Time Flies

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

0002 Susan Sarah here…I love our new rotating schedule! It gives us Wenches more time to get our blogs done, and gives you all more time to read and jump into discussions.
So here I am…with a few thoughts about time.

It’s interesting that we often 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 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 some readers can speed through that story in an afternoon. So there’s the time we take to write them, and the time we take to read them. And there’s the time that the story itself takes, which is where I’m heading today: the time frame covered in the story.

Antique_pocket_watch Romances in general seem to be getting shorter. I’m asked to wind a story up in under 95,000 words now, shorter if possible. Ten years ago my books were around 120,000 words — lots more time (so to speak) to develop the story, so it’s an interesting challenge when the book itself has to be shorter. This is happening more often–paper costs as well as the hours readers realistically have to devote to reading, along with a bit of the fast-food mentality applied to reading. We speed through reading books like we speed through so many things-–speed dial on the phone, drive-throughs, HOV lanes, speed checkout lanes, 15 Items or less; computers are faster, and now that I have wireless internet in my house, if it goes out, I have little patience for the dial-up dinosaur that I thought was so cool only a few years ago.

That subtle shift in society and mindset is affecting fiction and romance too, I think. Many romances, possibly most, that I read lately seem to cover a time frame of a few weeks, even a few days. I know this is sometimes true in my own stories–-there have been times when I’ve told my editor, but it’s only a few days, or under two weeks! That’s okay, she says. That’s good. We don’t want the hero and heroine apart for too long.

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–though I will bet it’s happened many, many times to people who fall in love. Love at first sight, for example, together with a strong conflict–how much time does that fictional couple need to get to a resolution? Not much, really. A fast time frame can add real 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.

Just now I’m revising my December Avon, To Wed A Highland Bride, which has a time frame of about a month. I had to stretch that out–it could have been two weeks, easy. I established an earlier meeting for the hero and heroine, a couple of months prior to the action of the book. Often a previous meeting or encounter years earlier can help set up a conflict and an attraction that will ignite and carry through the rest of the book. For this particular book, the story didn’t need a long time frame, and that helps focus the lens of the romance, that hyper-focus that centers on the H & H.

True, 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 flies in lots of romance. The technique works better with some storylines than others, of course, such as love at first sight. What a short time frame needs, besides an intense, passionate attraction–-real chemistry at work between two potential lovers–is intense conflict to balance that potential happiness. We love romance, but happiness is boring. Give us contrast, challenges surmounted, impossibilies conquered! And then we can have happiness.

What’s also interesting, I think, is that often a romance author does not make that time frame clear. The ticking clock that works so well in other genres-–mystery, romantic suspense, thriller and horror, for example–isn’t essential in the main plot of a romance. Yet a bit of ticking-clock tension helps give the conflict some added fuel and helps keep the story moving along toward an exciting, adventurous, passionate, satisfying conclusion. But where a thriller author will make sure you see that clock, even noting it scene by scene, sometimes blurring it in romance works best.

Illuminated_manuscript_2 A sense of the passing calendar can distract the reader, or give attention to a non-essential part of the story. The thrust (ahem) of the story is the romance, and the process and stages of falling in love and overcoming great odds to do so, whether it’s on the dramatic, paranormal, or humorous side. And partly we don’t wave that clock or calendar around in historical romance because…well, it can be a bit of a stretch to accept that a couple could meet, be thrown together in sometimes extraordinary and at the least challenging circumstances, while at odds with one another over some key conflicts..and for that couple to fall into each other’s arms, fall into bed, fall in love while resolving said conflicts…and all, often, in a week or two of the real time of the story.
But that’s the fun of it–that speed, that heady rush, that delirious experience of falling in love and conquering the odds, climbing that virtual personal mountain, to get there.

I also write mainstream historical fiction, where the time frame is just the opposite. A story may cover several years, decades, even a lifetime for the main character. The writer has to cover long lengths of time, with some events seen so close up that they encompass whole chapters, and others covered in a few sentences. It’s a delicate balance. The reader could fall asleep, or feel bored, or simply put the book down and not come back. Even while covering forty years, that story has to keep moving at a good clip. And often, the writer has a page length similar to romance; my first mainstream fiction came in at a little over 100,000 words, and covered decades.

But, time being what it is, constantly rolling forward (though there is that concentric theory, everything happens at once, and sometimes it feels that way…) –I have to get back to my revisions!!

