|Big Van, Little Van|
1. It sounds like it might not have many laughs.
2. I have trouble pronouncing the author's name.
3. I'm not convinced I'm good with historical fiction (it IS fiction, right?)
4. I've heard it's HUGE.
And although, like Rod's last post, some of you may well have read it and LOVED it and can't see a good reason in ANY of mine why I shouldn't just grab it by the scruff and devour it in one sitting (can you see my tongue being all ironically in-cheek?) I'm sticking to my guns.
In fact if Jodi Picoult wasn't such a blimmin' brilliant writer, there's NO WAY I'd ever be buying another of her 600-page tomes; as it is, I could open my own JP Library, but I digress as usual.
I remember reading 'Through a Glass Darkly' before I'd even got out of bed one morning. I think it had been raining, it was a weekend and... well, it was too good to stop. And being only 161 pages long, it was an eminently achievable feat. And now that I've picked it up to check it's page-count, I've just noticed I've automatically disclaimed my Excuse No.2 above. "Jostein Gaarder" doesn't exactly trip off the tongue does it?
I read the first Harry Potter book to my daughter at a rate of a chapter a night (she was a bit younger then) until we got half way through the second book and it still felt like I was holding a brick. I remember her sighing one night and telling me to stop "let's just watch the film when it comes out" she smiled sleepily. So we did. I don't know what made me more disappointed, the fact that we hadn't got to finish the book or that I wouldn't be throwing myself into any more of my amazing Hagrid impersonations of an evening.
We flew through 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe'. And 'The Strange Case of Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde' comes in at a trim 25,000 words. Oh, don't worry, I didn't read that one to the young daughter, I'm just giving another example of brevity over unnecessary wordage.
I'm a slave to word-count when I'm writing adult fiction. Simply because somewhere there is information that an adult book is 'usually' anything between 85 and 120 thousand words long. I like to stick to the Norm if I can. But I find myself constantly clicking on the word-count icon to see how I'm getting on and I seriously think I should join Word-Counters Anonymous for the amount of metaphorical self-flagellation that goes on during this exercise of ocd proportions.
Likewise I worry when I'm writing teenage fiction, if my word-count starts to creep beyond the 55thou mark. I fret that I'm going to start losing (mine and any potential readers') interest if there are too many words. After all, teenagers aren't renowned for their great spans of concentration either, are they?
So does it really matter how long a story is so long as the story is written? If there's a beginning, a middle and an end, where does it say there should be superfluous guff padding out its girth for the benefit of Norm?