Length of Web Fiction

I just wondered, how long can a web fiction go? While I checked on Wikipedia that printed novels can go up to 1.5 million words, which is way a lot compared to my completed first book of about 70,000 words, is it possible for web fiction to go that long? I feel like interested to make something longer than that.

Web fiction can go on as long as you want it to. I think the web offers more freedom to go as long as you want to.

@SoraKainomori - Yeah, I understand that, but usually, how long is a typical web fiction? I don't think it is just around 100,000 words.

What do you consider a "typical web fiction," Murazrai?


@RavenProject - To make things easier, I think I'll change the question: Estimate how long the web fiction that you are writing will be. That term typical actually means web fiction that is written as if it is a printed novel.

When I web-serialed it up in the early millennium, I reached about 450,000 words, and was only about a third of the way into the main story XD

I think a part of the draw of web fiction is that word counts are fairly irrelevant. Paper publishing is limited by how physically big it is to publish, and the cost. Neither of these apply to anything published online.

Standard (paper) novels are usually between 70K and 100K words. I know a lot of e-books that range much longer than that, by factors of 5 or even 10. And those are full e-books, not serialised web fiction, which is a different format again.

As for how long web fiction can go? I think that depends on the story. How long can you keep it interesting and engaging for your readers? How long can you string things out before you need to give the reader some kind of payoff or conclusion? Really, that's going to vary widely between stories and writers.

Sorry if that's not much help, but I don't think there is a definitive answer on this question! If you want to write something over 1M words, then go for it. You won't be the first!

Kess: I asked this because I do think of setting up a Guinness World Record for the longest serialized web fiction (but not now, of course). As of the current plan, it has three fold chapter structure, which means each chapter has sub-chapters, which consists of pages. It will be posted up seasonally, as I still have a story arc to be completed. From what you've said, maybe I'll go and attempt 2-4M words. As far as I known, the longest printed novel is a Japanese novel with length of 20M Japanese characters, which I feel speechless upon knowing this. Thanks for the information.

Wow, good luck! Sounds like quite an endeavour. You'll have to keep us posted about how you get on with it!

I have to argee with most people here. I think a web fiction should go until it naturally runs it course.


Kess - I won't start now as I have to complete my current book. I'll tell you when I start.

I'm at about 40k words right now (94 single-spaced pages on Word in 12 point Times). I figure I'm about half-two-thirds of the way through the novel. And it's only the first - I have a second volume planned when this is done. I feel pretty good.

I once calculated out an estimate of Tales of MU, which is the longest web serial I know of. 417 chapters at about 7 to 8 pages each, roughly 3,000 pages total. At 500 words each, that's very roughly 1.5 million words and counting :)

Since I don't post anything unless it's finished, my books are generally the size of normal novels.

I am kicking around an idea of doing something structured more like a television show--something with a long story arc, but that is divided into shorter chunks, with mini-story arcs that conclude after about 8,000 words--like television episodes. Currently, however, I'm finding the process of planning that out kind of daunting.

I really admire the bravery of people who draft as they go. I have no faith in myself to actually be able to pull a story together like that! When I draft, I'm always realizing about 3/4 of the way in something like, "Jesus! I think Gertrude is actually Hannah's long-lost sister!" Then I have to go back in rewrites and throw in those clues. The idea of not having that option terrifies me.

I'm around 150k into mine at the moment. James May statistics puts that at around 6% of the way into story. Got a few more years left yet XD

Mine will be more than 20 books of from 10-15 chapters each. A chapter is generally 1000 words or more but rarely more than 2000. I flunked math.