Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Why 500 hundred words?

Why 500 hundred words? Why is that such a magic number?

If you look at it 500 words is a very good amount to convey a message, it doesn't matter what the message is. It gets you to the point of your message allowing it to be clearly articulated and presented, with some style.

For short stories, to be honest, that's a bit short, you can't really develop a character, can't develop a lot of scenery and setting, but you if you're efficient you can convey the message and get your idea across. It's not the perfect amount, for sure, but at it's most basic you can get that idea out there and it's a good starting point. You can use this starting point to expand further if you want. 

If you look at it from the perspective of a student, say a high school student, they encounter the 500 word mark on a regular basis. The teacher wants an essay on a topic and they say it needs to be 500 words. Most students grumble and try to put something together. If they're ambitious this suggested length can be blown out of the water, others struggle with it. But from a basic essay perspective this length allows you to introduce your topic, put in an argument and support it. Its just long enough to be meaningful without being verbose.

Finally from a business perspective, 500 words is huge! To put it into context that's a very long email and can you possibly imagine a PowerPoint presentation that long? But there are times you need to write longer form documents at work and it becomes important for things like proposals to get the idea across correctly.

So why 500 words? Well the premise behind the name of the site and the amount is: its enough to convey an idea, its a great starting point for a story. Its not really about the word count but the ability to convey an idea, your idea and make it good which is why we've also got the "Or so..." in the title.