What do you all think of the shorter time frames in historical romance novels now, and the fast pace of the shorter books that we are seeing more often in the genre?  How do you feel about larger historical novels that cover great gobs of time – do you lose interest, do you feel satisfied or not, do you stick with it or let it gather dust? Or do you notice one way or the other?

~Susan Sarah

Towedahighlandbride_crop_2 p.s. The final cover isn’t finished yet for my next Sarah Gabriel novel, To Wed A Highland Bride, and I’ll show you that as soon as it’s ready…but here’s a wee peek at what promises to be a gorgeous cover!

60 thoughts on “Time Flies”

  1. I just finished something that felt very rushed. As you did, the author had the couple meeting again after some time elapsed, but they fell in love and got married without much ado. Of course, the author killed him off, so that was the reason for the non-build-up. Why waste time getting attached to the guy when he’s going to die anyway?
    I have noticed books are shorter. If uninterrupted I can probably finish most in a couple of hours. Now that I write myself, I’m mindful of the zillions of hours I’ve labored to get things just right—all for maybe giving someone an afternoon’s pleasure while it’s been pain and suffering for me!
    I love the meaty, multi-year generational sagas of days of yore. I think they’re probably handled now as connected books, and friends/spies/brothers just live through one generation, lasting, as you said, for 3 weeks, LOL!

    Reply
  2. I just finished something that felt very rushed. As you did, the author had the couple meeting again after some time elapsed, but they fell in love and got married without much ado. Of course, the author killed him off, so that was the reason for the non-build-up. Why waste time getting attached to the guy when he’s going to die anyway?
    I have noticed books are shorter. If uninterrupted I can probably finish most in a couple of hours. Now that I write myself, I’m mindful of the zillions of hours I’ve labored to get things just right—all for maybe giving someone an afternoon’s pleasure while it’s been pain and suffering for me!
    I love the meaty, multi-year generational sagas of days of yore. I think they’re probably handled now as connected books, and friends/spies/brothers just live through one generation, lasting, as you said, for 3 weeks, LOL!

    Reply
  3. I just finished something that felt very rushed. As you did, the author had the couple meeting again after some time elapsed, but they fell in love and got married without much ado. Of course, the author killed him off, so that was the reason for the non-build-up. Why waste time getting attached to the guy when he’s going to die anyway?
    I have noticed books are shorter. If uninterrupted I can probably finish most in a couple of hours. Now that I write myself, I’m mindful of the zillions of hours I’ve labored to get things just right—all for maybe giving someone an afternoon’s pleasure while it’s been pain and suffering for me!
    I love the meaty, multi-year generational sagas of days of yore. I think they’re probably handled now as connected books, and friends/spies/brothers just live through one generation, lasting, as you said, for 3 weeks, LOL!

    Reply
  4. I just finished something that felt very rushed. As you did, the author had the couple meeting again after some time elapsed, but they fell in love and got married without much ado. Of course, the author killed him off, so that was the reason for the non-build-up. Why waste time getting attached to the guy when he’s going to die anyway?
    I have noticed books are shorter. If uninterrupted I can probably finish most in a couple of hours. Now that I write myself, I’m mindful of the zillions of hours I’ve labored to get things just right—all for maybe giving someone an afternoon’s pleasure while it’s been pain and suffering for me!
    I love the meaty, multi-year generational sagas of days of yore. I think they’re probably handled now as connected books, and friends/spies/brothers just live through one generation, lasting, as you said, for 3 weeks, LOL!

    Reply
  5. Susan/Sarah, this is a timely blog for me. (Sorry–a bad pun I know, but I have a weakness for them.) I spent a full class period yesterday talking about why Eudora Welty takes nearly 450 pages to cover about thirty hours. Of course, within the thirty hours, through the use of memory and family storytelling, she covers four generations. I was reminded as I was rereading my favorite Welty novel of how much I love the depth that comes with a long book and how rare long books have become in my leisure reading.
    Maggie has given me something to ponder in her comments about linked books. Perhaps part of my devotion to linked stories is a hunger for those longer, more richly detailed books that are missing from bookshelves today.
    I think the effects of shorter-word limits imposed on stories may be seen most frequently in rushed endings. Too many times to count within the past year or so, I have finished a book that I mostly loved but which left me feeling cheated because the ending felt so rushed.
    I apologize for this disjointed post; I am responding between student conferences.

