Time Flies

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As Pat Rice mentioned in her recent Wench blog, I too have been preparing some of my older romances for ebook format. Same stories — I'm very happy to discover that I really love these books, still love the stories and the characters — but oh, that early overwriting had to go. So I've been editing them, trimming for wordiness (yow), over-the-top phrases, a plethora of exclamation points in dialogue (shudder), and some embarrassing indulgences in ooky sentiment. And I think these updated ebooks will actually be better books than the originals. And they'll be graced with beautiful new covers and will, I hope, read like fresh new romances. I'm very excited about these — you'll hear more about them soon!

BlackThornesRose Working with the older romances got me to thinking about the differences between my first romances (my first book, The Black Thorne's Rose, was published in 1994) and the romances and historical novels I've been writing in the 2000s. One major difference is length — I was getting away with a much longer book 10 or 15 years ago! And the length of the book is often influenced by the time frame within the story. I find it easier to write a shorter length novel (100,000 words and under) if the time frame of the events is on the shorter side. In some of my books, now and then I have to skip through time like a stone tossed over water, just skimming the surface … and the bigger historicals sometimes need that … I usually prefer to dive deeply into the story, timewise.

I wrote a blog about time a while back, so … like my old romances about to become new ebooks … I dusted that off for you here. I've been so busy editing this week I was short on blogging time — and when that happens, we Wenches ring a bell and holler "Wench Classic!!" … and so here you go:

TIME FLIES

Tempus fugit.
– Ovid
Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
–Groucho Marx

0002How interesting that we sometimes refer to reading in terms of time (it being a temporal occupation on one level)– I flew through that book, we’ll say. Oh I crawled through that book. Oh I had no time to finish it; oh, I have lots of time for reading this weekend (I wish!!).

This time awareness also applies to writing the books. Mostly I crawl through writing the first half, and fly through the second half racing the deadline. Authors can spend months, even years, writing a book, and yet readers speed through that story in a few days, a day, even an afternoon. So on the one hand, there's the time we take to write them; and there's the time we take to read them. And then there's the time frame covered in the story.

Antique_pocket_watch Romances have gotten much shorter over the last decade or two. Many authors are now expected — and contract-bound — to wind a story up in under 100,000 words, and shorter if possible. Ten or 15 years ago my books were around 120,000 words — that gave me lots more time (so to speak) to develop the story. So it's an interesting challenge for an author when the book length is shorter. And there are lots of reasons for this — paper costs are up, available reading time is down, and the fast-food mentality is now very much a part of the publishing industry, and tastes in reading have altered. We speed through books like we speed through so many things now. No more the leisure hours of the 19th or early 20th century. The planet is a quicker place, and books are quicker, in a sense, too.

And many romances that I've read in the last few years seem to cover shorter time frames — a few weeks, a few days, a day or two for the development of a romance as well as a story. It's true in my own stories–-there have been times when the story takes only a few days or a two weeks. That's okay, says my editor. We don’t want the hero and heroine apart for too long. Readers don't have patience for that. Or do they?

I remember reading big hefty juicy romance reads where the stories took months, a year, even years to develop between hero and heroine. But the genre continues to develop and change, and is never stagnant. Fiction itself, whatever the form, is not a stagnant art –it keeps altering and morphing its shape. Is it an improvement in romance to have the hero and heroine meet quickly, jump each other’s bones quickly, fall in love (in whatever order), resolve all differences and live happily ever after in a matter of, say, ten days?

Canova_eros_psyche It might seem unrealistic– but it certainly can happen when people fall in love.Love at first sight, together with a strong conflict–how much time does that fictional couple really need to get to a resolution? Not much, really. A fast time frame can add immediacy and a sense of urgency to a story, which heightens other tensions in the book, which helps us sit on the edge of our seats, and fly through a book. The time frame is brief and to the point, and the story is focused.

One of my Sarah Gabriel novels, To Wed A Highland Bride, has a time frame of about a month. And I had to stretch that out! It could have been two weeks, easy. So I established an earlier meeting for the hero and heroine, a couple of months prior to the action of the book — a previous encounter years earlier can set up both a conflict and an attraction that will ignite when the story opens and carry through the rest of the book. For this particular novel, the story didn't really need a long time frame. And I found that the shorter time span helped focus the lens of the romance, that hyper-focus that centers on the H & H.

There isn’t much room for extraneous subplots and characters when the manuscript itself needs to be short, and the time frame of the story is brief. But the story doesn't need to drag on to pad in more time to make it "believable." Once a story gets rolling–-which is hopefully right off the bat–-we want it to keep going at a good clip, so that we can roll right along with it.

Cherubclockvintagepostcard So time does fly in lots of romance. The technique works better with some storylines than others, of course. Love at first sight is perfect for a shorter time frame, which needs an intense, passionate attraction–-real chemistry at work between two potential lovers–and it needs intense conflict to challenge that potential happiness. We love romance … but happiness can be boring. Really it can. Give us contrast, challenges surmounted, impossibilies conquered! And then we can enjoy the happiness.

What’s also interesting is that sometimes a writer does not make the time frame clear. The ticking clock that works so well in other genres-–mystery, romantic suspense, thriller and horror, for example–isn’t essential to romance, per se. Yet a bit of ticking-clock tension gives the conflict added fuel and keeps the story moving toward an exciting, adventurous, passionate, satisfying conclusion. A thriller author will make sure you see that clock, even noting it scene by scene — but sometimes in romance, it's better to blur that clock.

Illuminated_manuscript_2 But sometimes that time pressure is part of the fun — that speed, that heady rush, that delirious experience of falling in love and conquering the odds to get there.

Writing mainstream historical fiction, I've found that the time frame can be just the opposite. A story may cover several years, decades, a lifetime for the main character. Some events need whole chapters, and other stretches of time can be covered in sentences or paragraphs. The story could span two or twenty or forty years, yet the story has to keep moving. And yet the writer of mainstream fiction may have a tight word count too — my mainstream fiction novels come in at a little over 100,000 words, only a little longer than my romances, and yet they cover decades.

