Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Does Size Matter? --In Books?

I've been seeing a trend in the writing-reading world. A trend toward shorter books. Mostly novella length things that run between 20,000-35,000 words. I suppose some readers like them because they're usually less money to purchase and can be read in about an hour and a half instead of the all day marathon most of my books demand. I'd love to know what you think so please leave a comment to this post if you have time. I've highlighted the questions I'd like you to ponder on as you read this blog.

I have written several shorter works. My latest is Have Wand Will Travel a Magic and Mayhem Kindle World novella of 35,324 words. But I have to tell you writing short is difficult for me. I've posted the word count for all my shorter pieces below.

To Capture A Highlander's Heart: The Beginning is  3,064
Caught In The Act is  3,331
An Automated Death is 14,099

To Capture A Highlander's Heart: The Courtship is 19,958
Breaking Ties (A SEAL Team Heartbreakers Novella) is 28,344
Magic and Mayhem: Have Wand Will Travel is 35,324

Questions: Do you prefer shorter books?  A full length novel is considered anything over 40,000 words. Would you prefer works closer to the shorter end or longer? Do you feel like you've gotten your money's worth when you purchase a shorter work for the same amount a longer work is charged? Or does that even play into the books you choose? 

As a writer, I've been used to the comfortable 100,000 word length of my books. Most everything I write is that length or close to it. I have five books that have exceeded that Breaking Through (book 2), Breaking Away (book 3),  and Breaking Out (book 6) of the SEAL Team Heartbreakers Series, Captive Hearts  a Historical set in 1799 London, England, and Timeless my Paranormal Time travel.

Here are the word counts for all these:

Timeless  139,379
Breaking Out  (Book 6 SEAL Team Heartbreakers)136,356
Breaking Through (Book 2 SEAL Team Heartbreakers) 129,638
Breaking Away (Book 3 SEAL Team Heartbreakers) 115,949
Captive Hearts 100,515

Question: Are you hesitant to purchase a book as long as these because of the time it will take to read them?  Timeless is over 400 pages as is Breaking Out.

The shortest full-length that I've written so far was 72,930 words is a paranormal. It's Deep Within The Shadows (book 1 of my Superstition Series)

It's difficult for me to write short because I don't normally write linear plot lines and I don't write straight romance. I can't go directly from point A to point B without someone being threatened or at least causing them a world of trouble. LOL

The closest thing I've written that would be considered a straight romance would be my short stories Caught In The Act, and  To Capture A Highlander's Heart: The Beginning and my novella To Capture A Highlander's Heart: The Courtship because they are linear plots and they deal with just the relationship between two people.

But if you want Romantic Suspense, I'm your girl. I usually have someone pursuing someone or generally have my characters caught up in some tangled web from which they have to fight their way free, while they're trying to figure out the relationship stuff and falling in love.

And I have been known to give my readers more than one romance in a book. Like Breaking Through has 3 romances and a suspense plot. Breaking Out has 2 romances, 2 parallel family situations my 2 couples have to extricate themselves from and a suspense plot line. So if you want more bang for your buck, I'll try and give it to you.  I'll give you what we writers call a braided plot with everything but the kitchen sink woven into the story, lots of emotional turmoil and still give you the Happy Ever After at the end of the book.

Questions: As readers would you prefer the romances to be separate? Each getting their own book? Does the transition back and forth between two or more romances bother or confuse you? 

I can't write a braided plot in only 30,000 words. I'm caught up in my characters' worlds throwing curve balls at them to see what they're made of and making them work for the Happy Ever After they want. And that takes words. Three chapters at least just to introduce the inciting incident and start introducing the characters so you, the reader, will get to know and care about them.

Questions: Do you like for your characters to know one another before the book starts so those introductions can be shortened?   

With those questions asked, here are the word counts for the rest of the books I've written from shortest to longest.

To Capture A Highlander's Heart: The Wedding Night ( Pt. 3 of the Highland Moonlight Spinoff)  73,947
Whisper In My Ear (paranormal Romance)  80,293
Breaking Boundaries (book 5 SEAL Team Heartbreakers) 80,908
Breaking Free  (book 1 SEAL Team Heartbreakers) 92,547
Building Ties (Book 4 SEAL Team Heartbreakers) 92,743
Highland Moonlight (Scottish Medieval Romance) 94,679

As you can see I have something for everyone from short short stories to very, very long novels. From 3,000 words to almost 140,000.

I'm just going to post the blurb from my last SEAL book Breaking out  and my novella for the Magic and Mayhem Kindle World Have Wand, Will Travel to make a point.

Breaking Out 

Navy SEAL Zach O’Connor was dumped while he was deployed on a high-risk mission, and the fallout from the breakup nearly cost him his career. Never again will Zach allow his feelings to make him lose sight of what really matters. Not even when his attraction to Piper Bertinelli makes him long for the very thing he’s vowed to avoid.

Violence and heartache have nearly shattered Dr. Piper Bertinelli’s life, and the last thing she needs is to be attracted to a military man scheduled to deploy. Though all Zach wants is a distraction instead of a commitment, Piper is unable to resist the charismatic Naval officer. He makes her feel safe, something more seductive to her than him being a SEAL. 

