On the Scurry Tails ‘Tell Time’

Illustration of mystical stopwatches floating in the sky

Time is NOT on your side

By Jeffrey Bishop

This collection of stories has a couple of proprietary features that we’ve employed from the start that we think add significant value to our readers:  the Tell Time and the Scare Rating.  Each is fairly self-explanatory; the Tell Time is designed to give readers a sense for how long it might take an average reader to tell the story to others, and the Scare Rating is designed to give a sense, on a scale from 1 to 5, how scary a story might be to an average youth audience.

With this post, we want to take on just one of the features — the Tell Time — and further explain what it’s for and how it works, while seeking feedback from our readers on how we might employ the feature better (Scare Rating was covered in a separate post).

  • Tell Time helps readers select appropriate stories to read or to tell based on story length.  Generally speaking, shorter stories can be considered to be “better” than longer stories for storytelling, because you don’t have to hold readers’ interest for as long, and because you can tell more stories in the same amount of time compared to longer stories.  Of course this all goes out the window, with plenty of examples of well-told longer forms holding attention just fine
  • To calculate Tell Time, we take the story word count and divide by 200, then round to 30-second increments.  We created this formula by timing ourselves reading aloud about a dozen of our stories at a “normal” pace to determine the average number of words that are read in a minute.
  • We strongly believe that the best campfire stories to tell “weigh in” at less than 10 minutes (click here for a discussion on story length and other factors that aid storytelling).
  • We do have stories here that are longer than 10 minutes in the telling; these are ideal for reading versus telling (click here for a good example).  When we’ve written these, we’ve also edited them for length into “Short Cut” versions to allow for telling (click here for a good example).

Is the Tell Time a useful feature to you?  Do you consider the Tell Time when deciding whether to read a story or not?  Regardless the length, does the Tell Time make you less interested in reading at all?  Would it be useful to categorize stories by “Shorter” or “Longer” for ease in finding all the shorter stories in one place?  Let us know what you’d like to see!

~ by The Ghost Writer on August 13, 2012.

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