Something I’ve heard from people who read and enjoy my stories (bless you, each and every one!) is that they are long. And indeed they are—longer than I expect them to be when I begin writing them, in fact. Here’s why.
For years I’ve read stories that are posted to Nifty in installments. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but as a reader I tend to skip over later installments if I haven’t read (or don’t remember reading) the earlier ones. I find myself scanning down the list of new stories looking for the few that are free-standing, complete stories. I just hate to get into a story and then have to wait for another episode, which may or may not appear in the near future. So, that’s why I prefer longer, complete narratives as a reader.
Why I prefer to write them is a slightly different matter. When I write, I love to gather threads spontaneously; I often find that an accidental, throw-away detail on page 17 will suddenly be brought into the main story on page 56, and I like weaving the various threads together. I also like to think that I’m building some narrative momentum, that readers will be able to understand better what the characters are going through later in the story if they have just read—and can refer back to, if they’d like—what happened earlier on.
But maybe people would prefer installments…if you have a feeling one way or the other on this, let me know!