What do you all think of the shorter time frames in historical romance novels, and the faster pace of the shorter books we are seeing more often in all genres? How do you feel about larger historical novels that cover great gobs of time – do you lose interest? Do you feel satisfied by the story, or impatient? Or do you even notice the passage of time in a novel?

I have an advanced reading copy of QUEEN HEREAFTER looking for a home — and I would love to send it to a reader chosen at random — so please leave a comment and enter to win!

~Susan

 

85 thoughts on “Time Flies”

  1. Oh, Susan, put your earlier books out soon. Please, please, please, please, please. We backlist fanatics are slavering!
    There’s a difference between “longer” and “drags”. I like longer books. A longer book can have tons of description that transports the reader into the time period. For example, Laura Kinsale’s PRINCE OF MIDNIGHT has a whole chapter where the hero tames a horse. A whole chapter? We’d never see that nowadays. Nothing dragged and it was interesting. I loved it.
    A shorter time frame isn’t the only way to speed up a book. The language can do it, even in a long book. Active verbs, no “is going”‘s and “was seeing” (use went and saw). Shorter sentences. Make dialog carry explanations.
    I really question the so-called desire for shorter books. Are we running a contest? Is the purpose to read x number of books in y time, so you win if the books are shorter? You read entertainment fiction for fun, and the longer the book, the more fun.

    Reply
  2. Oh, Susan, put your earlier books out soon. Please, please, please, please, please. We backlist fanatics are slavering!
    There’s a difference between “longer” and “drags”. I like longer books. A longer book can have tons of description that transports the reader into the time period. For example, Laura Kinsale’s PRINCE OF MIDNIGHT has a whole chapter where the hero tames a horse. A whole chapter? We’d never see that nowadays. Nothing dragged and it was interesting. I loved it.
    A shorter time frame isn’t the only way to speed up a book. The language can do it, even in a long book. Active verbs, no “is going”‘s and “was seeing” (use went and saw). Shorter sentences. Make dialog carry explanations.
    I really question the so-called desire for shorter books. Are we running a contest? Is the purpose to read x number of books in y time, so you win if the books are shorter? You read entertainment fiction for fun, and the longer the book, the more fun.

    Reply
  3. Oh, Susan, put your earlier books out soon. Please, please, please, please, please. We backlist fanatics are slavering!
    There’s a difference between “longer” and “drags”. I like longer books. A longer book can have tons of description that transports the reader into the time period. For example, Laura Kinsale’s PRINCE OF MIDNIGHT has a whole chapter where the hero tames a horse. A whole chapter? We’d never see that nowadays. Nothing dragged and it was interesting. I loved it.
    A shorter time frame isn’t the only way to speed up a book. The language can do it, even in a long book. Active verbs, no “is going”‘s and “was seeing” (use went and saw). Shorter sentences. Make dialog carry explanations.
    I really question the so-called desire for shorter books. Are we running a contest? Is the purpose to read x number of books in y time, so you win if the books are shorter? You read entertainment fiction for fun, and the longer the book, the more fun.

    Reply
  4. Oh, Susan, put your earlier books out soon. Please, please, please, please, please. We backlist fanatics are slavering!
    There’s a difference between “longer” and “drags”. I like longer books. A longer book can have tons of description that transports the reader into the time period. For example, Laura Kinsale’s PRINCE OF MIDNIGHT has a whole chapter where the hero tames a horse. A whole chapter? We’d never see that nowadays. Nothing dragged and it was interesting. I loved it.
    A shorter time frame isn’t the only way to speed up a book. The language can do it, even in a long book. Active verbs, no “is going”‘s and “was seeing” (use went and saw). Shorter sentences. Make dialog carry explanations.
    I really question the so-called desire for shorter books. Are we running a contest? Is the purpose to read x number of books in y time, so you win if the books are shorter? You read entertainment fiction for fun, and the longer the book, the more fun.

    Reply
  5. Oh, Susan, put your earlier books out soon. Please, please, please, please, please. We backlist fanatics are slavering!
    There’s a difference between “longer” and “drags”. I like longer books. A longer book can have tons of description that transports the reader into the time period. For example, Laura Kinsale’s PRINCE OF MIDNIGHT has a whole chapter where the hero tames a horse. A whole chapter? We’d never see that nowadays. Nothing dragged and it was interesting. I loved it.
    A shorter time frame isn’t the only way to speed up a book. The language can do it, even in a long book. Active verbs, no “is going”‘s and “was seeing” (use went and saw). Shorter sentences. Make dialog carry explanations.
    I really question the so-called desire for shorter books. Are we running a contest? Is the purpose to read x number of books in y time, so you win if the books are shorter? You read entertainment fiction for fun, and the longer the book, the more fun.

    Reply
  6. A novel should be as long or short as it takes to tell the story, no more and no less.
    I have read short novels that could have done with more fleshing out of the characters and background details, but have also come across ones that were perfect little gems just the way they were.
    Likewise, I have read long novels that would have improved immensely had they only been pruned of some of the unnecessary garnishing. I do love me a good, juicy long novel, but it has to be well-written and engaging all the way through.

    Reply
  7. A novel should be as long or short as it takes to tell the story, no more and no less.
    I have read short novels that could have done with more fleshing out of the characters and background details, but have also come across ones that were perfect little gems just the way they were.
    Likewise, I have read long novels that would have improved immensely had they only been pruned of some of the unnecessary garnishing. I do love me a good, juicy long novel, but it has to be well-written and engaging all the way through.

    Reply
  8. A novel should be as long or short as it takes to tell the story, no more and no less.
    I have read short novels that could have done with more fleshing out of the characters and background details, but have also come across ones that were perfect little gems just the way they were.
    Likewise, I have read long novels that would have improved immensely had they only been pruned of some of the unnecessary garnishing. I do love me a good, juicy long novel, but it has to be well-written and engaging all the way through.