    Reply
  6. Susan/Sarah, this is a timely blog for me. (Sorry–a bad pun I know, but I have a weakness for them.) I spent a full class period yesterday talking about why Eudora Welty takes nearly 450 pages to cover about thirty hours. Of course, within the thirty hours, through the use of memory and family storytelling, she covers four generations. I was reminded as I was rereading my favorite Welty novel of how much I love the depth that comes with a long book and how rare long books have become in my leisure reading.
    Maggie has given me something to ponder in her comments about linked books. Perhaps part of my devotion to linked stories is a hunger for those longer, more richly detailed books that are missing from bookshelves today.
    I think the effects of shorter-word limits imposed on stories may be seen most frequently in rushed endings. Too many times to count within the past year or so, I have finished a book that I mostly loved but which left me feeling cheated because the ending felt so rushed.
    I apologize for this disjointed post; I am responding between student conferences.

    Reply
  7. Susan/Sarah, this is a timely blog for me. (Sorry–a bad pun I know, but I have a weakness for them.) I spent a full class period yesterday talking about why Eudora Welty takes nearly 450 pages to cover about thirty hours. Of course, within the thirty hours, through the use of memory and family storytelling, she covers four generations. I was reminded as I was rereading my favorite Welty novel of how much I love the depth that comes with a long book and how rare long books have become in my leisure reading.
    Maggie has given me something to ponder in her comments about linked books. Perhaps part of my devotion to linked stories is a hunger for those longer, more richly detailed books that are missing from bookshelves today.
    I think the effects of shorter-word limits imposed on stories may be seen most frequently in rushed endings. Too many times to count within the past year or so, I have finished a book that I mostly loved but which left me feeling cheated because the ending felt so rushed.
    I apologize for this disjointed post; I am responding between student conferences.

    Reply
  8. Susan/Sarah, this is a timely blog for me. (Sorry–a bad pun I know, but I have a weakness for them.) I spent a full class period yesterday talking about why Eudora Welty takes nearly 450 pages to cover about thirty hours. Of course, within the thirty hours, through the use of memory and family storytelling, she covers four generations. I was reminded as I was rereading my favorite Welty novel of how much I love the depth that comes with a long book and how rare long books have become in my leisure reading.
    Maggie has given me something to ponder in her comments about linked books. Perhaps part of my devotion to linked stories is a hunger for those longer, more richly detailed books that are missing from bookshelves today.
    I think the effects of shorter-word limits imposed on stories may be seen most frequently in rushed endings. Too many times to count within the past year or so, I have finished a book that I mostly loved but which left me feeling cheated because the ending felt so rushed.
    I apologize for this disjointed post; I am responding between student conferences.

    Reply
  9. “What’s also interesting, I think, is that often a romance author does not make that time frame clear.”
    This is so funny. I didn’t really think of it this way before you pointed it out, but I went to the other extreme. Each chapter in my first book is headed by a dated gossip column (yes, I had to make a spreadsheet, LOL!). You know exactly what the time frame of the novel is (5 months).
    I do notice when the time frame seems too tight, but then I remember my grandparents, who married after knowing each other a grand total of 2 weeks (and were happy together for 50+ years before grandpa passed). So I know this kind of thing DOES happen. Tons of couples say the KNEW almost from the moment they met that THE WAS THE ONE.

    Reply
  10. “What’s also interesting, I think, is that often a romance author does not make that time frame clear.”
    This is so funny. I didn’t really think of it this way before you pointed it out, but I went to the other extreme. Each chapter in my first book is headed by a dated gossip column (yes, I had to make a spreadsheet, LOL!). You know exactly what the time frame of the novel is (5 months).
    I do notice when the time frame seems too tight, but then I remember my grandparents, who married after knowing each other a grand total of 2 weeks (and were happy together for 50+ years before grandpa passed). So I know this kind of thing DOES happen. Tons of couples say the KNEW almost from the moment they met that THE WAS THE ONE.

    Reply
  11. “What’s also interesting, I think, is that often a romance author does not make that time frame clear.”
    This is so funny. I didn’t really think of it this way before you pointed it out, but I went to the other extreme. Each chapter in my first book is headed by a dated gossip column (yes, I had to make a spreadsheet, LOL!). You know exactly what the time frame of the novel is (5 months).
    I do notice when the time frame seems too tight, but then I remember my grandparents, who married after knowing each other a grand total of 2 weeks (and were happy together for 50+ years before grandpa passed). So I know this kind of thing DOES happen. Tons of couples say the KNEW almost from the moment they met that THE WAS THE ONE.

