Re: RARA-AVIS: booklengths

From: a.n.smith (
Date: 10 Feb 2000

> I agree with Bill's comments about the length of the books. I noticed this
> the Elvis Cole book LA Requiem. He is also right on about the Parker book
> treatment but I will admit I like the thicker pages and larger print even
> though from a publishing stand point it is more expensive.

A friend of mine just finished his first novel, and since mailing it out, has been worried that the length (just over 60,000 words) wasn't enough. So one of his "hobbies" right now is, when visiting bookstores, to go around looking at short novels, seeing who write and publsihed them, trying to convince himself that it will turn out just fine.

I like both the short ones and the long, depending on the story. I read Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, all 918 pages, without complaint. BUt about 300 pages into Connelly's Trunk Music, when "something changed" (as to not spoil it for those who haven't read it), I was really frustrated and thought he could have done this more quickly. I find something about the shorter books appealing, especially Stark's Parker series, Dominic Stansberry's Last Days of Il Duce, some early Elmore Leonards, Jim Sallis's Lew Griffin novels.

Still, there is a problem with editing. Grove Press's Morgan Entrekin, in an interview I saw, thinks it has something to do with word processors and computers, since people tend to write more and edit less when it's easier to just keep going without changing paper in the typewriter, without doing it with a pen, when you can cut and past big blocks, etc.

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