    Reply
  9. A novel should be as long or short as it takes to tell the story, no more and no less.
    I have read short novels that could have done with more fleshing out of the characters and background details, but have also come across ones that were perfect little gems just the way they were.
    Likewise, I have read long novels that would have improved immensely had they only been pruned of some of the unnecessary garnishing. I do love me a good, juicy long novel, but it has to be well-written and engaging all the way through.

    Reply
  10. A novel should be as long or short as it takes to tell the story, no more and no less.
    I have read short novels that could have done with more fleshing out of the characters and background details, but have also come across ones that were perfect little gems just the way they were.
    Likewise, I have read long novels that would have improved immensely had they only been pruned of some of the unnecessary garnishing. I do love me a good, juicy long novel, but it has to be well-written and engaging all the way through.

    Reply
  11. I used to whine about the reduced length. Now, I don’t miss those books so much. Especially if the longer lenth was achieved by passages of unneccessary description or useless chit-chatty dialogue, scenes that served no purpose whatsoever.
    I don’t mind an author covering long lengths of time in a story, as long as she executes it well and doesn’t try to fill in the interims with all of the above. Some of my favorite books of all time are big family sagas that span a character’s entire life. R.F. Delderfield, for example. Loved his books years ago. Not sure if they would hold the same appeal if I read one now.

    Reply
  12. I used to whine about the reduced length. Now, I don’t miss those books so much. Especially if the longer lenth was achieved by passages of unneccessary description or useless chit-chatty dialogue, scenes that served no purpose whatsoever.
    I don’t mind an author covering long lengths of time in a story, as long as she executes it well and doesn’t try to fill in the interims with all of the above. Some of my favorite books of all time are big family sagas that span a character’s entire life. R.F. Delderfield, for example. Loved his books years ago. Not sure if they would hold the same appeal if I read one now.

    Reply
  13. I used to whine about the reduced length. Now, I don’t miss those books so much. Especially if the longer lenth was achieved by passages of unneccessary description or useless chit-chatty dialogue, scenes that served no purpose whatsoever.
    I don’t mind an author covering long lengths of time in a story, as long as she executes it well and doesn’t try to fill in the interims with all of the above. Some of my favorite books of all time are big family sagas that span a character’s entire life. R.F. Delderfield, for example. Loved his books years ago. Not sure if they would hold the same appeal if I read one now.

    Reply
  14. I used to whine about the reduced length. Now, I don’t miss those books so much. Especially if the longer lenth was achieved by passages of unneccessary description or useless chit-chatty dialogue, scenes that served no purpose whatsoever.
    I don’t mind an author covering long lengths of time in a story, as long as she executes it well and doesn’t try to fill in the interims with all of the above. Some of my favorite books of all time are big family sagas that span a character’s entire life. R.F. Delderfield, for example. Loved his books years ago. Not sure if they would hold the same appeal if I read one now.

    Reply
  15. I used to whine about the reduced length. Now, I don’t miss those books so much. Especially if the longer lenth was achieved by passages of unneccessary description or useless chit-chatty dialogue, scenes that served no purpose whatsoever.
    I don’t mind an author covering long lengths of time in a story, as long as she executes it well and doesn’t try to fill in the interims with all of the above. Some of my favorite books of all time are big family sagas that span a character’s entire life. R.F. Delderfield, for example. Loved his books years ago. Not sure if they would hold the same appeal if I read one now.

    Reply
  16. For me I don’t mind what the length of the story is or the length of the time frame as long as the book has “grabed” me I will enjoy it and sometimes I think the longer story will give me exactly what I am looking for. I read all the genres these days and choose the next book I am going to read by the way I feel at the time and also what else is going on in my family life LOL sometimes there is so much that needs to be done that I will pick a shorter book.
    I am looking forward to your backlist coming out in e books
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  17. For me I don’t mind what the length of the story is or the length of the time frame as long as the book has “grabed” me I will enjoy it and sometimes I think the longer story will give me exactly what I am looking for. I read all the genres these days and choose the next book I am going to read by the way I feel at the time and also what else is going on in my family life LOL sometimes there is so much that needs to be done that I will pick a shorter book.
    I am looking forward to your backlist coming out in e books
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  18. For me I don’t mind what the length of the story is or the length of the time frame as long as the book has “grabed” me I will enjoy it and sometimes I think the longer story will give me exactly what I am looking for. I read all the genres these days and choose the next book I am going to read by the way I feel at the time and also what else is going on in my family life LOL sometimes there is so much that needs to be done that I will pick a shorter book.
    I am looking forward to your backlist coming out in e books
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  19. For me I don’t mind what the length of the story is or the length of the time frame as long as the book has “grabed” me I will enjoy it and sometimes I think the longer story will give me exactly what I am looking for. I read all the genres these days and choose the next book I am going to read by the way I feel at the time and also what else is going on in my family life LOL sometimes there is so much that needs to be done that I will pick a shorter book.
    I am looking forward to your backlist coming out in e books
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  20. For me I don’t mind what the length of the story is or the length of the time frame as long as the book has “grabed” me I will enjoy it and sometimes I think the longer story will give me exactly what I am looking for. I read all the genres these days and choose the next book I am going to read by the way I feel at the time and also what else is going on in my family life LOL sometimes there is so much that needs to be done that I will pick a shorter book.
    I am looking forward to your backlist coming out in e books
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  21. I have noticed that some recent historical romances have a sort of compressed feel to them. The hero and heroine meet, they fall into bed by chapter three and then it is hell for leather to the finish. I love a good whirlwind romance as much as the next person, but a nice long historical romance where the characters spar and spat and really get to know each other before they realize “Hey, he/she isn’t so bad after all!”
    Then again, as I love all the twists and turns of historical information a great author uses to paint the entire picture I don’t have a problem with well-written chapters about the way a house looks or about the problems facing the hero with his estate.
    I think the real gauge of what a good length for a novel might be is – am I interested, intrigued, amused, excited or comforted by what I am reading? If the answer is yes, then bring on the pages!

