How much is too much? A word count for web-lit question

With EclecticMasque drawing to a close, I have a question for you all:

How did you feel about the length of posts during the Masque serial?

Long time readers know that I hope to release Asylum as a web-serial, and with the progress I’ve made, it’s looking like that release is sooner rather than later. But one of the things that’s hung us up in the editing process is segment length. Web-lit isn’t like trad publishing, heck, it’s not even like novels on e-readers. With web-serials, you’re hoping to draw the reader back, week after week. And that means holding their attention while their reading, but between posts as well. it’s a fine balance of giving them enough to feel they’ve not wasted their time, but not giving them so much that they don’t check back regularly. How long do you give things you check regularly? Not a “I feel like sitting down to read some blogs” but a “I want to check on X this morning, because it’s Tuesday and I can’t wait to read the newest post!”.

Where is the balance for something like that? Because I haven’t found it yet.

The Masque posts range from 400 words to 3000 (Preparations and Unexpected Guest, respectively). Most of them are hanging out in the 2k range though. And that’s pretty typical of what I’ve seen from other web-lit.

Most of Asylum’s segments are pushing 4, 5, 6k or better. And that’s after I’ve broken them up from the 12-20k “chapters” we had them into start with. Mathematically, that seems way too long, but I don’t honestly see anywhere else to break the sections up.

So the short version is this: How long is too long? When do you, as a reader, start checking out with things you read on the web? 2k? 5k? 15k? Does it depend on the subject matter?


4 thoughts on “How much is too much? A word count for web-lit question

  1. For myself, personally, all that matters it the subject matter. I’ve had to read papers that are as long as 20 pages for college when I’ve been doing research projects. (In fact, I’m looking at doing that soon! Ha!) But for me my problem is that my eyes get very irritated reading on a computer. So what I normally do is I copy whatever it is I want to read (or if its in a PDF, just hit the print button on that screen) and read it later at my leisure. I remember on a fan site that I really kept coming back every day to see if she wrote another segment and when she did, I would copy it and print it out to read later.

    Subject matter also counts tremendously for me because what I want is this: I want a reason to come back. Being a writer myself, it is extremely hard to come up with twists and turns that will elude me or throw me off track. I’m not saying that I’m ‘OMG theBESTnovelistever OMG’ but I am saying that many novels fail to have twists that I won’t see. When they do, I will be coming back. (I read one book where I figured out the ‘plot twist’ about 75 pages in and I had to slog through nearly 200 pages before I finished it.)

    If you can keep the plot interesting, keep me intrigued by characters, have a little dash of romance (even it it’s hinted at–ahem–you sank my ship!), and have an element of danger then I’ll definitely continue reading. Keep in mind, though, this is just *my* opinion–this is not what everyone else will think–but you did ask for thoughts. And I liked your Masque posts just fine! (Preparations I read all on my computer, Unexpected Guest I read half on my computer and then printed the whole thing out and read the whole thing while I was all cozy in bed.)

    As for Asylum–you’ve been teasing us with segments, drawings and little posts about your characters for about a year–why do you think that we WON’T read it and that we WON’T be clamoring for more?! I know that I am quite excited about it! We get to meet all your characters that you’ve been writing about for so long! Welcome Asylum! 🙂

    Oh, and Seth’s mine. All MINE! 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

    • *laughs* Polishing up your fangirl whacking stick, my dear? 😛

      Thanks for the feedback, this is exactly the sort of thing I wanted to know. Every reader is different, so the more people I hear from, the better I feel. Makes the scientist in my happier to have a large sample pool. 😛


      • You are very welcome for the feedback. 🙂 I’m sure that many others will comment…I just wanted to get the ball rolling. I’m glad that it helps.

        And I don’t need a whacking stick. I have a most beautiful assassin…actually, yeah, I still need a stick. I’d tell Mara to go sic someone and she’d just stare at me. :-p

        And if I can’t have *some* romantic fantasy characters get together (I’m not naming any names cause that ship crashed and sunk into a MILLION pieces :-p) then I get Seth. Tee-hee. I think that it’s only fair. (No, doesn’t work out when you try and think about it logically so let’s not try to.) :-p

        Happy writing, my dear!


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