What is the best length for an episode of a story?


#1

Hey there. Not sure if this has been asked a million times or not already. But, I felt like consulting the community (as I have for a number of things) on the issue for a story I’m writing. It’s reallt cut and dry. Nothing else added. I’m just curious to what people consider a good length for an episode, just to gauge that community feedback for my story going forward. I started the first episode recently, and got through a small portion of it. While I’m trying to figure out everything I want to put in between for the first three (as I have them planned out so far), I want to know what people think a good length is.

Thanks for the feedback, y’all! :slight_smile:


#2

Definitely around 800-3k lines or have the episode last somewhere in between 5-10 minutes!


#3

You know, I was thinking 2,000-4,000 was the number. I think I was overestimating the low a bit too much! I’ll try to get my episode lengths around there. It was, more or less, where I was thinking.

Let the hard work… continue!

Hooray…:joy:


#4

I’d say around ten minutes is a good time length to aim for. It’s hard to say what would get you there in lines, due to directing and branching. If your choices are basic and you don’t have heaps of spot directing, overlays, zooms, etc. then I’d say at least 1k lines. But if you’ve got choices that matter and your basically writing multiple storylines that’s a whole other story


#5

I’m looking at lots of directing, choices, and the like. I’m going all out for my first story. So I’ll have lots of directing of all sorts, branching storylines, stuff like that. I think I’ll have some smaller choices mixed with big ones in the first three. At least thats how I plan to do it.

I’m a perfectionist. I have to get this to look great, work great, and use every available asset to make it on par with the really well directed stories I’ve played. This pretty much means every little mistake that needs to be corrected, or everything that I feel needs to be fixed or worked on, must be worked on or it will bug the hell out of me until I fix it.


#6

Well in that case, I think it depends on how many branches of story lines you’re doing… I’d recommend trying to get 1000 lines per branch you plan on having. But then also testing each branch to make sure it feels like it’s hit that 8-12 minute range.

It sounds like you’ve got a lot of work cut out for you, so good luck :slightly_smiling_face: It will be well worth it in the end


#7

Thanks! I’m trying my hardest with this one! Getting readers will be the difficult part. But hey, there are ways to do that. I’ll be firing on all cylinders here, busting my butt off to get this done. Anyway, thanks for the encouragement! Back to writing the first episode out for now :slight_smile:


#8

Personally, I aim for around 15 minutes. Some of my episodes are longer and some shorter, but I try to never go under ten minutes or over twenty (thirteen to seventeen is my ideal range). Last time I had a “short” episode (roughly twelve minutes) people complained lol. It will also depend on your readers. I recently did a poll to see if my readers would prefer two “shorter” episodes (at fifteen minutes) or one longer episode (nearly thirty minutes) and the majority actually wanted the longer episode. I guess it does save passes :woman_shrugging:
I do have a lot of complex branching and directing, so I tend to time mine rather than focusing on the lines but on average, I’d say each episode is roughly 2000 lines per branch (including directing, no spaces between dialogue).
I have a spotlight story (so, no directing) and I found that 1200 lines was roughly 15 minutes.


#9

Interesting. I think people like longer episodes, because I suppose it gives them more substance to play with. When you’re a fan of a story, all you want is more. So I can assume from there that it stems from the readers wanting more content they like at once, as opposed to less content at once. Passes also do play a roll as well, so perhaps you’re right there.

Branching will definitely be the hardest part. I plan on having a lot of choices that matter, be it small or large, as well as having points in the mix, which will add another layer to it all. For the first three episodes, I feel as if I’m looking at quite a bit of branching and points being added up. I want to put an emphasis on choice in my mine, perhaps to an extreme amount (which will probably be hell to keep track of at times). So I think with branching alone, directing, and dialogue, I don’t think it’ll be too hard to get a substantial amount of length into it, be it lines or length of the episode in general.

Probably overambitious for a first timer making a story, but I welcome the challenge.

And as Buzz Lightyear says, “ReAcH fOr ThE sTaRs!11!”


#10

Yeah, as a reader as long as the episode is engaging (and not just long for the sake of being long), then I prefer something in the 15-20 range. I feel kind of “cheated” if I read an episode that’s less than ten minutes. But that’s my personal preference. I know there are lots of people out there who actually prefer a shorter episode. So it probably depends on your audience.
Also, if I know that a story has heavy branching, I don’t feel as “cheated” if an Episode is on the short side :joy:

Most of my stories have a lot of branching and I’ve maxed out the line/data limit a few times :joy: (It’s a little bit longer now which is useful and if you’re using INK, you get more room to play with than LL. Just a heads up lol. I’m currently redoing my spotlight story into the regular format and I have to cut out half the endings to make it fit :sob:)

Good luck!!! :grin: You can definitely do it. The forums are also a great resource if you get stuck with the branching/coding.