    Reply
  12. “What’s also interesting, I think, is that often a romance author does not make that time frame clear.”
    This is so funny. I didn’t really think of it this way before you pointed it out, but I went to the other extreme. Each chapter in my first book is headed by a dated gossip column (yes, I had to make a spreadsheet, LOL!). You know exactly what the time frame of the novel is (5 months).
    I do notice when the time frame seems too tight, but then I remember my grandparents, who married after knowing each other a grand total of 2 weeks (and were happy together for 50+ years before grandpa passed). So I know this kind of thing DOES happen. Tons of couples say the KNEW almost from the moment they met that THE WAS THE ONE.

    Reply
  13. Maggie said…”Now that I write myself, I’m mindful of the zillions of hours I’ve labored to get things just right—all for maybe giving someone an afternoon’s pleasure…”
    With you on that one, Maggie! I don’t want to think about the number of hours I’ve put into mine.
    On love at first sight… if we can fall out of love in a moment, why can’t we fall in in an instant? If the hero and heroine aren’t in love by mid-book (that doesn’t mean in bed), I’m done. I have no tolerance for pussy-footing around. I think that’s because I make quick decisions and expect the main characters to have enough wits about them to do the same.
    As for the time span of a book… when the story is done well, I’m not sure I notice. What I do notice, as Janga pointed out, is rushed endings. I feel so cheated when that happens. Personally, I like my endings to end either in bed or in the after-glow. Mary Jo’s short story in DRAGON LOVERS is the best I’ve read in a while. Fantastic!
    Nina, really liking HIGHLAND BRIDE’s cover

    Reply
  14. Maggie said…”Now that I write myself, I’m mindful of the zillions of hours I’ve labored to get things just right—all for maybe giving someone an afternoon’s pleasure…”
    With you on that one, Maggie! I don’t want to think about the number of hours I’ve put into mine.
    On love at first sight… if we can fall out of love in a moment, why can’t we fall in in an instant? If the hero and heroine aren’t in love by mid-book (that doesn’t mean in bed), I’m done. I have no tolerance for pussy-footing around. I think that’s because I make quick decisions and expect the main characters to have enough wits about them to do the same.
    As for the time span of a book… when the story is done well, I’m not sure I notice. What I do notice, as Janga pointed out, is rushed endings. I feel so cheated when that happens. Personally, I like my endings to end either in bed or in the after-glow. Mary Jo’s short story in DRAGON LOVERS is the best I’ve read in a while. Fantastic!
    Nina, really liking HIGHLAND BRIDE’s cover

    Reply
  15. Maggie said…”Now that I write myself, I’m mindful of the zillions of hours I’ve labored to get things just right—all for maybe giving someone an afternoon’s pleasure…”
    With you on that one, Maggie! I don’t want to think about the number of hours I’ve put into mine.
    On love at first sight… if we can fall out of love in a moment, why can’t we fall in in an instant? If the hero and heroine aren’t in love by mid-book (that doesn’t mean in bed), I’m done. I have no tolerance for pussy-footing around. I think that’s because I make quick decisions and expect the main characters to have enough wits about them to do the same.
    As for the time span of a book… when the story is done well, I’m not sure I notice. What I do notice, as Janga pointed out, is rushed endings. I feel so cheated when that happens. Personally, I like my endings to end either in bed or in the after-glow. Mary Jo’s short story in DRAGON LOVERS is the best I’ve read in a while. Fantastic!
    Nina, really liking HIGHLAND BRIDE’s cover

    Reply
  16. Maggie said…”Now that I write myself, I’m mindful of the zillions of hours I’ve labored to get things just right—all for maybe giving someone an afternoon’s pleasure…”
    With you on that one, Maggie! I don’t want to think about the number of hours I’ve put into mine.
    On love at first sight… if we can fall out of love in a moment, why can’t we fall in in an instant? If the hero and heroine aren’t in love by mid-book (that doesn’t mean in bed), I’m done. I have no tolerance for pussy-footing around. I think that’s because I make quick decisions and expect the main characters to have enough wits about them to do the same.
    As for the time span of a book… when the story is done well, I’m not sure I notice. What I do notice, as Janga pointed out, is rushed endings. I feel so cheated when that happens. Personally, I like my endings to end either in bed or in the after-glow. Mary Jo’s short story in DRAGON LOVERS is the best I’ve read in a while. Fantastic!
    Nina, really liking HIGHLAND BRIDE’s cover

