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Does a Reader Care About Length?

Jun 15, 2018 | Weekly Recaps

In school, we were taught that there were certain rules and patterns that had to be followed when writing. These writing logistics seemed simple. An essay had to be 5 paragraphs long, each paragraph had to have 5 sentences, and each sentence had to have a beginning, middle, and end. However, the older we got, the more we realized this was simply not true. Essays could be as long or short as it took to get the point across. Paragraphs could be as little as 1 sentence or as long as a whole page long, And there’s nothing wrong with starting a sentence with ‘but’.

However, for many, this early education shaped the way we wrote and limited our creativity, especially when it came to fiction. Have you ever seen a novel that followed all of the ‘rules’ we learned as kids? Probably not, and if you have I can almost guarantee it was boring.

For adult writers trying to write fiction for the first time, this can be a shock, and so many questions come up about logistics. That’s why, over the past two weeks, we put together a definitive guide to writing logistics when it comes to length.

Our discussion on length started last week when we started with a talk on novel length. It probably won’t surprise you that the answer to “how long should my novel be?” is almost always “It depends.” If you’re curious to know more, definitely read the novel length post by Andy Scott.

The next one up was about chapter length. This is another hot topic and one that we wanted to give a clear and exact answer to. Unfortunately, there is no such thing. Instead, we provided some examples of what worked for other authors, as well as some general guidelines to follow. That post is also by Andy Scott.

The third post about length covered scene length, as well as a bit about what scenes are and how to use them. For some authors, the scene is like the step-child, misunderstood and mistreated. However, for many of us, scenes are a very welcome addition to our writing toolset. This post was written by, you guessed it, Andy Scott!

The final post in the series look a micro-approach and talked about paragraph length. Of all the discussions on length, this was the most difficult to break down, since there’s very little you can actually do with a paragraph, right? Well, that’s not exactly true. Read this post by Andy Scott to learn more.

This series on length really came out of nowhere. We weren’t expecting to break down the concept into 4 parts, but that’s what happens when you get such great content from such a great copywriter!

If you found some value in this, please leave a comment here or on any of the individual posts and let us know! Feedback is always appreciated and it really helps to inspire our writers.

– Jeremy Collier –
Founder, Steam Powered Dreams Publishing


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