Re: What is the point of extremely long novels?

#21
Long-form storytelling is something many love to read and watch. It's the reason things like Game of Thrones, The Wheel of Time, Dragonball, Naruto, One Piece, and My Hero are all so popular. For me, I find it very hard to get invested in a normal-sized story. Long-running series give me more time and story to get to know and like the characters. The only short anime I've ever watched that made me cry was Aonohana and the only movies that have made me cry are Gifted and a silent voice. Whereas Naruto, One Piece, and My Hero have all made me cry. Game of Thrones both the books and the show had me fully invested in the characters and story. Even in season seven, I was super worried about Jamie dying even though I wasn't very invested in the story anymore. 

Another aspect is that long-running series often have large casts of characters. I love large casts of characters.

So basically the longer the story the longer I have to get fully invested and attached. Plus a large cast of characters that often interweave and clash.

Re: What is the point of extremely long novels?

#23
Are you talking book series, some of which sit in the millions of words? Take the Sten Series, one millions words, five or six books. Excellent series. Now take the Lord of the Rings, the Honor Harrington series, Hammers Slammers.

Hell, I've got over 100 of the Deathland's novels sitting right here.

Each of the Deathlands sits at 150-250K per book and you WISH you could get the market penetration and sales and number of novels that book series has.

Even Mike Hammer, king of the Pulp Fiction Detective series, is in the millions of words.

David Eddings's The Belgariad series and the Elenium series, millions of words.

I've been hearing "Oh, readers want short books!" for decades.

Yet everyone runs out and buys thick door stoppers for good reading.

It sums up like this:

Short books are a quick snack and rarely invoke thought, or are trying to ape Hemingway's style of muscular dour truncated prose. Most of them are social critique.

Long books are to invest the story in the characters and the universe.

Sure, you can distill Lord of the Rings down to a single sentence: "Some short guys throw a magic ring in a volcano and win a war against evil."

But is that really a story?

Re: What is the point of extremely long novels?

#25

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.
Have you ever heard of One Piece? The manga with over 1000 chapters thats been going for twenty years and in several volumes and has been the top of Shonen Jump for who knows how long.

Re: What is the point of extremely long novels?

#26

Gryphon10 Wrote:
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.
Have you ever heard of One Piece? The manga with over 1000 chapters thats been going for twenty years and in several volumes and has been the top of Shonen Jump for who knows how long.
Have you ever heard of Golgo 13? A manga series running straight from 1968 and still going strong 201 volumes and 53 years later.


This is not a new phenomenon.

Re: What is the point of extremely long novels?

#27
I like reading short works; however, I love reading longer novels even more, especially if the author does a great job with world-building and creating backstories of characters that are relevant to the plot.

When the story ends, I've already walked all the way from the point when the main character was weak or didn't know anything better to where they might have a group of friends, a wonderful family, and have achieved their dreams. I had built a close bond with all the characters from reading through all their ups and downs and seeing where they more likely became the best versions of themselves. 

But I also understand why others may prefer short web novels or books overall. Not all of us have time for it. Sometimes, even I have to stop reading a few lengthy novels here and there because it can be overwhelming or maybe I forget who is who and what has happened in the so-so event. 

Re: What is the point of extremely long novels?

#28
200k is approximately a 550-600 page book. That's a pretty normal length for a lot of the books I have on my shelf, but there are tons that are much longer. Just because you don't seem to want to read books that long doesn't mean that plenty of others don't. Look at The Wheel of Time series for instance. That's a 15 book series where the majority of books are above 300k. I honestly have no idea what epic fantasy you've been reading that has books in the 130-150k range. Most of mine are 200k at a minimum, but so many of them are well above that though.

Re: What is the point of extremely long novels?

#29
I mean it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with marketing decisions. 

My first book is over 400k words long, and is just the first in a longer planned series. Granted, it's the first draft, and I think looking back there's a lot of stuff I'd cut out - but at the same time there's a lot of stuff I'd expand on, so who knows, maybe a second draft would leave it even longer. Not once while writing did I think "I need to make this long because that's what people want" or "I need to cut this down because that's what people want." I wrote what I thought was necessary to tell the story I wanted to tell. Maybe for some people that means it moves agonizingly slow (And I wondered that myself; for such a long fantasy story it's actually relatively humble in scope, I feel). 

Re: What is the point of extremely long novels?

#35

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.


Though I see the appeal of both I am at the very opposite spectrum of this argument. I like stories with solid world-building mixed in with strong and memorable characters and as much as I can enjoy a short story I find it hard to feel that it left a lasting impression on me nowadays. Sure you can make something meaningful in 150k words but at least for me, the few stories that are my all-time great are mega epics with dumb word counts. 

I'm talking stuff like The Wheel of Time, Stormlight archives, and One piece. It's what I love and has left a longer-lasting mark on me and how I aim to write. 

When it comes to any rules and standards with writing and storytelling I'd say it's too open an art form to really draw a line in the sand on anything (except maybe spelling and grammar.) like that. Like most, we have guidelines instead of rules since there is always likely an exception to such things out there that if not worked for you can and will have worked for someone else. 

It's what I'd learned on my writing journey. 

Re: What is the point of extremely long novels?

#40
Long stories, spanning multiple volumes. Yes more. I grew up on trilogies set in specific universes. (before the internet was the way it is now) 

Apart from Tolkien...
Stephen Donaldson with the Illearth War

Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Dark Sun, Greyhawk Adventures. Right back to when there was TSR publishing in the 80's and the original writings of Gary Gygax, Weis and Hickman, Douglas Niles, Ed Greenwood and R.A. Salvatore.

I had a massive collection. I went out of my way for content like that.

That is the only way I see my own writing. Characters that you want to see more of, villains that are fleshed out and are a threat. Places that have a tangible history within the setting. 

As a reader, when I find something I like, I invest in the characters and the settings. More is good. It doesn't need to be the same characters, but the setting yes. Worlds, yes more.

I do enjoy a one off story that leaves an impression, but, that feeling of being able to come back to something familiar is comforting.

I have kept myself isolated from the web fiction world until recently. All I can say is DAMN, where the hell have I been??? 

DrakanSweat