#11

My episodes might be shorter at times, since I will focus a lot on heavy branching and points and all that stuff. But I’ll still try to make them long enough that they’re in the range I’d feel is best. But I guess part of this also depends on what my audience would like, should I get one. I suppose I’ll find out then as well :joy:

One quick question, since you seem to know a thing or two about branching. Would you recommend finding a writing partner if things get too tough to write or keep track of on my own? Say maybe I need a little help to push the episodes out or something like that. Would it be of any use to or no?

I’m the noob here. I really don’t know all the in’s and out’s of Episode, so I apologize for all the noobish questions. :cowboy_hat_face:


#12

Well I personally track all my points and gains by writing them out per episode. I find it easier (and neater) if I label my gains with the episode number (e.g gain 03_purplepen) and every time I allocate a point to someone/something, I usually have a gain as well. You don’t have to do this, but once I forgot to add a point somewhere but I had added the gain, so I could easily give the point to the readers who should have gained it. I find it easier to track my points this way too.

I personally just do everything myself, but there are loads of other authors who like getting beta testers to check the different paths and play different storylines for them. It would probably be quicker to have a writer partner. Before the new feature (where you can manually choose gains and points when testing your story), it used to take me forever to check episodes before publishing :joy:
Those definitely aren’t noobish questions lol.


#13

Okay, glad they aren’t! :rofl:

Those are some ideas. I haven’t got to the point yet in the first episode where my first choice has come up. But I was generally thinking about doing something similar to what you said you do. I’m too afraid I’ll forget something. And, being a visual person, I like to write things out and draw the branches out, since it’s helpful to me. But, anyway, thanks for answering!


#14

I draw tree diagrams to work out my endings :rofl:
No problem and good luck with it all! Your story already sounds interesting to me, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for when you publish :eyes:


#15

Haha thank you :joy: all I did was talk about the branching ideas, though. Not the actual story.

…unless I did talk about it somewhere else and I completely forgot about it. Which is possible, as the running joke in my family is that I have a terrible memory. Ugh…


#16

Yeah, I think you’ve mentioned it on a few other threads breifly, because it’s also picked my interest.


#17

I remember mentioning it, but maybe it was more than I thought. I don’t want to mention it too much and sound like I’m bragging or something :frowning: I always try to keep it humble.

O O F.

If I did or didn’t, oh well. Glad to hear y’all are interested in it! I’m working pretty hard to try and start writing them more and get the three to the point I can play test them and make them ready to publish. It’s been difficult recently for some family medical hospital stuff going on. I haven’t had much time to sit down and write, while making sure I do other things I’m needed for. It’s pretty chaotic right now. But I’m starting to find time to do this. That, and I’ve been really excited to write it out more recently. So I’m getting to it while I can!

I’ll let y’all know when I finally get to the point I can publish. Until the family medical stuff’s over, I can’t say it’ll be anytime soon. But once I get the chance to write out more, I’ll pump it out! :slight_smile: really happy to see people are interested from whatever I said (which I admittedly forgot). I’ll be around the forums in the meantime.


#18

You don’t sound like you’re bragging dw! It’s actually a great way to make sure you’ll have people who want to read it - even though you didn’t realise that’s what you were doing


#19

Well I’m glad to see people are interested!

Though it is a bit nerve racking, I must say. I’ve been working really hard on the first episode lately, and I think it’s coming along pretty well. I just hope that people like it. First story I’m publishing, so it is pretty nerve racking. The first episode, just as a warning, won’t have choice in it. It’ll be just a lot of introductions and kind of establishing what is going on for your character. It won’t be the most exciting. But the following ones should be more interesting. I think it’ll be a story that becomes more interesting as episodes go on.

But I’ll be sure to let y’all know when it’s published! I’m working hard at it!


#20

Yeah as @amberose said, I’ve seen you mentioning bits and pieces around the forums. You definitely don’t sound like you’re bragging and that’s probably why I’m intrigued lol. (If someone randomly drops a “read my story” in a thread, I tend to ignore it lol). Also, the fact that you’re writing a story with choices that matter also interests me because I personally enjoy stories like that.