In today’s Journal
* Not a lot
* Topic: How Long Should A Book Be?
* Daily diary
* Of Interest
* The numbers
Not a lot to write about today, so this will be short. I did write a take-off topic I thought you might find useful though.
My son will leave for home this morning. It’s been a great visit. I’ll spend the balance of the day with my wife and/or watching and listening to (learning) some of the workshops I’ve invested in.
Tomorrow I’ll get back to writing fiction.
On the learning front, be sure to read “Interview With A Serial Killer” in “Of Interest.”
Some great nuances there to absorb so they become part of how your characters interact. Again, you don’t have to apply any of these nuances or techniques consciously to your story. Just read. Your subconscious will take (and use) what it needs.
Topic: How Long Should A Book Be?
I’ll tell you up front, I stole this topic from a post on Medium reference in The Passive Voice. The Passive Guy’s very short take is in “Of Interest” below in case you want to read it and the excerpt from the original post.
Whoever wrote the OP got one thing almost right: “In theory, your book should be as long or short as it needs to be in order for you to tell your story.”
Had the author omitted “In theory,” s/he’d have nailed it.
Let me put it like this:
Your book should be as long or short as it needs to be to tell the story. Period.
Yes, there are genre conventions—reader expectations in particular genres—regarding length and a host of other things. But here’s the thing: If you read books in the genre, even as you’re absorbing Story you’re also internalizing those reader expectations.
It isn’t unusual for a High Fantasy (Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings) to be a tome of well over 100,000 words. It isn’t unusual for a Western to be 50,000 words. (I’ve broken that one on both extremes.) It isn’t unusual for an Action-Adventure to be “long” at over 70,000 words or short at 35,000.
I thought for a long time Thrillers “should” be around 90,000 to 110,000. Then I read a grand master of the Thriller genre: Jack Higgins. What really defines a thriller are the stakes and the scope, which usually (but obviously not always) takes a lot of words to cover.
Romance is generally shorter or longer depending on the sub-genre. Same for Mystery (for example, cozies are seldom door-stoppers; Detective or PI novels might be a little longer; Crime novels are generally longer).
So the real take-away is to read in the genre in which you write. It’s good for your soul, and it will help train your subconscious (as it takes in Story) to write to the approximate length of the genre.
And reading in your genre is also an excellent learning tool. When you read a book and part of it blows your socks off, finish reading it for pleasure, then go back and re-read the parts you loved to figure out how the writer did that.
In a related note, the author of the OP referenced in “Of Interest” also mentioned there are “two kinds of writers out there.” Those who “write short first drafts and in revision, … bulk things up” and those who “write long first drafts and in revision … lean things down.”
I submit there is another kind of writer. A third kind. A (dare I say “much”?) more advanced kind: The kind who trusts the characters to tell the(ir) story and writes through in one clean draft.
Those are the writers for whom writing will never become work. Those are the writers who understand a story is only as long as it needs to be. And those are the writers who will last as long as they want to.
Rolled out at 3, looked around on the internet a bit.
As I mentioned above, I’ll spend most of today learning. My wife and business partner will learn licensing right along with me. (grin)
I hope today will be a day of learning for you too.
Talk with you again tomorrow.
Wow. Want a master class on Interviewing? See “Interview With A Serial Killer” at https://crimereads.com/interview-with-a-serial-killer/.
See “How Long Should a Book Be?” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/how-long-should-a-book-be/.
See “Inspiration—Whose Idea is it Anyway?” at http://prowriterswriting.com/inspiration-whos…dea-is-it-anyway/.
See “Mad Magazine, RIP” at https://killzoneblog.com/2019/07/22029.html.
Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 740 (Journal)
Total words for the day: 740
Writing of Marco’s Way (novel)
Day 1…… 2159 words. Total words to date…… 2159
Day 2…… 1014 words. Total words to date…… 3173
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX
Total fiction words for the month……… 3173
Total fiction words for the year………… 354511
Total nonfiction words for the month… 6770
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 190970
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 545481
Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 7
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… 1
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… 1
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 44
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 194
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31