What is the point of extremely long novels?

#1
By extremely long I mean novels with monster wordcounts in the 300k range or even more. Even 200k is insanely long.

I know web fiction and ebooks don't have the same limitations imposed on them in terms of wordcount. But I still feel that past a certain point you're just trying to shove multiple books into a single one for some reason. There really is no objective reason to have an insanely huge wordcount. Even epics/fantasy don't need to go past 130-150k words. 200k is the absolute max. Once you are up to 400k or something insane like this you should probably considering splitting it into more than one book.

And here is also something else to consider: Lots of readers will simply not read extremely long stories. I know for a fact that I don't have the patience for uber-huge books. It just seems like the writer is sabotaging his own success by doing this for no reason.

Re: What is the point of extremely long novels?

#6

splattenburgers Wrote: And here is also something else to consider: Lots of readers will simply not read extremely long stories. I know for a fact that I don't have the patience for uber-huge books. It just seems like the writer is sabotaging his own success by doing this for no reason.
It really depends on the reader. Some readers love long stuff, because it means they get to spend more time with their favorite characters/worlds, etc. I used to love long fantasy. The Wheel of Time is the best epic fantasy series ever written or ever will be written. It's fourteen books. The big battle chapter "The Last Battle" in A Memory of Light is literally longer than the first Harry Potter book.

That being said, I've actually been graduating toward shorter stories in my reading. In my writing, most of my stuff is around the 30,000 word range, which was consider a novel back during the pulp era. Now we have stupid names like "novella." 30k is like 120 pages by the way. Sword & Sorcery tends to be shorter in length. I really love this genre.

Re: What is the point of extremely long novels?

#7

splattenburgers Wrote:
DrBuller Wrote:
splattenburgers Wrote: Lots of readers will simply not read extremely long stories

...
It's true. This is even more true for young people. Shorter books are getting more popular.
In the book market, maybe, but the web-novel format is pretty much made for longer novels. The top novels on this site is up in the word count, and you cant say that people don't love it.

Re: What is the point of extremely long novels?

#9

splattenburgers Wrote: By extremely long I mean novels with monster wordcounts in the 300k range or even more. Even 200k is insanely long.

I know web fiction and ebooks don't have the same limitations imposed on them in terms of wordcount. But I still feel that past a certain point you're just trying to shove multiple books into a single one for some reason. There really is no objective reason to have an insanely huge wordcount. Even epics/fantasy don't need to go past 130-150k words. 200k is the absolute max. Once you are up to 400k or something insane like this you should probably considering splitting it into more than one book.

And here is also something else to consider: Lots of readers will simply not read extremely long stories. I know for a fact that I don't have the patience for uber-huge books. It just seems like the writer is sabotaging his own success by doing this for no reason.
What's the difference between splitting it into more than one book? For webserials, it's all the same.  Like chapters. A 100k word story with 20 chapters is the same as that same story split into 50 chapters. You don't even need to split it, it doesn't mean anything. A one million book is the same as ten 100k books. Clicking from one book to the next is the same as clicking "Next chapter", you continue reading right away. "Harry Potter" is one big story, and people who like it and read it, read it all. The more, the better. 8 books? Awesome. 20 books? Even better! Wordcount is king.

Like, look at the anime that make the most money. Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Fairy Tail. Hundreds and hundreds of episodes, I even think One Piece has over a thousand at this point. That's like... 200 movies worth of animation. And people still want more, more, and more. If there were another thousand episodes, they'd watch that as well. It's not self-sabotage. People struggle to find something they really enjoy reading/watching: and when you find it, you want an infinite amount of it, before you will have to go back on the "hunt" for another story that you like as much. That's my perspective, at least. It's easiest to have one story you're reading and stick with it for weeks/months before having to switch over to another one. 

(Sure, that's not healthy, and it's "binging" or even addicting, but it's what the largest audiences are looking for) 

Re: What is the point of extremely long novels?

#10
And... meanwhile:

One Piece is still one of the more popular manga out there.
Batman has been in print since the '50s (eyeballing). Actually the entire comic book industry has kept on going for decades with mostly the same cast of characters.
The Wheel of Time went on for 13 books or so. 
The Discworld has had over 40 books before Terry Pratchett died.

People read long series, sometimes regardless of quality.
And for webnovels, of which I know next to nothing for now - so take everything with a bit of salt - some readers just form a habit and they want to keep it going because it's comfortable and familiar. When you've read a chapter of something every week for years now, you kinda want to keep going. Inertia is a really powerful thing.

So yeah, people love long running things. Familiarity is comfortable. What the difference if you split it into 20 books or keep adding to one gargantuan story? I personally have various webcomics that I've been reading regularly for near to twenty years for some of them (Penny Arcade, Ctrl-Alt-Del, Vg Cats, Something Positive, Questionable Content, Least I could do, Garfield etc). 

Re: What is the point of extremely long novels?

