How Long Should Your Novel Be?

Words to the wise…from Victor Salinas on A Writer’s Path.

A Writer's Path

Novel

by Victor Salinas

Every writer, at some point in time, is bound to ask themselves: How long should a book be?

As a novelist you want to make sure the length is right. Too short and your readers will be severely disappointed. Too long and you risk boring them.

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6 thoughts on “How Long Should Your Novel Be?

  1. Interesting post, Linda, and while I can see the wisdom and reasoning behind these ideas, I have to say that I never think about the length of my novels, because I know exactly how long they HAVE to be: as long as it takes to tell the story *I* want to tell. No more, no less. My novels are in the 400 page range, and believe me, a lot gets cut in editing. That length will work for some readers, and maybe not for others. But they read very quickly, I’ve been told, and I don’t feel like anyone is forced to slog their way through 400 pages of heavy-handed wordage. At least, I hope not. And so far, I’ve never had a complaint about the length, so that’s good. I guess I’m using my style as my guide, more than the genre, and I’m finished when I get to the end of the tale. 😀

    Thanks for sharing this today. It gave me something to ponder, and I’m sure it will be helpful for many of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It all depends on an author’s style. If five authors wrote the same story based on an outline, you’d get five different versions and five different lengths! These post are helpful but don’t tell the “whole story.” 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think you’re exactly right, Linda. But I did find it very interesting, especially as I recognized the truth of what we often expect from the genres. When I read fantasy, I do expect great TOMES, crammed full of worlds and creatures unknown to me. And it’s fascinating to think that readers of certain genres come to expect books of this length or that. I liked the post, and can plainly see the value in it. But for myself, once I’m caught up in telling my story, it takes what it takes. And I consistently (well, as consistent as you can be with only four books) am in that 400 page range every time. So I guess that’s what it takes me, personally, to tell a story.

      Liked by 1 person

      • In general, Marcia, I write books in the 90,000+ word range. With my novella, I had to think of a story idea to fit the condensed format: 30,000 words is “ideal.” It was challenging, but rewarding. I hope to write another novella again.

        I had a tough instructor (a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop), and she made all of us “cut our teeth” on short stories. She insisted it would help us hone our novel-writing skills. If it worked, then she saved me from writing 600-page books! 🙂

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