    Reply
  22. I have noticed that some recent historical romances have a sort of compressed feel to them. The hero and heroine meet, they fall into bed by chapter three and then it is hell for leather to the finish. I love a good whirlwind romance as much as the next person, but a nice long historical romance where the characters spar and spat and really get to know each other before they realize “Hey, he/she isn’t so bad after all!”
    Then again, as I love all the twists and turns of historical information a great author uses to paint the entire picture I don’t have a problem with well-written chapters about the way a house looks or about the problems facing the hero with his estate.
    I think the real gauge of what a good length for a novel might be is – am I interested, intrigued, amused, excited or comforted by what I am reading? If the answer is yes, then bring on the pages!

    Reply
  23. I have noticed that some recent historical romances have a sort of compressed feel to them. The hero and heroine meet, they fall into bed by chapter three and then it is hell for leather to the finish. I love a good whirlwind romance as much as the next person, but a nice long historical romance where the characters spar and spat and really get to know each other before they realize “Hey, he/she isn’t so bad after all!”
    Then again, as I love all the twists and turns of historical information a great author uses to paint the entire picture I don’t have a problem with well-written chapters about the way a house looks or about the problems facing the hero with his estate.
    I think the real gauge of what a good length for a novel might be is – am I interested, intrigued, amused, excited or comforted by what I am reading? If the answer is yes, then bring on the pages!

    Reply
  24. I have noticed that some recent historical romances have a sort of compressed feel to them. The hero and heroine meet, they fall into bed by chapter three and then it is hell for leather to the finish. I love a good whirlwind romance as much as the next person, but a nice long historical romance where the characters spar and spat and really get to know each other before they realize “Hey, he/she isn’t so bad after all!”
    Then again, as I love all the twists and turns of historical information a great author uses to paint the entire picture I don’t have a problem with well-written chapters about the way a house looks or about the problems facing the hero with his estate.
    I think the real gauge of what a good length for a novel might be is – am I interested, intrigued, amused, excited or comforted by what I am reading? If the answer is yes, then bring on the pages!

    Reply
  25. I have noticed that some recent historical romances have a sort of compressed feel to them. The hero and heroine meet, they fall into bed by chapter three and then it is hell for leather to the finish. I love a good whirlwind romance as much as the next person, but a nice long historical romance where the characters spar and spat and really get to know each other before they realize “Hey, he/she isn’t so bad after all!”
    Then again, as I love all the twists and turns of historical information a great author uses to paint the entire picture I don’t have a problem with well-written chapters about the way a house looks or about the problems facing the hero with his estate.
    I think the real gauge of what a good length for a novel might be is – am I interested, intrigued, amused, excited or comforted by what I am reading? If the answer is yes, then bring on the pages!

    Reply
  26. Isn’t it fascinating–and often hair-raising?!!–to look at our early books? But a good story is a good story, and in an e-edition, a book can be exactly the length it needs to me.

    Reply
  27. Isn’t it fascinating–and often hair-raising?!!–to look at our early books? But a good story is a good story, and in an e-edition, a book can be exactly the length it needs to me.

    Reply
  28. Isn’t it fascinating–and often hair-raising?!!–to look at our early books? But a good story is a good story, and in an e-edition, a book can be exactly the length it needs to me.

    Reply
  29. Isn’t it fascinating–and often hair-raising?!!–to look at our early books? But a good story is a good story, and in an e-edition, a book can be exactly the length it needs to me.

    Reply
  30. Isn’t it fascinating–and often hair-raising?!!–to look at our early books? But a good story is a good story, and in an e-edition, a book can be exactly the length it needs to me.

    Reply
  31. Love your comments. Linda, thanks for the encouragement – the first ebook will be out soon, with more to follow! And good point on the question of story length — I hope it’s not a race, I hope readers are taking time to enjoy a story as they go through it, rather than barreling on to the next and the next. The longer the book the more fun indeed…unless the book needed more editing and should be shorter for its own sake as well as the reader’s … *g*
    Susan

    Reply
  32. Love your comments. Linda, thanks for the encouragement – the first ebook will be out soon, with more to follow! And good point on the question of story length — I hope it’s not a race, I hope readers are taking time to enjoy a story as they go through it, rather than barreling on to the next and the next. The longer the book the more fun indeed…unless the book needed more editing and should be shorter for its own sake as well as the reader’s … *g*
    Susan

    Reply
  33. Love your comments. Linda, thanks for the encouragement – the first ebook will be out soon, with more to follow! And good point on the question of story length — I hope it’s not a race, I hope readers are taking time to enjoy a story as they go through it, rather than barreling on to the next and the next. The longer the book the more fun indeed…unless the book needed more editing and should be shorter for its own sake as well as the reader’s … *g*
    Susan

    Reply
  34. Love your comments. Linda, thanks for the encouragement – the first ebook will be out soon, with more to follow! And good point on the question of story length — I hope it’s not a race, I hope readers are taking time to enjoy a story as they go through it, rather than barreling on to the next and the next. The longer the book the more fun indeed…unless the book needed more editing and should be shorter for its own sake as well as the reader’s … *g*
    Susan

    Reply
  35. Love your comments. Linda, thanks for the encouragement – the first ebook will be out soon, with more to follow! And good point on the question of story length — I hope it’s not a race, I hope readers are taking time to enjoy a story as they go through it, rather than barreling on to the next and the next. The longer the book the more fun indeed…unless the book needed more editing and should be shorter for its own sake as well as the reader’s … *g*
    Susan

    Reply
  36. Bibliophile – perfect little gems or long, juicy novels – I love both. There’s a place in the book world for both sorts, absolutely.
    After reading a long book and savoring, I’m in the mood for something shorter and lighter for a while, then on to something else, usually longer, and so it goes. I definitely like a variety of story forms as a reader. As an author, when the story needs a longer, more detailed treatment, it can be frustrating to have to crop here and there to fit it into the desired length.
    Sometimes when readers note in reviews and comments that a book skipped over important story points, or didn’t develop something a little more, or ended too abruptly — it could be word count, deadline, a need to crop and revise. While it could also be plain ol’ built-in story flaws, sometimes it’s outside circumstances influencing the book.
    Susan