#12

splattenburgers Wrote: It just seems like the writer is sabotaging his own success by doing this for no reason
Pretend you are a writer.  You like writing but you also need an income for food and shelter.  Could writing provide an income!?  No, but... there are a mysterious group of people who will give you $5/month to encourage you to write a particular story.  Let’s call them unicorns.  If you could find 1000 unicorns, you wouldn’t have to <soulcrushing job that will soon be replaced by robots> anymore.  You post to RR, praying for unicorns.  


Skip ahead, you have 1000 unicorns.  They love that one story.  You’ve experimented with other stories, but the unicorns are actively hostile to the other stories because you could have spent that time writing more of that one story.  Love is irresistible.  You post another chapter.

Re: What is the point of extremely long novels?

#13
The way I see it, web serials differ quite a bit from traditionally published novels or even self-published e-books. Web serials are, well, serial. I see them less as novels and more like a TV show or manga. A lot happens, it spirals in ways that traditional novels don't. I'm not sure I'm explaining myself very well, but I think a web serial with even up to 1 million words can be justified if the story is vast enough to support it. Personally, I'm planning on around 500-1000 chapters. Whether that's all kept in one web serial or broken up into different books is something I don't know yet, but I'm not ruling out keeping it all together but separating it by volumes. 

Re: What is the point of extremely long novels?

#14

Clone_v2 Wrote: The way I see it, web serials differ quite a bit from traditionally published novels or even self-published e-books. Web serials are, well, serial. I see them less as novels and more like a TV show or manga. A lot happens, it spirals in ways that traditional novels don't. I'm not sure I'm explaining myself very well, but I think a web serial with even up to 1 million words can be justified if the story is vast enough to support it. Personally, I'm planning on around 500-1000 chapters. Whether that's all kept in one web serial or broken up into different books is something I don't know yet, but I'm not ruling out keeping it all together but separating it by volumes.
I'm personally planning something around halfway between traditional and web. A series of interlinked books, each of which will be 200-500k words.

Re: What is the point of extremely long novels?

#15
Are you kidding us? We specifically made our story a web novel for the express reason of not having to deal with cutting it up into books, since that would just end abruptly, and then it would cut into followers as well. Why the hell would we restart just to cut it up like that? We're likely going to get to 500K pretty easily.

Also that is not true. Longer works are much more eye catching than shorter.

Re: What is the point of extremely long novels?

#16

splattenburgers Wrote: There really is no objective reason to have an insanely huge wordcount.
Binge readers. The main reason to split a book into arbitrarily short volumes is to make as much money as possible, which is not an issue when you're posting the entirety for free.


Perceived value. I'd rather spend an audible credit on a 28 hr book than a 7 hr one. Bigger number = better, for a lot of people.

Re: What is the point of extremely long novels?

#17
People have different tastes. I mean, that seems like the logical answer here. People like longer stories. That okay, I personally don't.

It's not that I don't have the patients, it's just I picky. And the world of web fiction is broad. Seriously, ever platform I've been to seems to think they are best thing since sliced bread. That they have the best format, the best stories. Even though I've been on a platform where novels struggled. Short-stories and poetry would get you readers and critiques. 

As a writer, well, I don't consider myself to be a web serial l writer. I will go far as to call myself a web novelist and that it. The series I'm working on doesn't and won't work well in traditional publishing sense of the world. Online is more flexible.

Re: What is the point of extremely long novels?

#18
The longest binge-reading I've ever done was about a week long, several thousand pages by RR standards, and I only stopped because I ran out of chappies. You underestimate us binge-readers. I probably couldv've gone on for three, four days more of unhealthy obsession before exhaustion would finally set in, forcing me to remember about self-care. Long webnovels are a rare treat. 

Re: What is the point of extremely long novels?

#19

tfisb Wrote:
splattenburgers Wrote: It just seems like the writer is sabotaging his own success by doing this for no reason
Pretend you are a writer.  You like writing but you also need an income for food and shelter.  Could writing provide an income!?  No, but... there are a mysterious group of people who will give you $5/month to encourage you to write a particular story.  Let’s call them unicorns.  If you could find 1000 unicorns, you wouldn’t have to <soulcrushing job that will soon be replaced by robots> anymore.  You post to RR, praying for unicorns.  


Skip ahead, you have 1000 unicorns.  They love that one story.  You’ve experimented with other stories, but the unicorns are actively hostile to the other stories because you could have spent that time writing more of that one story.  Love is irresistible.  You post another chapter.
peogentleman  why is this so true lol

Re: What is the point of extremely long novels?

#20

splattenburgers Wrote:
DrBuller Wrote:
splattenburgers Wrote: Lots of readers will simply not read extremely long stories

...
It's true. This is even more true for young people. Shorter books are getting more popular.
Not sure where you're getting these impressions from, I have only ever found the opposite online. Almost everyone I have spoken to/overheard wants the longest, most lengthy, engaging, never-ending stories. 200k words is a pittance to a lot of the binge-readers, they want more and more.