The novels Glynn and I write are generally in the 60,000-word range. The reason is, that’s what I enjoy writing and, lately, it’s the length I like to read. This wasn’t always so. Once upon a time, years ago, I read the expanded version of The Stand -- it was "complete and uncut" -- and wished the story was at least twice as long. A thousand-plus pages just wasn’t enough. Of course, that was during the time in my life when I could spend an entire day under a blanket, reading a wonderful novel and delighting in the thought that my supper was going to be a milkshake and Jack in the Box deep-fried tacos. Some might say, my time management skills (and dietary choices) could maybe have benefited from a little refinement.
Things have changed. Over the New Year break, I started 77 Shadow Street and I’m wishing it was half as long. It’s not that the author isn’t skilled, he’s very good, it’s more likely that my tastes have changed. *spoiler* *but not much of one* An unpleasant man disappears in Chapter One. I started reading Chapter Seventeen this morning and this minor character is still missing. It could be that the reader never sees Mr. Meanie again but, whether he returns or not, I’d like things to push along a little faster, thank you very much.
All of which comes to mind right now because a reader was kind enough to tell me she’d enjoyed Runaway Mail Order Bride but wished the story was longer. She didn’t think the story needed to start earlier (I asked); the middle bits trundled along nicely; and she wasn’t unhappy with the resolution but she just generally wanted…more. She was curled up under her quilt, her cat on her lap, losing her daylight hours to a fictional version of 19th century California and the bad boy in the barn when The End popped up on her electronic reader’s screen. She wasn’t quite ready to let go.
Which I totally get. Because, the truth?, I loved The Stand. And, don’t tell Glynn, I so want Jack in the Box deep-fried tacos for supper tonight. (Here, by the way, is a reverse-engineered recipe on how to make them yourself: http://www.food.com/recipe/jack-in-the-box-beef-tacos-copycat-433674. Thank you, Spice Guru.)