    Reply
  37. Bibliophile – perfect little gems or long, juicy novels – I love both. There’s a place in the book world for both sorts, absolutely.
    After reading a long book and savoring, I’m in the mood for something shorter and lighter for a while, then on to something else, usually longer, and so it goes. I definitely like a variety of story forms as a reader. As an author, when the story needs a longer, more detailed treatment, it can be frustrating to have to crop here and there to fit it into the desired length.
    Sometimes when readers note in reviews and comments that a book skipped over important story points, or didn’t develop something a little more, or ended too abruptly — it could be word count, deadline, a need to crop and revise. While it could also be plain ol’ built-in story flaws, sometimes it’s outside circumstances influencing the book.
    Susan

    Reply
  38. Bibliophile – perfect little gems or long, juicy novels – I love both. There’s a place in the book world for both sorts, absolutely.
    After reading a long book and savoring, I’m in the mood for something shorter and lighter for a while, then on to something else, usually longer, and so it goes. I definitely like a variety of story forms as a reader. As an author, when the story needs a longer, more detailed treatment, it can be frustrating to have to crop here and there to fit it into the desired length.
    Sometimes when readers note in reviews and comments that a book skipped over important story points, or didn’t develop something a little more, or ended too abruptly — it could be word count, deadline, a need to crop and revise. While it could also be plain ol’ built-in story flaws, sometimes it’s outside circumstances influencing the book.
    Susan

    Reply
  39. Bibliophile – perfect little gems or long, juicy novels – I love both. There’s a place in the book world for both sorts, absolutely.
    After reading a long book and savoring, I’m in the mood for something shorter and lighter for a while, then on to something else, usually longer, and so it goes. I definitely like a variety of story forms as a reader. As an author, when the story needs a longer, more detailed treatment, it can be frustrating to have to crop here and there to fit it into the desired length.
    Sometimes when readers note in reviews and comments that a book skipped over important story points, or didn’t develop something a little more, or ended too abruptly — it could be word count, deadline, a need to crop and revise. While it could also be plain ol’ built-in story flaws, sometimes it’s outside circumstances influencing the book.
    Susan

    Reply
  40. Bibliophile – perfect little gems or long, juicy novels – I love both. There’s a place in the book world for both sorts, absolutely.
    After reading a long book and savoring, I’m in the mood for something shorter and lighter for a while, then on to something else, usually longer, and so it goes. I definitely like a variety of story forms as a reader. As an author, when the story needs a longer, more detailed treatment, it can be frustrating to have to crop here and there to fit it into the desired length.
    Sometimes when readers note in reviews and comments that a book skipped over important story points, or didn’t develop something a little more, or ended too abruptly — it could be word count, deadline, a need to crop and revise. While it could also be plain ol’ built-in story flaws, sometimes it’s outside circumstances influencing the book.
    Susan

    Reply
  41. Irma, I adored Delderfeld, gobbled a few of those up in grade school and high school, unabashedly sobbing my way through them. And I totally agree – I don’t know if I would get through one of those today. Hmm. I may have to find one and see how I feel about it!
    Helen, thanks so much, I’ll let you know when the ebooks are available! And sometimes I also read shorter ones when there’s no time for others. I’m reading more mysteries, actually, because some of them tend to be shorter, and because I’m not as familiar with those as with the romance forms.
    Susan

    Reply
  42. Irma, I adored Delderfeld, gobbled a few of those up in grade school and high school, unabashedly sobbing my way through them. And I totally agree – I don’t know if I would get through one of those today. Hmm. I may have to find one and see how I feel about it!
    Helen, thanks so much, I’ll let you know when the ebooks are available! And sometimes I also read shorter ones when there’s no time for others. I’m reading more mysteries, actually, because some of them tend to be shorter, and because I’m not as familiar with those as with the romance forms.
    Susan

    Reply
  43. Irma, I adored Delderfeld, gobbled a few of those up in grade school and high school, unabashedly sobbing my way through them. And I totally agree – I don’t know if I would get through one of those today. Hmm. I may have to find one and see how I feel about it!
    Helen, thanks so much, I’ll let you know when the ebooks are available! And sometimes I also read shorter ones when there’s no time for others. I’m reading more mysteries, actually, because some of them tend to be shorter, and because I’m not as familiar with those as with the romance forms.
    Susan

    Reply
  44. Irma, I adored Delderfeld, gobbled a few of those up in grade school and high school, unabashedly sobbing my way through them. And I totally agree – I don’t know if I would get through one of those today. Hmm. I may have to find one and see how I feel about it!
    Helen, thanks so much, I’ll let you know when the ebooks are available! And sometimes I also read shorter ones when there’s no time for others. I’m reading more mysteries, actually, because some of them tend to be shorter, and because I’m not as familiar with those as with the romance forms.
    Susan

    Reply
  45. Irma, I adored Delderfeld, gobbled a few of those up in grade school and high school, unabashedly sobbing my way through them. And I totally agree – I don’t know if I would get through one of those today. Hmm. I may have to find one and see how I feel about it!
    Helen, thanks so much, I’ll let you know when the ebooks are available! And sometimes I also read shorter ones when there’s no time for others. I’m reading more mysteries, actually, because some of them tend to be shorter, and because I’m not as familiar with those as with the romance forms.
    Susan

    Reply
  46. Louisa sez:
    “I think the real gauge of what a good length for a novel might be is – am I interested, intrigued, amused, excited or comforted by what I am reading? If the answer is yes, then bring on the pages!”
    That’s a brilliant way to put it. 🙂
    Susan

    Reply
  47. Louisa sez:
    “I think the real gauge of what a good length for a novel might be is – am I interested, intrigued, amused, excited or comforted by what I am reading? If the answer is yes, then bring on the pages!”
    That’s a brilliant way to put it. 🙂
    Susan