    Reply
  17. Frankly, I do miss the longer, meatier books and the ones that cover longer time frames. Nothing against the whirlwind courtship stories, but since it’s not the only way to fall in love, why does it have to be the only one we get to read about nowadays?
    I love ongoing series with the same characters–anything from THE PRINCESS DIARIES to the Anne of Green Gables series to Sharpe and Aubrey/Maturin. That way I get the satisfaction of following the same character or characters for years and years, really getting to know them well, but each individual book is short enough to polish off in a day or two of my busy life. (With YA like THE PRINCESS DIARIES, a few hours.) But linked romance series aren’t the same for me because with each book I have to get to know new protagonists, and it doesn’t feel like one long episodic story.
    Anyway, while you really couldn’t have a romance that covers 20 volumes, I do wish they could be a little longer, both in length and scope. Often I feel like I barely know the characters by the time I reach the last page.

    Reply
  18. Frankly, I do miss the longer, meatier books and the ones that cover longer time frames. Nothing against the whirlwind courtship stories, but since it’s not the only way to fall in love, why does it have to be the only one we get to read about nowadays?
    I love ongoing series with the same characters–anything from THE PRINCESS DIARIES to the Anne of Green Gables series to Sharpe and Aubrey/Maturin. That way I get the satisfaction of following the same character or characters for years and years, really getting to know them well, but each individual book is short enough to polish off in a day or two of my busy life. (With YA like THE PRINCESS DIARIES, a few hours.) But linked romance series aren’t the same for me because with each book I have to get to know new protagonists, and it doesn’t feel like one long episodic story.
    Anyway, while you really couldn’t have a romance that covers 20 volumes, I do wish they could be a little longer, both in length and scope. Often I feel like I barely know the characters by the time I reach the last page.

    Reply
  19. Frankly, I do miss the longer, meatier books and the ones that cover longer time frames. Nothing against the whirlwind courtship stories, but since it’s not the only way to fall in love, why does it have to be the only one we get to read about nowadays?
    I love ongoing series with the same characters–anything from THE PRINCESS DIARIES to the Anne of Green Gables series to Sharpe and Aubrey/Maturin. That way I get the satisfaction of following the same character or characters for years and years, really getting to know them well, but each individual book is short enough to polish off in a day or two of my busy life. (With YA like THE PRINCESS DIARIES, a few hours.) But linked romance series aren’t the same for me because with each book I have to get to know new protagonists, and it doesn’t feel like one long episodic story.
    Anyway, while you really couldn’t have a romance that covers 20 volumes, I do wish they could be a little longer, both in length and scope. Often I feel like I barely know the characters by the time I reach the last page.

    Reply
  20. Frankly, I do miss the longer, meatier books and the ones that cover longer time frames. Nothing against the whirlwind courtship stories, but since it’s not the only way to fall in love, why does it have to be the only one we get to read about nowadays?
    I love ongoing series with the same characters–anything from THE PRINCESS DIARIES to the Anne of Green Gables series to Sharpe and Aubrey/Maturin. That way I get the satisfaction of following the same character or characters for years and years, really getting to know them well, but each individual book is short enough to polish off in a day or two of my busy life. (With YA like THE PRINCESS DIARIES, a few hours.) But linked romance series aren’t the same for me because with each book I have to get to know new protagonists, and it doesn’t feel like one long episodic story.
    Anyway, while you really couldn’t have a romance that covers 20 volumes, I do wish they could be a little longer, both in length and scope. Often I feel like I barely know the characters by the time I reach the last page.

