Writing can be a very lengthy process, especially when writing a novel. Your average novel will probably be around 50,000 to 80,000 words give or take. However, that changes when you write fantasy, which can easily go beyond 100,000 words. I believe that you write until the story is finished. Length shouldn’t be something you consider until after the first draft is complete. Then you can usually cut down on length. With my current medieval fantasy series, I know I’m going to go beyond my normal length. I like to stay close to 70,000 words. It’s just more difficult to write an epic story around that length. I wonder what fantasy fans think about this?
Look at the Lord of the Rings films, three long epic films. Now it’s not the same as a novel, but I think fans can appreciated a long story when it comes to fantasy. Don’t forget about Final Fantasy games! They were usually pretty long and in fact some of them can take up to 60 hours to complete! I read about a writer working on a fantasy novel that is around 150,000 words! He’s hard pressed to cut it down, but the agent he submitted to want’s him to cut the novel down to a smaller size. I’m not going to get to that length. However, I don’t see a problem with a long book if it is exciting and a good read.
Understandably, no one wants to read a 100,000 plus novel that drags on and on or doesn’t reach the reader. It’s like reading a textbook. Some are easy reads, because the content is interesting and the author(s) are talented writers. If you have ever read a textbook written by scientists, you may find yourself yawning over and over again. Psychology is a bit different, thankfully, most psychologists are decent writers. Of course, it is a subject that I’m studying in school, so perhaps I am a bit biased!
One of the biggest barriers people have when writing novels is getting enough length. I’ve finished a rough draft only to find that it is much shorter than anticipated. It can also be difficult to sit down every day and write for a few hours. You have to get that novel finished somehow! Thankfully my current project has kept my attention enough that I haven’t hit my usual slump. I think in part it is the genre. I’m writing the novel in parts, seven short stories, which have a beginning, middle, and end. It’s a literary experiment and so far I like it. I’d suggest you try it if you find that writing a novel is too difficult.
I’ve written short stories before and I do like the fact that it is a shorter process. It’s also easier for editing too. You can write a series of short stories that are connected, then when you are finished with the last one, combine them into one novel. It’s an idea I had several months ago and I decided to try it. Once I finish this series, however, I may go back to writing the full novel if I make a sequel instead of the short story series. I find that a lack of hitting a slump might inspire me to write a full length novel instead. I’m also finding that I don’t want to stop after I finish writing each story. I want to continue to the next story, rather than editing the one I just completed. Hopefully that means that I’m writing a story that people will like to read!
I consider the best advice on what to write is to write what you would want to read. After all, there are likely others that share your own tastes (hopefully). You can’t please everyone, so why not at least write something that you are happy with and enjoy. Hopefully it won’t be a 100,000 plus snooze fest!