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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Author Insight: Page Count Intimidation

As a reader, is there a page count at which a book becomes daunting to you? Does this affect you as a writer?

"If a book is more than, say, 500 pages, I’m going to have to want to read it more than I’d want to read two separate books, really, since that’s what it is. It’s not to say that I won’t read it, but there are tons of books I want to read, so it would be at a disadvantage. My published books came in at 265 and 336 pages, respectively, and one of my unpublished works is right at about 395, so I don’t see this as a big issue in my writing." - Bill Konigsberg, author of Openly Straight

"If anything, I prefer books that are not too short. 250 pages feels like a short book to me. This does affect me as an author; I like my page count to hit 300 because I feel like that's worth the price a reader has to pay. Especially for a hardcover. Long books really don't intimidate me." - Aprilynne Pike, author of Life After Theft and Earthbound.

"There’s something to be said for odysseys like Lonesome Dove or The Stand that give the reader the feeling they’ve travelled as far and spanned as much time as the characters, but I can only do one of those a decade. For years, I’ve struggled through books that weren’t clicking with me, just because I felt guilty for not finishing them. But lately, I read by the 'if it’s not hooking me, I’ll move on to something else' rule. I don’t want to bore a reader with my writing, so I have little patience when I’m bored. That’s less about page count and more about good story and character. I don’t care if a book is a thousand pages as long as it reads like it’s five hundred." - Lex Hrabe , co-author of Quarantine: The Loners

"I have a hard time making myself buy a YA book that’s over 400 pages or so. Yes, it certainly affects how I write. I usually limit my stories to 80,000-90,000 words (about 350 pages) for that very reason." - Victoria Scott, author of The Collector.

"Good question. I have not written anything over 200 pages or so. I find it hard to hold anything more than that in my head at once. But its something I plan on working on in the future." -  Nora Raleigh Baskin, author of Surfacing.

"I don’t think page counts trouble me as a reader, at least not most of the time: there may be occasions when I deliberately grab something short and sweet because I know I haven’t got a lot of time. Word counts have some importance in publishing of course, in that a 100,000 word story for 6 year olds isn’t going to fly, nor is a 10,000 word story for teenagers going to be considered to be a novel. But at the end of the day, the story I’m writing takes as long as it takes to unfold. Trying to artificially make it longer or shorter would wreck the pace and structure." - Teri Terry, author of Slated

"I think it depends on the book. I never felt daunted by the super long Harry Potter books, but I knew what I was getting into. Something well over 1,000 pages is probably going to make me wary! Since I write for young children in addition to teens, I do take length into consideration. I usually hover around the 300 page mark at most." - Jeff Sampson, author of  Ravage

"When a book runs over 400 pages, I'll pause and wonder whether to commit myself to reading it. If it comes highly recommended, no problem, I'm game. But if I'm browsing in a bookstore, hmmm. 400+ is daunting. This affects my writing, too, because I'd love for guys to read my books, and I know that some guys -- particularly the guys in my life -- need some coaxing before they pick up a book. A book that's awfully long makes my guys put up some strong resistance." - A.B. Westrick, author of Brotherhood

"Not at all. When reading, as long as the book is flowing and I'm trapped in their lives then I'm good to keep going." - Molly McAdams, author of Taking Chances

"Nope, as a reader, I don't pay attention to page count when I'm reading as long as the story is flowing and I'm engaged. As a writer, I focus more on word count rather than pages, but my theory is the story takes as many words as it takes, no more, no less. In the first draft, anyway! It does start to get a little intimidating for me when I cross the 100,000 word mark." - Stacey Kade, author of The Ghost & the Goth and The Rules

"My natural story arc length is sixty to seventy thousand words (250-300 pages). When someone tells me they’ve written a hundred and thirty thousand-word manuscript (500 pages), my mouth hangs open." - Liz Coley, author of Pretty Girl-13. 

"Page counts don't tend to be daunting for me. Well, maybe if they're twenty pound door stoppers  because that means I need to set aside more hours to read. Often, though, longer books are a little more commercial and so read more quickly. It's the books that are incredibly complex that daunt me--and excite me--more because I know I'll want to read more slowly, take my time reading sentences over and over again and spend time thinking about the story even after I've finished reading it. As a writer, I don't even consider too-long page counts. My writing style lends itself to shorter or mid-range lengths." - Kristin Halbrook, author of Nobody But Us

"Whenever a book can be described as a “tome,” that’s when I start to get nervous it might not like being carried around in my tote bag. As a writer, it’s more to do with pacing than page count. What’s daunting is having to create all of those scenes, not having to write all of those pages." - Robyn Schneider, author of The Begining of Everything.

On Thursday, find out if page count intimidates the rest of the authors. 

1 comment:

  1. This is so interesting to read-I do tend to pick up shorter books and be a little intimidated by over 400 but I try to keep a good mix.