    Reply
  48. Louisa sez:
    “I think the real gauge of what a good length for a novel might be is – am I interested, intrigued, amused, excited or comforted by what I am reading? If the answer is yes, then bring on the pages!”
    That’s a brilliant way to put it. 🙂
    Susan

    Reply
  49. Louisa sez:
    “I think the real gauge of what a good length for a novel might be is – am I interested, intrigued, amused, excited or comforted by what I am reading? If the answer is yes, then bring on the pages!”
    That’s a brilliant way to put it. 🙂
    Susan

    Reply
  50. Louisa sez:
    “I think the real gauge of what a good length for a novel might be is – am I interested, intrigued, amused, excited or comforted by what I am reading? If the answer is yes, then bring on the pages!”
    That’s a brilliant way to put it. 🙂
    Susan

    Reply
  51. Mary Jo, it IS a bit nervewracking to read the early stuff again, books I haven’t picked up for several years. And it’s such a relief to find them still holding up.
    After the initial cringes – and there are definitely those, it’s not always easy to read one’s own Stuff – I’m having a good time with them.
    But every ’tis, ’twas, ’twere and Ho! is outta there in the new versions.
    Trust me. *g*
    Susan

    Reply
  52. Mary Jo, it IS a bit nervewracking to read the early stuff again, books I haven’t picked up for several years. And it’s such a relief to find them still holding up.
    After the initial cringes – and there are definitely those, it’s not always easy to read one’s own Stuff – I’m having a good time with them.
    But every ’tis, ’twas, ’twere and Ho! is outta there in the new versions.
    Trust me. *g*
    Susan

    Reply
  53. Mary Jo, it IS a bit nervewracking to read the early stuff again, books I haven’t picked up for several years. And it’s such a relief to find them still holding up.
    After the initial cringes – and there are definitely those, it’s not always easy to read one’s own Stuff – I’m having a good time with them.
    But every ’tis, ’twas, ’twere and Ho! is outta there in the new versions.
    Trust me. *g*
    Susan

    Reply
  54. Mary Jo, it IS a bit nervewracking to read the early stuff again, books I haven’t picked up for several years. And it’s such a relief to find them still holding up.
    After the initial cringes – and there are definitely those, it’s not always easy to read one’s own Stuff – I’m having a good time with them.
    But every ’tis, ’twas, ’twere and Ho! is outta there in the new versions.
    Trust me. *g*
    Susan

    Reply
  55. Mary Jo, it IS a bit nervewracking to read the early stuff again, books I haven’t picked up for several years. And it’s such a relief to find them still holding up.
    After the initial cringes – and there are definitely those, it’s not always easy to read one’s own Stuff – I’m having a good time with them.
    But every ’tis, ’twas, ’twere and Ho! is outta there in the new versions.
    Trust me. *g*
    Susan

    Reply
  56. I’m not a fan of the really short novels. I think it takes time to really develop characters and a good story. If the novel is written well, I don’t notice how big it is unless I’m trying to squeeze it into my purse…. =)
    tiredwkids at live dot com

    Reply
  57. I’m not a fan of the really short novels. I think it takes time to really develop characters and a good story. If the novel is written well, I don’t notice how big it is unless I’m trying to squeeze it into my purse…. =)
    tiredwkids at live dot com

    Reply
  58. I’m not a fan of the really short novels. I think it takes time to really develop characters and a good story. If the novel is written well, I don’t notice how big it is unless I’m trying to squeeze it into my purse…. =)
    tiredwkids at live dot com

    Reply
  59. I’m not a fan of the really short novels. I think it takes time to really develop characters and a good story. If the novel is written well, I don’t notice how big it is unless I’m trying to squeeze it into my purse…. =)
    tiredwkids at live dot com

    Reply
  60. I’m not a fan of the really short novels. I think it takes time to really develop characters and a good story. If the novel is written well, I don’t notice how big it is unless I’m trying to squeeze it into my purse…. =)
    tiredwkids at live dot com

    Reply
  61. My favorite books are historical romance and I find that I really like all this historical knowleledge that I’ve learned that is usefull. From what I learned while reading them when my husband and I took a trip to London and Scotland and visited some of those places that I had been “introudced to” in my reading that aren’t usually highlighted in travel guides that we found charming and unique.
    My husband reads a lot of history books which I sometimes pick up and read as well. I find that a lot of times there is so much detailed information that it really slows down my reading and even if it’s a fictional history book (usually written directed toward the male species) that some of the chapters are so detailed that they seem to drag by. I think that the historical romance genre does a more interesting job of introducing the details of the times without draging out all the details.

    Reply
  62. My favorite books are historical romance and I find that I really like all this historical knowleledge that I’ve learned that is usefull. From what I learned while reading them when my husband and I took a trip to London and Scotland and visited some of those places that I had been “introudced to” in my reading that aren’t usually highlighted in travel guides that we found charming and unique.
    My husband reads a lot of history books which I sometimes pick up and read as well. I find that a lot of times there is so much detailed information that it really slows down my reading and even if it’s a fictional history book (usually written directed toward the male species) that some of the chapters are so detailed that they seem to drag by. I think that the historical romance genre does a more interesting job of introducing the details of the times without draging out all the details.

    Reply
  63. My favorite books are historical romance and I find that I really like all this historical knowleledge that I’ve learned that is usefull. From what I learned while reading them when my husband and I took a trip to London and Scotland and visited some of those places that I had been “introudced to” in my reading that aren’t usually highlighted in travel guides that we found charming and unique.
    My husband reads a lot of history books which I sometimes pick up and read as well. I find that a lot of times there is so much detailed information that it really slows down my reading and even if it’s a fictional history book (usually written directed toward the male species) that some of the chapters are so detailed that they seem to drag by. I think that the historical romance genre does a more interesting job of introducing the details of the times without draging out all the details.