When an overzealous policeman from Piper’s past comes after her, Zach has to make a decision: walk away from the woman who's cracked the shell he built around his heart, or stick by her and possibly risk his career. 

And there are other hurdles to face: the family who drove Piper away, but whose secrets may hold the key to understanding why her father was killed. And someone who’s a greater danger to Piper’s life than an angry cop. The man responsible for it all.

Can you even imagine being able to cram all that conflict into 30,000 words? I had trouble containing it in 136,000. 

Questions: Do you prefer less conflict? Or less intense conflicts? 

Magic and Mayhem: Have Wand, Will Travel 
 A soul-sucking wand, a witch, a vampire and a hellhound. ‘Nuff said. 

Private detective and gifted witch Zaira O’Shea has built her reputation on her ability to always find her relic, magical device, or man. When the Witches’ Council hires her to find and return a stolen wand, she can’t refuse, and she’s eager to recover the device. Until the clues lead her to a vampire with fallen-angel good looks, and talents that don’t require a bite to lead her into temptation.

History professor and vampire Christophe Bakas has brushed off his cat burglar skills to steal a powerful wand for the Vampire Council, but only because they are holding his uncle hostage. When he meets Zaira, he hopes he’s found someone who’ll help with the rescue. But from their first teleportation he’s hooked on more than her flying skills. 

The more they learn about the wand, the more Chris and Zaira believe neither council can be trusted with the dangerous device. With both councils closing in, they’re forced to go on the run. Only the vacationing Baba Yaga can make sure the wand isn’t used to destroy the careful balance between witch and vampire kind. If they can find her.

Assjacket, West Virginia here they come. 

But it is possible to put as much conflict as possible even into 36,000 words, but most of the time they have to be contained in a linear plot line that goes from point A to point B.  
I loved writing this because it's comedic and the characters are quirky. 

Question: Do you prefer more comedy? 

I'd like to hear from my readers. I'd love to know how you feel about some of the questions I've asked because I'm currently working on two different projects and what you tell me here may have a bearing on how long they end up being because I want to please my readers.

My next two projects are Breaking Point (a SEAL Team Heartbreaker project with Langley and Trish)

And the second book of my Paranormal Superstition Series Deep Within The Stone.

What I do with these projects could be influenced by what you tell me. So sing out. I want to hear your opinions and ideas.

Read on,
Teresa Reasor


Christoph Fischer said...

To answer some of your questions - I like all genres and a short book can be more rewarding to read if it's tightly edited and to the point than a long one that just throws in extra padding to make up the pages. The story dictates how long it should be and when it's authentic it works in all sizes. That's just me.
So far you got it right!

Teresa Reasor said...

Thank you for your feedback Christoph! I appreciate your comment. So glad you think I've gotten it right so far.

Girl Who Reads said...

I like reading longer novels, though as a reviewer the shorter ones often get my attention sooner. It's for the reason you said, I can read it is a day or so instead of weeks. And when you are on a daily deadline to get reviews out the quicker the reader the faster I can get to the next one.

Teresa Reasor said...

Thanks for commenting on my post. I really appreciate it. And I can understand your stance on that.

Stacy McKitrick said...

I LOVE big books, I cannot lie. Haha!

Last book I read had 494 pages (Karen Rose, romantic suspense, in case you were interested).

My own novels (paranormal romances) hover around 100K words. I just can't write shorter. I don't want to! Yeah, I have one novella out there, but it was a revisit of a couple from another book (and taken from a novel I wrote but which was no longer relevant).

When I was a RomCon (romance reader convention in Denver), I was kind of surprised when the readers were asked if they liked novellas. Most of them said NO. Loudly! They like them longer. So, there you go!

Teresa Reasor said...

Thank you for letting me know! I appreciate it. I too prefer the big books. More meat to satisfy you. LOL

Unknown said...

I actually like to read both. I like good stories and I've read really short reads that fall into that category and very large reads that fall in there too. I would not want to pay over 1.99 for a smaller read. I have both on my bookcase. I know when it gets close to the holidays I start reading a lot of the shorter books as I have less time. I normally don't read the longer ones in November/December because I just normally don't have the time due to work

Teresa Reasor said...

Thanks so much for commenting. And I too have numerous lengths on my kindle. I like collections of short stories because you can pick them up read one and put it down, then come back to the next later. And I've written all lengths.
I value your input to my questions. Thank you.

Author Chad Schimke said...

It really depends on the story, if it needs to be short or long.

Audrey said...

I love long and intense books.
If it is short, it has to be a solid plot with solid emotions. There is so many people publishing themselves shorts stories which they don't make senses... please do no change or shorten your work to please some readers.
You did wonderful for all the books I read from you.
With intensity, intense emotions, good plots and sub plots. Awesome and palpable characters. For me, after reading the breaking series (navy SEALs) i have always the impressions to have follow up real people. This is what I want to read, this is what I love to be a part of. This is for that you are in my autobuy list authors. I think you don't have to change anything.
You're going to perfection your writing (which already is sensational) and it will be a pleasure to read it. (Hope my English makes sense).
Reading "deep within the shadow".

I'm crazy about the SEALs serie, whisper in my ear and highland moonlight that I rererereread. Because I love the style of the writing and the story and characters.
I love the spin off serie.
Thank you :)