Re: Do you have any requirements to start reading a story?

#1
I just started posting a new story a couple of weeks ago and, in that time, I've seen a lot of people say that they won't start reading a story before it has at least 100 pages or the author updates a certain amount of times a week, etc.

I was wondering, is this common? If so, what keeps you from starting a story and why?

I'm new to this whole web novel thing and, naturally, I want my story to reach more people, so I'd really appreciate the input! I've read a few guides and know that faster updating helps a lot, but was wondering if there's anything else that I can get better at. Thanks in advance!

Re: Do you have any requirements to start reading a story?

#2
I'm sure there will be a wide gamut of responses. 

I start by skimming the first paragraph or two, looking at grammar and syntax. If it's shoddy, I tend to head elsewhere right away. 

If it seems solid, then I'll look at the first couple chapters from a visual perspective. If they're very short (doesn't take more than one bump of the mouse scroll wheel to see the "Next" button), then I like to see a story with many chapters so that I know I'm not going to be finished in 10 minutes.  Just because a story has 62 chapters doesn't mean it's novel-length.

If the first few chapters look decently long (or the chapter count is really high), then I look at duration between uploads. If the chapters are small, I find myself expecting more frequent updates. If they're long, I don't mind the gap.

That said, and perhaps I'm old school, I still frequently prefer to be well under way before sinking my teeth in, so often I'll mark it but wait.  I'm like that with TV shows, as well. I prefer to wait for seasons to be available so I can binge, rather than tuning in once a week.  I've been challenging that attitude of mine the past year though, and am becoming more open to ongoing storylines.


Re: Do you have any requirements to start reading a story?

#3
I tend to wait until it has at least 5-10 chapters if it has a steady upload schedule, 20 minimum if no schedule is mentioned or seen with the upload times, and if the chapters seem short. I usually check a bit of the first chapter for grammar, and unless it is such a butchery of the English language that it physically hurts(which is difficult since I have grown accustom to mtl grammar), I will keep tabs for when it reaches those benchmarks. I am the kind of person who will read 1000 pages on a weekend, so i tend to wait to binge.

Re: Do you have any requirements to start reading a story?

#4
Crisyah Wrote: I just started posting a new story a couple of weeks ago and, in that time, I've seen a lot of people say that they won't start reading a story before it has at least 100 pages or the author updates a certain amount of times a week, etc.

I was wondering, is this common? If so, what keeps you from starting a story and why?


There are quite a number of stories that start but never go anywhere. Reading the beginning of a story which will just stop after a few pages and is never to continue, is not much fun. So people are of course quite wary about them.

You can see how big of a problem is, if you go to https://www.royalroad.com/fictions/search?orderBy=length&dir=asc. The first 87 pages you will see fictions without a single word. It takes 113 pages before you get a single full page (defined as 275 words on RR).
Many of those had contently previously that was deleted. Let's assume everything without a single full page is in that category and ignore it (Though there are surpisingly many where nothing seems to have been deleted).

Using https://www.royalroad.com/fictions/search?minPages=1&maxPages=NNN&orderBy=length and https://www.royalroad.com/fictions/search?minPages=1&maxPages=NNN&orderBy=length and https://www.royalroad.com/fictions/search?minPages=1&maxPages=NNN&status=COMPLETED&orderBy=length and looking at the "Last >>" Page one gets the number of pages with fictions (i.e. ca 20 fictions) with at least one page and that maximum number of pages:


5     182   3
10    328   5
20    494   6
30    596   8
40    670   9
50    725   9
60    768  10
100   872  12
200   986  15
300  1036  18
400  1065  20
500  1084  22
600  1095  23
1000 1115  25
2000 1127  26
3000 1129  27
any  1131  27

So more than half of all fictions never got more than 40 pages. Of which only a tiny part (less than 2%) got marked completed.
Compare that to a story between 400 and 1000 pages. Around 10% in that size are marked completed (and some of the rest might still be ongoing and completed later). Though completions might not be that good a metric.

Instead look at:
https://www.royalroad.com/fictions/search?minPages=1&maxPages=40&orderBy=last_update
You only have to go to result page 30 of 670 to find the first fiction with last update time more than a month ago.

So still more than half the fictions (even when ignoring any fiction with less than 1 page), have less than 40 pages and were updated more than a month ago.

In other words a story has a chance of more than 50% to be dropped before it reaches 40 pages.



Re: Do you have any requirements to start reading a story?

#7
I second that, april18. It all comes down to time, and priorities.

I miss the days when I read more voraciously, and somehow still had time to watch every movie that caught my eye, and not only play but complete every video game that seemed even remotely interesting.

Now I am often relegated to audio books that can play during my commute, one or two movie theater visits a year and I watch only a handful at home. I still try and start a decent number of games, but I rarely have the time to finish them.

That said, it's because I've shifted my priorities to other things. I write more than I have in the past, for one. I've focused on advancing my career, and I spend time on other, new hobbies as well.

I suppose "where we're at in life" also plays a large part in our answers to Crisyah's question. Were I 15 years younger, I'd be reading everything I could get my hands on. Now, I'm more selective with my time.

Re: Do you have any requirements to start reading a story?

