Don’t Go Over 500 Words

drowning in narrativeWORDPRESS – IT’S a wonderful thing. I see a ton of inspirational news stories, creative writing and photography to name just some of the worthy content. However, despite the immediacy of publishing a post and the potential audience (if connected enough) there’s definitely a sort of mental cut off in terms of what people are prepared to read through regarding word count.

Much beyond 500 words and people will seldom click on your short story or article. Comments will be on a yearly basis. The thing is I can’t even be annoyed, because I have the exact same tendency. I can’t be irritated that stories aren’t read when I myself would balk at the word length, irrespective of story quality. EVEN if I click on a post link and the story is interesting, well written and engaging I still find myself thinking, ‘Yeah, but it’s 865 words long…’ 

Vine, Twitter and Facebook combined with endless ‘Top 10’ links centering on irrelevance are easy to see as root causes in peoples attention span shrinking. But is that it really? I’m not so sure. Perhaps we are simply drowning in a pool of electric narratives; the only lifeboat is another story. Games, the news, movies, books, advertising – they are all competing for space in your world. I guess that is the challenge. Writer’s have never had it so tough. Visual media is running away with the flag. Reclaiming it won’t be easy, but where there are ideas, there are writers. Now I’m off to comment on a short story that’s 499 words…

12 Comments

    1. I wish it wasn’t the case that longer posts get fewer reads. For stories especially it can be tricky to develop a solid piece of readable material in under 500 words.
      I’ll still write some long ones 🙂

  1. Horribly true! Yet I happily read books – real books, I mean, not on line ones – that are 1000’s of words long. What’s more I usually have three, four or even five on the go at the same time. These might be a loo book, a bedtime book, an after lunch pre-siesta book. You get the idea. It works fine for me though, perhaps because I am not a speed-reader.

  2. It’s true! I’m guilty of it, too. I follow so many blogs that it is hard to carve out the time to read the long posts. I’m usually under 250 words these days . . . not that any more people are reading them. *sigh* 😉 Peace . . .

  3. My thoughts exactly. However, I am honest enough to admit to composing a top 10 when I couldn’t think of anything else to write 😉

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