Most of them are and there are some that I enjoyed so much I've read them several times. When I am specifically in the mood to read a long fic I make sure to use the word count option, it's really handy.

Still, anything over 200k words is a bit intimidating to me. In such a case I think that as a reader, I would prefer if the story was separated in two stories... It would make it less daunting to start reading and give me a pausing point in between story and sequel.

10/7/2012 #22
cathrl

If story's novel-length, it needs to be novel-quality for me. Otherwise I can just go read a novel, professional level plot, characterisation and editing guaranteed.

I'm not going to invest that amount of time and effort in something which is lower quality, while I might be prepared to overlook some quality issues in something shorter.

10/7/2012 #23
Lord Kelvin
For fanfiction over 40,000 words, do you ever read them?

Ever, yes. Frequently, no. Looking for them, no.

What about if they're over 60,000 words?

Long stories are a big investment for the writer and the reader. As such, you will end up with less readers by default. There are some variables as to whether everything's posted in one gulp (bad idea) or per chapter on a weekly basis (good idea), a pre-write or work in progress, audience and previous work. Funny thing I've seen in some epics is that their intros suck compared to the final chapters, written a year or two later. With a short story, it's easier to have consistent quality. Plus, most readers that started reading it will be around to finish it.

A huge story will stay on the front page for a looong time in most fandoms based on the word filter. You may get those h*** readers that have plenty of time to post detailed feedback.

I wouldn't go on that goose chase, though.

Wow, I'm pretty surprised that so many people read longfics.

WA has a specific reading audience. Don't let that skew your perception of readership in your category of choice.

10/8/2012 #24
HissingSnake
Funny thing I've seen in some epics is that their intros suck compared to the final chapters, written a year or two later. With a short story, it's easier to have consistent quality. Plus, most readers that started reading it will be around to finish it.

I think I may be one of those writers with that kind of problem. The first 10 chapters in my current longfic are abominations but I can't rewrite them without changing the later chapters, which I'm hesitant to change because I think they're of a decent quality. And my reader base has changed as well. Out of all my original readers/reviewers, only two remain. I don't know if those readers lost interest in the fandom or my story.

WA has a specific reading audience. Don't let that skew your perception of readership in your category of choice.

Oh, yeah, forgot about that. Most people on here aren't the average fangirl wanting to read a one-shot smutfic.

10/8/2012 #25
LMRaven

I prefer the longer stories as opposed to the shorter ones and I rarely ever read one shots unless the summary is really, really intriguing and they have to be long one shots. It's a personal preference.

I love sinking my teeth into a long story. Honestly I don't consider 40k words long. 40,000 words is the equivalent to a short novel. That being said, if it's over 40,000 words of fluff without substance, filler dialogue and a barely there plot for the sake of making a story last longer than no, I'm not a big fan. It has to be engaging, emotionally compelling and it has to lead somewhere. But isn't that what any type of story should aspire to be; long or short?

As for myself, I usually write longer, epic length tales. One of them I think is over 258k words. Another I am currently working on is 140k words.

10/8/2012 #26
That Way

I love long fics. when I'm fic diving I set the filter to remove anything under 1000 words just to start because I need something to be a bit more...substantial to pique my interest. and when I first started reading, I started with the longest fics fist and slowly worked my way down by word count through my fandom. Of course, I've always acted on the general principle that 'longer is better' even though I know that's not really the case. Nevertheless, if a writer sustains a fic for 100k words, at the very least that proves their determination and commitment to the story. And for the most part, they are generally of higher quality simply because there are so relatively so few of them.

cathrl's comment about how novel length fics should be novel quality...i sort of agree and disagree. i definitely hold long fics to a higher standard and am much more likely to give up on one that's of poor quality than i would a 2k word one-shot or something. but i don't expect one-shots to have the same quality as published short stories so why would i expect long fics to be as good as published novels? off the top of my head, i can only think of ONE that stands up to most anything i have sitting on my bookshelf. if i placed such limits on what i read, well...i wouldn't read much fanfiction at all.

As far as writing...pretty sure everything I've started has (or soon will) break the 40k word barrier, though I don't really see that as a good thing. Some of the greatest novels have been relatively short and the Harry Potter series has taught me that making stories longer can really make them drag. So it's interesting to see 300k or 400k word stories all over this site when there are very few published novels that ever get that long. There's definitely something to be said for getting an editor to whittle the story down.

10/8/2012 #27
thelastpen
As far as writing...pretty sure everything I've started has (or soon will) break the 40k word barrier, though I don't really see that as a good thing. Some of the greatest novels have been relatively short and the Harry Potter series has taught me that making stories longer can really make them drag. So it's interesting to see 300k or 400k word stories all over this site when there are very few published novels that ever get that long. There's definitely something to be said for getting an editor to whittle the story down.

Before commenting on how long published novels versus stories on here compare to word count, realize there's a number of people who combine more than one arc into one giant story on here. Sure, they have super high word counts, but that would likely be broken up into multiple books if traditional publishing occurred. For example, the Harry Potter story - seven published books - is 1,084,170 words long. Dennis McKiernan's The Iron Tower Trilogy is about 242,200 words long. There's about 473,000 words in the Lord of the Rings. The Wheel of Time is well over 3 million words with each book averaging about 300,000 words. (If you're ever bored, there's more examples here: http://www.cesspit.net/drupal/node/1869)

When a story is bloated, yes, an editor can be invaluable, but sometimes it just takes that many words to tell the story. If you flense a story too close to the bone you can ruin it as much as letting it be morbidly obese.

As for quality, I do expect the same level of quality in a fic published here as in a book I might find on a bookstore shelf. By that, I mean I expect that the story has been crafted with as much skill that the writer has and that as much effort as possible has been put to remove as many errors as possible. But I qualify my expectations based upon the fandom and average likely age of the fandom/writer. In other words, I don't expect the same level of writing from the, for example, Pokemon or Teletubbies fandom as I would from War and Peace or Anna Karenina fans.

10/8/2012 #28
That Way

Lol I'd love to read War and Peace fanfiction.

Actually I should probably just reread the actual book. I think I read an abridged version when I was 12 and never went back for full course.

10/8/2012 #29
thelastpen

http://www.fanfiction.net/book/War-and-Peace/

You're welcome. XD

10/8/2012 #30
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