#8
Drew Walker Wrote: Now, I'm more selective with my time.


This is a major point too, I believe and why I'm so reticent to spam chapters, in a way. On one hand, people want to see a lot of content and a committed schedule before they dive in. On the other, some won't want a huge backlog to catch up on? I've been thinking about how to balance these two factors and I think I've settled on three chapters a week, rather than two, as I initially planned. Still not sure whether to go all out and do five.

(Off topic, but decided to give Shadowstep a try as it seems to be right up my alley, Drew. Excited to get started!)

Re: Do you have any requirements to start reading a story?

#9
Victor: blablabla
Susan: blububub
Victor: etc.

if the text is structured like that i insta skip it, same when i find out that the whole story is more "tell" then "show" for more than the prologue and maybe the first episode. any more of that and i close it.

Victor did this than he did that he spoke to X about Y and after that he completed assignment Z  no details how he did it or what he encountered etc.

Re: Do you have any requirements to start reading a story?

#10
Oh boy, I've been experiencing more than 100 story where the author suddenly stop writing before reaching 30 chapter (some just simply missing, some start a new story and some still keep writing but only 1 or 2 chapter a year). 

Now, if i see interesting story after the first 2 chapter, i'll follow it, didn't read it for a few weeks (sometime months), and if it still appearing on the 1st page of my bookmark, i'll start reading the rest of the story. 

Edit : oh, btw, i follow yours, seem interesting. If you keep updating it until Christmas, i'll definitely read the rest of your story. Cheers, mate. 

Re: Do you have any requirements to start reading a story?

#11
[quote='humblepeasant']Oh boy, I've been experiencing more than 100 story where the author suddenly stop writing before reaching 30 chapter (some just simply missing, some start a new story and some still keep writing but only 1 or 2 chapter a year). 

Now, if i see interesting story after the first 2 chapter, i'll follow it, didn't read it for a few weeks (sometime months), and if it still appearing on the 1st page of my bookmark, i'll start reading the rest of the story./quote]

I agree. I can't believe how many good stories there are that have been 6 months to 2 years on a hiatus right now that are in the 20-30 chapter range. 

Re: Do you have any requirements to start reading a story?

#12
Crisyah Wrote: I just started posting a new story a couple of weeks ago and, in that time, I've seen a lot of people say that they won't start reading a story before it has at least 100 pages or the author updates a certain amount of times a week, etc.


I have a hard rule of 200 pages before I read, with the minor exception that I may check the story out to make sure grammar and such are not utterly terrible. I tend to go through trending + new and add stories to my 'read later' list. I still prefer a fair bit of progress but I'll drop them in there and wait till they hit 200. Because I do this in batches, it's easy to see who updates and who doesn't... but I still check the update frequency before I start reading. 

So really, enough content to show a dedicated effort, and regular-ish updates to show some commitment. 

As others have mentioned... there is good reason for this. Writing the start of the story is the easiest part and so many stories - great stories - just die off.

Some technical advice assuming you have excess content built up? Post your first chapter, then post one every 2-3 days (2-3 updates a week). Then, one month after the first chapter goes up, upload in a burst and/or more frequently. From what I gather, that's about the perfect way to get on trending/new with enough content to get people. For you, that means you should have about 3x as much posted (~100 pages) near the start of the 2nd month. No rush though, the key is to wait at least a month and have enough content by the time you burst post. Don't burst post later though, it's irritating for readers... but it's the way to get attention to your story and get those early readers.

Quote:I'm new to this whole web novel thing and, naturally, I want my story to reach more people, so I'd really appreciate the input! I've read a few guides and know that faster updating helps a lot, but was wondering if there's anything else that I can get better at. Thanks in advance!


The only advice to take is... commit to write, then write. As a new writer and if it seems suitable, try for ~100k words, finish the story, and write another. The first time is such a huge learning experience. You also have an audience at the start of your new story, which can help get even more attention (and get over people who ignored your first story!)

Re: Do you have any requirements to start reading a story?

#13
@humplepeasant Definitely gonna keep updating until Christmas (and after that), so I hope you'll enjoy it! And thank you for the follow!

@Derpydude Yeah, I guess a place like RoyalRoad, WattPad, etc would have a huge issue with dropped stories... As for me, in particular, while I'm new to writing web novels, I'm not new to writing and I've finished a bunch of stuff in the past, so I'm hoping that won't be as much of a problem for me!

@ptgatsby Yep, I'm writing ahead! And that was exactly what I had planned to do! A steady upload schedule of two or three times a week, then a burst at around Christmas time, since people will have more time off then? Then back to my usual schedule. Glad to see I'm not as clueless as I thought I was!

Re: Do you have any requirements to start reading a story?

#14
Some of em depend on my mood and can be quite petty. Male main characters, though If I'm bored of tired of the usual stories, or someone suggests something, I'll focus only female leads.


Titles. The title has to be interested, if it's too generic fantasy or trying to be edgy with "Super Dark Empire", then I'll never even read the summary.

Once I'm reading I generally read it through, except if the story cant even be consistent with itself.

Characters that talk the same way, so that every sentence of one character that could have been said by another. I don't mean that you need to try and phonetically write every accent, but descriptive language of their way of speaking or posture can go along way.