    Reply
  21. I’ve noticed that authors that I might have started reading a couple books ago or looked for their backlists that older ones are thicker than the newer ones. If it’s writen well, then sure I don’t feel cheated, but I’m not a person who feels that they need to be shorter.
    I figure that publishers might be doing it because either they figure people aren’t willing to put the time in a longer book due to lifestyles or people as a whole, you figure people have shorter attention spans nowadays. But whether that’s correct or not, it seems strange, because I would think if a person’s going to pick up a book, they aren’t going to care how long it might be. It sure looks like kids don’t mind that those Harry Potter books seem a bit thick. LOL
    Lois

    Reply
  22. I’ve noticed that authors that I might have started reading a couple books ago or looked for their backlists that older ones are thicker than the newer ones. If it’s writen well, then sure I don’t feel cheated, but I’m not a person who feels that they need to be shorter.
    I figure that publishers might be doing it because either they figure people aren’t willing to put the time in a longer book due to lifestyles or people as a whole, you figure people have shorter attention spans nowadays. But whether that’s correct or not, it seems strange, because I would think if a person’s going to pick up a book, they aren’t going to care how long it might be. It sure looks like kids don’t mind that those Harry Potter books seem a bit thick. LOL
    Lois

    Reply
  23. I’ve noticed that authors that I might have started reading a couple books ago or looked for their backlists that older ones are thicker than the newer ones. If it’s writen well, then sure I don’t feel cheated, but I’m not a person who feels that they need to be shorter.
    I figure that publishers might be doing it because either they figure people aren’t willing to put the time in a longer book due to lifestyles or people as a whole, you figure people have shorter attention spans nowadays. But whether that’s correct or not, it seems strange, because I would think if a person’s going to pick up a book, they aren’t going to care how long it might be. It sure looks like kids don’t mind that those Harry Potter books seem a bit thick. LOL
    Lois

    Reply
  24. I’ve noticed that authors that I might have started reading a couple books ago or looked for their backlists that older ones are thicker than the newer ones. If it’s writen well, then sure I don’t feel cheated, but I’m not a person who feels that they need to be shorter.
    I figure that publishers might be doing it because either they figure people aren’t willing to put the time in a longer book due to lifestyles or people as a whole, you figure people have shorter attention spans nowadays. But whether that’s correct or not, it seems strange, because I would think if a person’s going to pick up a book, they aren’t going to care how long it might be. It sure looks like kids don’t mind that those Harry Potter books seem a bit thick. LOL
    Lois

    Reply
  25. “Maggie has given me something to ponder in her comments about linked books. Perhaps part of my devotion to linked stories is a hunger for those longer, more richly detailed books that are missing from bookshelves today.”
    Good observation, Janga. I wonder if that explains the popularity of the trilogy with the books coming out close together. That’s close to one big book.
    Next step episodic, where the first two volumes don’t tie up any part of the story?
    Jo

    Reply
  26. “Maggie has given me something to ponder in her comments about linked books. Perhaps part of my devotion to linked stories is a hunger for those longer, more richly detailed books that are missing from bookshelves today.”
    Good observation, Janga. I wonder if that explains the popularity of the trilogy with the books coming out close together. That’s close to one big book.
    Next step episodic, where the first two volumes don’t tie up any part of the story?
    Jo

    Reply
  27. “Maggie has given me something to ponder in her comments about linked books. Perhaps part of my devotion to linked stories is a hunger for those longer, more richly detailed books that are missing from bookshelves today.”
    Good observation, Janga. I wonder if that explains the popularity of the trilogy with the books coming out close together. That’s close to one big book.
    Next step episodic, where the first two volumes don’t tie up any part of the story?
    Jo

    Reply
  28. “Maggie has given me something to ponder in her comments about linked books. Perhaps part of my devotion to linked stories is a hunger for those longer, more richly detailed books that are missing from bookshelves today.”
    Good observation, Janga. I wonder if that explains the popularity of the trilogy with the books coming out close together. That’s close to one big book.
    Next step episodic, where the first two volumes don’t tie up any part of the story?
    Jo

    Reply
  29. Colleen Gleason is doing this with The Rest Falls Away and the 4 more books planned in the series. I know people were surprised that everything was not all tied up nice and neatly and objected that the book was categorized as a “romance.” I find the episodic idea intriguing. However I’m so impatient I’d rather have the books released more quickly, like Nora Roberts did with the Circle trilogy. At my age my memory is going. What am I saying? It’s gone!

    Reply
  30. Colleen Gleason is doing this with The Rest Falls Away and the 4 more books planned in the series. I know people were surprised that everything was not all tied up nice and neatly and objected that the book was categorized as a “romance.” I find the episodic idea intriguing. However I’m so impatient I’d rather have the books released more quickly, like Nora Roberts did with the Circle trilogy. At my age my memory is going. What am I saying? It’s gone!