    Reply
  64. My favorite books are historical romance and I find that I really like all this historical knowleledge that I’ve learned that is usefull. From what I learned while reading them when my husband and I took a trip to London and Scotland and visited some of those places that I had been “introudced to” in my reading that aren’t usually highlighted in travel guides that we found charming and unique.
    My husband reads a lot of history books which I sometimes pick up and read as well. I find that a lot of times there is so much detailed information that it really slows down my reading and even if it’s a fictional history book (usually written directed toward the male species) that some of the chapters are so detailed that they seem to drag by. I think that the historical romance genre does a more interesting job of introducing the details of the times without draging out all the details.

    Reply
  65. My favorite books are historical romance and I find that I really like all this historical knowleledge that I’ve learned that is usefull. From what I learned while reading them when my husband and I took a trip to London and Scotland and visited some of those places that I had been “introudced to” in my reading that aren’t usually highlighted in travel guides that we found charming and unique.
    My husband reads a lot of history books which I sometimes pick up and read as well. I find that a lot of times there is so much detailed information that it really slows down my reading and even if it’s a fictional history book (usually written directed toward the male species) that some of the chapters are so detailed that they seem to drag by. I think that the historical romance genre does a more interesting job of introducing the details of the times without draging out all the details.

    Reply
  66. Oddly enough, I was just thinking about ‘time’ while I was reading the latest Karen Robards book Shattered. Your blog here just kept my ideas flowing.
    From reading some plot summaries in various publications online, I realized they and the one in the actual book differed: the name of the heroine was changed from Lisa Shewmaker to Lisa Grant, and her first job as a lawyer was changed from Lexington, KY, near which her mother’s family had a horse farm, to Boston, MA. I’m now wondering whether that was done to give the H & H a back story, though it was rather adversarial. However, I believe the development of their relationship would have been very much too rushed for my taste otherwise. Here it was only a bit too rushed. I sometimes wonder if too many couples get married without knowing each other well enough. Is that one of the causes of so many divorces?
    And yes, I definitely prefer a somewhat more leisurely development of a romance, especially historical romances, certainly more than a week or two. I’ve stopped reading some of the shorter romance books. In many, the couples are in bed together within a day or two and married in less than a month. All that seems to count in these stories are the number of sex scenes that can be squeezed in. This fortunately applies in a lesser degree to historical romances, but still some of them progress too fast. In the more sheltered lives of young aristocratic girls in older days, this seems to me an anachronism, unless they were married off early by their parents.
    It’s too bad that manuscripts are bought more for the money they can bring than for what good storytellers can write to give us a different view of our world, ancient or modern. Too bad there’s not more of a balance there.
    P.S. I don’t have Queen Hereafter yet. I have to make up for the time when I could afford only very few books. Unfortunately, some of the ones I couldn’t get are now hard to find. A little hint, Susan?

    Reply
  67. Oddly enough, I was just thinking about ‘time’ while I was reading the latest Karen Robards book Shattered. Your blog here just kept my ideas flowing.
    From reading some plot summaries in various publications online, I realized they and the one in the actual book differed: the name of the heroine was changed from Lisa Shewmaker to Lisa Grant, and her first job as a lawyer was changed from Lexington, KY, near which her mother’s family had a horse farm, to Boston, MA. I’m now wondering whether that was done to give the H & H a back story, though it was rather adversarial. However, I believe the development of their relationship would have been very much too rushed for my taste otherwise. Here it was only a bit too rushed. I sometimes wonder if too many couples get married without knowing each other well enough. Is that one of the causes of so many divorces?
    And yes, I definitely prefer a somewhat more leisurely development of a romance, especially historical romances, certainly more than a week or two. I’ve stopped reading some of the shorter romance books. In many, the couples are in bed together within a day or two and married in less than a month. All that seems to count in these stories are the number of sex scenes that can be squeezed in. This fortunately applies in a lesser degree to historical romances, but still some of them progress too fast. In the more sheltered lives of young aristocratic girls in older days, this seems to me an anachronism, unless they were married off early by their parents.
    It’s too bad that manuscripts are bought more for the money they can bring than for what good storytellers can write to give us a different view of our world, ancient or modern. Too bad there’s not more of a balance there.
    P.S. I don’t have Queen Hereafter yet. I have to make up for the time when I could afford only very few books. Unfortunately, some of the ones I couldn’t get are now hard to find. A little hint, Susan?

    Reply
  68. Oddly enough, I was just thinking about ‘time’ while I was reading the latest Karen Robards book Shattered. Your blog here just kept my ideas flowing.
    From reading some plot summaries in various publications online, I realized they and the one in the actual book differed: the name of the heroine was changed from Lisa Shewmaker to Lisa Grant, and her first job as a lawyer was changed from Lexington, KY, near which her mother’s family had a horse farm, to Boston, MA. I’m now wondering whether that was done to give the H & H a back story, though it was rather adversarial. However, I believe the development of their relationship would have been very much too rushed for my taste otherwise. Here it was only a bit too rushed. I sometimes wonder if too many couples get married without knowing each other well enough. Is that one of the causes of so many divorces?
    And yes, I definitely prefer a somewhat more leisurely development of a romance, especially historical romances, certainly more than a week or two. I’ve stopped reading some of the shorter romance books. In many, the couples are in bed together within a day or two and married in less than a month. All that seems to count in these stories are the number of sex scenes that can be squeezed in. This fortunately applies in a lesser degree to historical romances, but still some of them progress too fast. In the more sheltered lives of young aristocratic girls in older days, this seems to me an anachronism, unless they were married off early by their parents.
    It’s too bad that manuscripts are bought more for the money they can bring than for what good storytellers can write to give us a different view of our world, ancient or modern. Too bad there’s not more of a balance there.
    P.S. I don’t have Queen Hereafter yet. I have to make up for the time when I could afford only very few books. Unfortunately, some of the ones I couldn’t get are now hard to find. A little hint, Susan?

