We are entering an era of extremely long-form storytelling. While there was a time when a three-hour movie was considered long and a 600-page book was considered enormous, we are now in a time when stories can be told in a variety of formats as an ongoing concern. These will not be like the stories of old, where a television soap opera might run 20 years and tell hundreds of stories. Instead, the stories will be serialized, deliberate, and tell single stories, albeit stories that are typically of epic proportions and covering years or even centuries.

It will not be unusual for a single storyline to take three or four years to complete, if dramatized on television. Films will tell a single story over dozens or even hundreds of sequels. Novels, published both online and in the real world, will spread to dozens of volumes at least, and, at their most ambitious, thousands of volumes.

This will be the era of the Long Story, and this type of storytelling will be valued for the extreme detail and exceptionally nuanced look it provides. Few will actually follow a story from start to finish, but will instead drop in for a while and drop back out when interest lags, sometimes popping back in years later to see how the story has progressed.

The most famous example of this approach to storytelling will be a single novel that takes place over hundreds of years and takes the author the better part of 60 years to write. Some of these stories will become dynastic, with children taking over the telling of the story when their parents die. There will even be a story called The Thousand Year Tale that will transfer authorship from year to year, looking to take a millennium to complete.


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