Sunday, July 17, 2016

Novel Length

Whatever you term the length of my more recents books--whether novel or novella--I am finding more and more that my readers appreciate less description of rooms, countryside, cities, clothing, entrees and drinks, and such standbys that many of us believe(d) we need for verisimilitude or filler or because we were good at details or all three. I've heard it in my thousands of reviews repeatedly that "the story moved along at a fast pace without all the descriptions [that readers typically encounter and skip over.]" I'm thinking that today's reader is greatly accustomed to the quick TV/movie pan of the city/building/interior that just a quick word or two in my writing accomplishes the same thing that twenty years ago might have required a paragraph. The upshot is that my stories are getting shorter and thus "seem" more action-driven without all the other stuff.

It's not uncommon for me to go for several chapters without ever describing what anyone is wearing, eating, drinking etc. My readers just seem to be happier without all that stuff. My work easily shrinks from 80K 70K accordingly. It's a win-win for me and my readers, the way I see it.

And as far as pricing, none of my readers complain about prices (typically 3.99 or 4.99) whether the book is 65K or 80K. It's a non-issue.

Unless a sentence is moving the story forward its utility is always questionable.

1 comment:

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

But double the price and the length - because of the STORY requirements, and they balk.

Which is silly.

But indies have a hard time persuading readers otherwise.

There is this nice cleavage point in Pride's Children, EXACTLY half way through. If it's not selling better by the time I get halfway through the second book in the trilogy, I'm going to seriously reconsider splitting Book 1. Again.

It's not laziness. With a trilogy I get three endings: 1 - happy for now, but can't wait for more; 2 - happy for now, but how the heck are you going to make this work; and 3 - happy for a long time, with possible pirates in the future.

With six books half the size (or seven, if I split off and stretch the last part a bit), I don't have the same pull at the end of the necessary points - each of the cleavage points are low points in the story, and, while not the end-all and be-all, might not make the reader pant for the next volume.

But I'm struggling with price and length - and I swear every word is necessary. The people who do read - love.

Anyway - great topic to chew on.