    Reply
  69. Oddly enough, I was just thinking about ‘time’ while I was reading the latest Karen Robards book Shattered. Your blog here just kept my ideas flowing.
    From reading some plot summaries in various publications online, I realized they and the one in the actual book differed: the name of the heroine was changed from Lisa Shewmaker to Lisa Grant, and her first job as a lawyer was changed from Lexington, KY, near which her mother’s family had a horse farm, to Boston, MA. I’m now wondering whether that was done to give the H & H a back story, though it was rather adversarial. However, I believe the development of their relationship would have been very much too rushed for my taste otherwise. Here it was only a bit too rushed. I sometimes wonder if too many couples get married without knowing each other well enough. Is that one of the causes of so many divorces?
    And yes, I definitely prefer a somewhat more leisurely development of a romance, especially historical romances, certainly more than a week or two. I’ve stopped reading some of the shorter romance books. In many, the couples are in bed together within a day or two and married in less than a month. All that seems to count in these stories are the number of sex scenes that can be squeezed in. This fortunately applies in a lesser degree to historical romances, but still some of them progress too fast. In the more sheltered lives of young aristocratic girls in older days, this seems to me an anachronism, unless they were married off early by their parents.
    It’s too bad that manuscripts are bought more for the money they can bring than for what good storytellers can write to give us a different view of our world, ancient or modern. Too bad there’s not more of a balance there.
    P.S. I don’t have Queen Hereafter yet. I have to make up for the time when I could afford only very few books. Unfortunately, some of the ones I couldn’t get are now hard to find. A little hint, Susan?

    Reply
  70. Oddly enough, I was just thinking about ‘time’ while I was reading the latest Karen Robards book Shattered. Your blog here just kept my ideas flowing.
    From reading some plot summaries in various publications online, I realized they and the one in the actual book differed: the name of the heroine was changed from Lisa Shewmaker to Lisa Grant, and her first job as a lawyer was changed from Lexington, KY, near which her mother’s family had a horse farm, to Boston, MA. I’m now wondering whether that was done to give the H & H a back story, though it was rather adversarial. However, I believe the development of their relationship would have been very much too rushed for my taste otherwise. Here it was only a bit too rushed. I sometimes wonder if too many couples get married without knowing each other well enough. Is that one of the causes of so many divorces?
    And yes, I definitely prefer a somewhat more leisurely development of a romance, especially historical romances, certainly more than a week or two. I’ve stopped reading some of the shorter romance books. In many, the couples are in bed together within a day or two and married in less than a month. All that seems to count in these stories are the number of sex scenes that can be squeezed in. This fortunately applies in a lesser degree to historical romances, but still some of them progress too fast. In the more sheltered lives of young aristocratic girls in older days, this seems to me an anachronism, unless they were married off early by their parents.
    It’s too bad that manuscripts are bought more for the money they can bring than for what good storytellers can write to give us a different view of our world, ancient or modern. Too bad there’s not more of a balance there.
    P.S. I don’t have Queen Hereafter yet. I have to make up for the time when I could afford only very few books. Unfortunately, some of the ones I couldn’t get are now hard to find. A little hint, Susan?

    Reply
  71. I prefer stories that aren’t the simple girl meets boy, they kiss, marry and happily ever after. I want some substance to my books. I have read some great novellas that there is drama packed into the pages, but others that weren’t worth the short period of time it took to read them, just as I have read books that are 300+ pages filled with useless words that are only there to fluff up the size of the book and do absolutely nothing for me as a reader other than force me to skip pages to get where the action is. So it really depends on the author.

    Reply
  72. I prefer stories that aren’t the simple girl meets boy, they kiss, marry and happily ever after. I want some substance to my books. I have read some great novellas that there is drama packed into the pages, but others that weren’t worth the short period of time it took to read them, just as I have read books that are 300+ pages filled with useless words that are only there to fluff up the size of the book and do absolutely nothing for me as a reader other than force me to skip pages to get where the action is. So it really depends on the author.

    Reply
  73. I prefer stories that aren’t the simple girl meets boy, they kiss, marry and happily ever after. I want some substance to my books. I have read some great novellas that there is drama packed into the pages, but others that weren’t worth the short period of time it took to read them, just as I have read books that are 300+ pages filled with useless words that are only there to fluff up the size of the book and do absolutely nothing for me as a reader other than force me to skip pages to get where the action is. So it really depends on the author.

    Reply
  74. I prefer stories that aren’t the simple girl meets boy, they kiss, marry and happily ever after. I want some substance to my books. I have read some great novellas that there is drama packed into the pages, but others that weren’t worth the short period of time it took to read them, just as I have read books that are 300+ pages filled with useless words that are only there to fluff up the size of the book and do absolutely nothing for me as a reader other than force me to skip pages to get where the action is. So it really depends on the author.

    Reply
  75. I prefer stories that aren’t the simple girl meets boy, they kiss, marry and happily ever after. I want some substance to my books. I have read some great novellas that there is drama packed into the pages, but others that weren’t worth the short period of time it took to read them, just as I have read books that are 300+ pages filled with useless words that are only there to fluff up the size of the book and do absolutely nothing for me as a reader other than force me to skip pages to get where the action is. So it really depends on the author.

    Reply
  76. I think the best romances are not the quickest. I like the when the hero and/or heroine have internal conflicts to resolve or growing to do before the HEA becomes possible … and I’m not sure those things can be worked out in a weekend or fortnight.

    Reply
  77. I think the best romances are not the quickest. I like the when the hero and/or heroine have internal conflicts to resolve or growing to do before the HEA becomes possible … and I’m not sure those things can be worked out in a weekend or fortnight.

    Reply
  78. I think the best romances are not the quickest. I like the when the hero and/or heroine have internal conflicts to resolve or growing to do before the HEA becomes possible … and I’m not sure those things can be worked out in a weekend or fortnight.

    Reply
  79. I think the best romances are not the quickest. I like the when the hero and/or heroine have internal conflicts to resolve or growing to do before the HEA becomes possible … and I’m not sure those things can be worked out in a weekend or fortnight.

    Reply
  80. I think the best romances are not the quickest. I like the when the hero and/or heroine have internal conflicts to resolve or growing to do before the HEA becomes possible … and I’m not sure those things can be worked out in a weekend or fortnight.

    Reply

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