Friday, January 3, 2014

Novel length

Mr. Lukeman, I've been reading your blog for over a year and have learned a college degrees worth. What I appreciate most is your willingness to give examples of the principles discussed in your free e-book How to Land (and Keep) a Literary Agent. You must get frustrated repeating that which is free for the reading but for this middle aged writer...the duplication is greatly appreciated. I do find it sad though that authors may end up writing shorter and shorter novels not because the content is best covered that way but because so few people have the attention span to finish an average sized book. on How long is a novel?

Thank you for your post, and I am glad this blog has been helpful.

While your comment is not a question, I will address your point on novel length. Yes, I agree that there is something sad about our society's inevitable drift towards a shorter attention span, towards sound bytes and text messages and 140 character means of communication. That said, keep in mind that there have always been successful short novels, all throughout history, and that numerous long novels are still being published today, every year, and some doing quite well. I think the longer novel will always survive--indeed, one can argue that readers may end up turning to books precisely for that longer hit that other forms of media won't give them. As a writer, I would not advise setting out by paying attention to length; just focus on writing a great novel, and that is all that matters, whether it ends up at 120 pages or 1,020.

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