    Reply
  31. Colleen Gleason is doing this with The Rest Falls Away and the 4 more books planned in the series. I know people were surprised that everything was not all tied up nice and neatly and objected that the book was categorized as a “romance.” I find the episodic idea intriguing. However I’m so impatient I’d rather have the books released more quickly, like Nora Roberts did with the Circle trilogy. At my age my memory is going. What am I saying? It’s gone!

    Reply
  32. Colleen Gleason is doing this with The Rest Falls Away and the 4 more books planned in the series. I know people were surprised that everything was not all tied up nice and neatly and objected that the book was categorized as a “romance.” I find the episodic idea intriguing. However I’m so impatient I’d rather have the books released more quickly, like Nora Roberts did with the Circle trilogy. At my age my memory is going. What am I saying? It’s gone!

    Reply
  33. I suspect that most romance readers want some sense of closure at the end of a book. Big Fat Fantasy series can run more or less forever without reaching much in the way of conclusions, but that’s exactly the reason some readers cite for avoiding such series.
    But it’s certainly possible to have a series where where a major relationship is resolved but there are continuing plot elements to work on in future books.
    Mary Jo, intrigued by the idea that linked series are a successor to big fat sagas

    Reply
  34. I suspect that most romance readers want some sense of closure at the end of a book. Big Fat Fantasy series can run more or less forever without reaching much in the way of conclusions, but that’s exactly the reason some readers cite for avoiding such series.
    But it’s certainly possible to have a series where where a major relationship is resolved but there are continuing plot elements to work on in future books.
    Mary Jo, intrigued by the idea that linked series are a successor to big fat sagas

    Reply
  35. I suspect that most romance readers want some sense of closure at the end of a book. Big Fat Fantasy series can run more or less forever without reaching much in the way of conclusions, but that’s exactly the reason some readers cite for avoiding such series.
    But it’s certainly possible to have a series where where a major relationship is resolved but there are continuing plot elements to work on in future books.
    Mary Jo, intrigued by the idea that linked series are a successor to big fat sagas

    Reply
  36. I suspect that most romance readers want some sense of closure at the end of a book. Big Fat Fantasy series can run more or less forever without reaching much in the way of conclusions, but that’s exactly the reason some readers cite for avoiding such series.
    But it’s certainly possible to have a series where where a major relationship is resolved but there are continuing plot elements to work on in future books.
    Mary Jo, intrigued by the idea that linked series are a successor to big fat sagas

    Reply
  37. Wow, this explains a lot. Over the past few years I have noticed a distinct gallop towards the end of a book. No real peripheral information and the initial meeting, courtship, sex and marriage between periods (so to speak). Convenient for the pre marital pregnancy but not very realistic! I like action to happen over a few months or years. That’s why I also love the series like the Mallorens, Rogues, Bedwyns and Cynsters (to name a few). That way you see your favourites through the years and can watch their progress.

    Reply
  38. Wow, this explains a lot. Over the past few years I have noticed a distinct gallop towards the end of a book. No real peripheral information and the initial meeting, courtship, sex and marriage between periods (so to speak). Convenient for the pre marital pregnancy but not very realistic! I like action to happen over a few months or years. That’s why I also love the series like the Mallorens, Rogues, Bedwyns and Cynsters (to name a few). That way you see your favourites through the years and can watch their progress.

    Reply
  39. Wow, this explains a lot. Over the past few years I have noticed a distinct gallop towards the end of a book. No real peripheral information and the initial meeting, courtship, sex and marriage between periods (so to speak). Convenient for the pre marital pregnancy but not very realistic! I like action to happen over a few months or years. That’s why I also love the series like the Mallorens, Rogues, Bedwyns and Cynsters (to name a few). That way you see your favourites through the years and can watch their progress.

    Reply
  40. Wow, this explains a lot. Over the past few years I have noticed a distinct gallop towards the end of a book. No real peripheral information and the initial meeting, courtship, sex and marriage between periods (so to speak). Convenient for the pre marital pregnancy but not very realistic! I like action to happen over a few months or years. That’s why I also love the series like the Mallorens, Rogues, Bedwyns and Cynsters (to name a few). That way you see your favourites through the years and can watch their progress.

    Reply
  41. I’m all for the larger historical novels that cover great gobs of time. I’ve always looked for and bought the thicker books. I want to know the characters better and I like the subplots. I’ve heard some readers talk about how many books they read in a month as if it’s a race to get through as many as you can. I know they are the shorter books with not much to the story. I would rather read less books that get me more involved in the their lives. Needless to say, Gone With the Wind is my favorite romance novel.

