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View Poll Results: Do you like long or short novels?
Really Short (less than 60K words) 3 2.19%
Short about 80K is right 7 5.11%
Medium (somewhere 'tween 80-120K) is perfect 16 11.68%
Long (give it to me baby. Stephen King is my idol) 62 45.26%
Don't care 49 35.77%
Voters: 137. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-17-2010, 05:44 PM   #31
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I think that a very long book can be indicative of an indulgent editor or a writer with too much clout. Stephen King at his worst falls into this category - "The Tommynockers" anyone?
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Old 09-17-2010, 05:47 PM   #32
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It's not the size of the story. It's what you do with it that matters.
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Old 09-17-2010, 07:16 PM   #33
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Depends on how good the book is. I never want really good books to end so I guess the longer the better.
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Old 09-17-2010, 08:21 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by dsvick View Post
For that reason I picked the "long" option in the poll, even though Stephen King is not my hero and I've not read one of his books in over 10 years.
I thought about that, given that he's not my idol either and I've got you beat on the number of years. But I wanted an example of an established writer who writes really, really long books.

What is interesting to me about the answers coming back is I suspected that people do like long books, but agents consistently say that they will reject a novel based on word count alone.

Anything over 120K is toast for a "debut" author. I "sort of" understand the business logic behind that, but overall I agree with the concept that a book is as long as it needs to be to tell the story.

The result of this survey so far, indicates that "debut" authors going the trad publishing route are at a disadvantage with a large portion of readers who like long novels.
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Old 09-17-2010, 08:22 PM   #35
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It's not the size of the story. It's what you do with it that matters.
I wondered how long before someone went there. Not bad - 3 pages in.
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Old 09-17-2010, 09:45 PM   #36
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The Thomas Covenant Chronicles were about the right size, as were the Terry Goodkind books. Short can be OK for some things but if you are telling an intense story, *tell* it.
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Old 09-18-2010, 06:18 AM   #37
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The longer the better, as long as what is inside is not a padding for the length. 500+ pages.
That explains why I like series I like to live with characters...
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Old 09-18-2010, 06:39 AM   #38
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Right now, I have a good variety of shorts, novellas, full-length novels, and extra long novels on my reading devices. I love the variety. Sometimes I just want a story I can finish in a short sitting. I like the satisfaction that comes from finishing a story, and any length story has *some* satisfaction to it (even if it's terrible, then I'm satisfied that I'm done wasting my time).

It's only recently that I've allowed myself to *not* finish books I dislike. With ebooks, I always have another few hundred to choose from, so if I don't like a book, why waste my time? It was a difficult switch in mindset though. I also have trouble *not* eating everything on my plate. Even if I'm not hungry.

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Old 09-18-2010, 08:33 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by GraceKrispy View Post
any length story has *some* satisfaction to it (even if it's terrible, then I'm satisfied that I'm done wasting my time).
I spat coffee; it didn't hit my keyboard. Classic and a keeper of a quote
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Old 09-18-2010, 08:50 AM   #40
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The longer the better, as long as what is inside is not a padding for the length...
Therein lies the rub. Many longer books I've read have been padded to get the length. Look at Jordon's Wheel of Time series. The plot has been pretty much stalled the last several books because of the number of side plots not really necessary to the main plot. In Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged," she had the bad habit of having her character's launch into seemingly endless soliloquies, belaboring points that could have been expounded upon more concisely. That marred an otherwise excellent book. David Eddings later series, even though each book wasn't particular long, was nothing but padding; the same plot kept getting repeated in different settings.
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Old 09-18-2010, 08:59 AM   #41
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...I also have trouble *not* eating everything on my plate. Even if I'm not hungry.

I have the same problem and have the waistline to prove it. I have gotten better at that when I eat out. I diliberately over order and plan on taking the leftovers home with me for a meal in a day or two. It works well except when I travel and stay in a motel that doesn't have a fridge and a microwave.
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Old 09-18-2010, 01:48 PM   #42
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I like long fantasy novells (over 200k)and good crisp mid-length (80k-140k) crime/thriller type books. A short fantasy usually seems lacking, and an overwritten thriller seems tiresome. I guess its the longer more vivid descriptions in fantasy. You cant just say. He jumped into the blue Pontiac and mashed the gas. Not if he just jumped on a sparkling blue scaled dragon, that leapt into the air and sped away on heavy wing strokes, with sleek, reptillion grace... You get the point!
I didn't vote because I have two preferences and I do care.
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Old 09-18-2010, 04:11 PM   #43
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Tell me a story.

Make it a good story.


Don't pad it out to make a "magic length"
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Old 09-18-2010, 04:36 PM   #44
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long, provided the story continues to move with the length and doesn't 'pad'. (Don't know about Stephen King, never tried)
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Old 09-18-2010, 05:40 PM   #45
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When I said that I noticed books are more or less the same length, I meant modern books. Each publisher has a minimum and maximum length, from what I can tell. Works like Dickens was before publishers started cookie cuttering books.

There are exceptions, true, but it seems most books fit within certain length standards.
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