his hit me while writing a blog for the morrow (as they say in Treasure Island, which I was enjoying) – the length of a written effort.
I’ve written (professionally) in a number of formats. When I write fictional novels, my chapter lengths are always four to six pages long. Same when I post anonymous erotica online (hey, it’s a hobby). In my sister’s medical book, Don’t Jettison Medicine, the chapters were all two pages long – consisting of short paragraphs. In the radio scripts I wrote, everything was maybe two-three paragraphs (the issue, the discussion, the recommendation). Blogs, as you can see, are generally one Word page length, maybe four to six paragraphs of a few lines each. Same as my reviews (honestly, I see people gassing through pages for a review – all you need to say is did you like it, why you liked it, who should read it, and do you recommend it). Emails are usually two blocks of text, one to two sentences each. Business information (back when I did that sort of thing) was usually three heftier paragraphs (structured like my radio work).
I don’t know why I’ve picked these lengths – they’ve worked for me. Even now, I can look at this page and feel that I’m sliding towards a conclusion. I suppose every writer as a distance they are comfortable in for conveying information. As mentioned earlier, I know some bloggers who make their point over and over again. And there was that dreadful ending in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, where a character monologs for something like forty pages. Miss Rand might have been comfortable with that length to make a point – as a reader, I wasn’t.
I know I must conclude now – something in my writer’s heart is telling me that this is as far as I can take it. As writers, you need to figure out where to set your pegs in the ground. How much is too little or two much. Know your distance and fill it accordingly. The guys pouring wet cement into a patio know how much material they need. You should to. It’s part of being a writer.