Tell us how you really feel!the tiresome and entirely accidental trope of the ‘obligatory fantasy trilogy’ which so many writers now see as their default book format, regardless of how much or how little story they have to fill it
I was making fun of myself. I have a tendency to tell stories that grow in the telling.It's Kratman, so the less you really know the better. He's probably the biggest concern I have possibly publishing with Baen, but most of the other SciFi/Fantasy outlets are much more opaque and need agents I'm still negotiating with.
Depends upon whether your native tongue is Old Entish.
As one who, in a small way, falls squarely into this category, I can't answer for the generality (and I suspect that there are as many answers as there are authors like this), but - speaking for myself alone - it's those secondary characters that do it every time. If a secondary character has any depth, there's more to find out about them. It's possible to restrict the story in question to a focus on the main character, which keeps the story down to manageable proportions, but I, as an author, am always left unsatisfied with having left these interesting characters unexplored. That calls out sequel. Or the secondary characters start becoming more significant in the tale, and one ends up with the traditional 4-book trilogy.I'll confess I've always felt a slight envy for the authors who settle on a long running series of title after title following the same arc or character. The point about nominally stand alone new works containing sequel- and trilogy-hooks is well observed. I wonder how much of that is down to cynical marketing, and how much is down to authors having the very human tendency to want to always know what happens next for their characters?
I remember the reason the Belgariad is five books is because three would have been too big for the page limit at the time (the wordcount was I believe pretty much the same in this case).Paper shortages as rejection excuse by publishers long into the 1970s - Iain Banks' first novel, (the still-unpublished and approx 400,000 words) "The Tashkent Rambler" was rejected due to an alleged paper shortage in the circa 1974.
Charlie Stross has an interesting take on the length of books as part of his 'Common Misconceptions About Publishing' series on his blog.
Yeah, over 424 pages and publishers have to have to shrink the typeface (no easy job in the olden days), or subcontract the stitching on the hardback, or publish it solely as softback, which means it won't get reviewed.I remember the reason the Belgariad is five books is because three would have been too big for the page limit at the time (the wordcount was I believe pretty much the same in this case).
This is a Bad Thing. I'm talking about in relation to the quality of the story.I suspect that the virtual nature of media is going to blast all notions of how long a book/epic/trilogy/series should be completely out of the water. When a gigabyte of hard drive space translates to about 180 million words (assuming 8 bits per character, six characters per word on average, 1 GB = 178.9 million), and tablets and some e-readers and tablets are now in the 32 and even 64 GB range, we’ll soon reach the point where an author can have a ten million word book published in e-book format.
Really the only constraint in the length of a book at this point is how long the author will live to work on it!
That exists as a project and is terrifying on every level imaginable. If you value your sanity, just go in, read the header with the word count, and leave. Don't stop moving, don't start reading, and whatever you do don't blame me for knowing this exists.we’ll soon reach the point where an author can have a ten million word book published in e-book format.
This is a Bad Thing. I'm talking about in relation to the quality of the story.
The precise perfect length of a story will depend on the individual situation, but when authors have a word count to worry about, they check to make sure that the words they do use have a purpose and add to the story. Without that limitation, there are authors who will just ramble on digressions, lose track of what the story is, and end up with a meandering, meaningless wodge of prose that is of interest to no-one except (possibly) the author.
I, of all people, should know.
Well, of course it’s going to be awful, but we are all going to live to see it... well, provided no one kills themselves first rather than be in the same world as it.That exists as a project and is terrifying on every level imaginable. If you value your sanity, just go in, read the header with the word count, and leave. Don't stop moving, don't start reading, and whatever you do don't blame me for knowing this exists.
Four point five million words, the longest single piece of fiction in the English Language. All of it terrible, and exactly the sort of garbage the can ruin a man.