    Reply
  42. I’m all for the larger historical novels that cover great gobs of time. I’ve always looked for and bought the thicker books. I want to know the characters better and I like the subplots. I’ve heard some readers talk about how many books they read in a month as if it’s a race to get through as many as you can. I know they are the shorter books with not much to the story. I would rather read less books that get me more involved in the their lives. Needless to say, Gone With the Wind is my favorite romance novel.

    Reply
  43. I’m all for the larger historical novels that cover great gobs of time. I’ve always looked for and bought the thicker books. I want to know the characters better and I like the subplots. I’ve heard some readers talk about how many books they read in a month as if it’s a race to get through as many as you can. I know they are the shorter books with not much to the story. I would rather read less books that get me more involved in the their lives. Needless to say, Gone With the Wind is my favorite romance novel.

    Reply
  44. I’m all for the larger historical novels that cover great gobs of time. I’ve always looked for and bought the thicker books. I want to know the characters better and I like the subplots. I’ve heard some readers talk about how many books they read in a month as if it’s a race to get through as many as you can. I know they are the shorter books with not much to the story. I would rather read less books that get me more involved in the their lives. Needless to say, Gone With the Wind is my favorite romance novel.

    Reply
  45. I love bigger, more detailed books and initially bought Diana Gabaldon because of it. I think part of the reason books are getting shorter is the price of the books. The cost keeps going up but it manages to stay closer to the current level if the book is smaller. I notice that certain authors, E.G. Nora Roberts, are always a step higher than less popular ones. I guess the publishers think that once you’ve bitten the bullet to buy her latest at a higher price you won’t scream as much when ALL books are more expensive.

    Reply
  46. I love bigger, more detailed books and initially bought Diana Gabaldon because of it. I think part of the reason books are getting shorter is the price of the books. The cost keeps going up but it manages to stay closer to the current level if the book is smaller. I notice that certain authors, E.G. Nora Roberts, are always a step higher than less popular ones. I guess the publishers think that once you’ve bitten the bullet to buy her latest at a higher price you won’t scream as much when ALL books are more expensive.

    Reply
  47. I love bigger, more detailed books and initially bought Diana Gabaldon because of it. I think part of the reason books are getting shorter is the price of the books. The cost keeps going up but it manages to stay closer to the current level if the book is smaller. I notice that certain authors, E.G. Nora Roberts, are always a step higher than less popular ones. I guess the publishers think that once you’ve bitten the bullet to buy her latest at a higher price you won’t scream as much when ALL books are more expensive.

    Reply
  48. I love bigger, more detailed books and initially bought Diana Gabaldon because of it. I think part of the reason books are getting shorter is the price of the books. The cost keeps going up but it manages to stay closer to the current level if the book is smaller. I notice that certain authors, E.G. Nora Roberts, are always a step higher than less popular ones. I guess the publishers think that once you’ve bitten the bullet to buy her latest at a higher price you won’t scream as much when ALL books are more expensive.

    Reply
  49. Interesting that so many of us here tend to prefer longer reads to shorter ones, given our druthers. I’ve always preferred the immersion of a bigger book and bigger story.
    Though now that I’m writing shorter historical romance, I’m seeing the merits there too. With less time to read than before, I can finish a shorter book, while the longer ones might be set aside with no guarantee when I’ll be back. With a thousand things on my mind sometimes, a less complicated story is a relief and a great escape.
    I’m writing a bit lighter in my Avon books, too, and I love the freedom of adding more humor for the characters and situations, which, for my stories, anyway, is a good fit for the shorter format.
    I’m also learning to be more economical in my writing….
    Generally speaking — paper, production, shipping costs (gasoline prices!) are affecting book prices. To keep readers buying books, there have to be fewer pages. That means manuscripts have shorter word counts. A shorter book benefits from a more focused plot, less detail, less description, less story layers–dominoes, trickle-down, things change.
    Also, some very interesting thoughts on trilogies, series, and continuing plots as a way to offer the longer stories! I think you’re right about that.
    Have a lovely holiday weekend, for those who are holiday-ing this Easter!
    ~Susan Sarah

    Reply
  50. Interesting that so many of us here tend to prefer longer reads to shorter ones, given our druthers. I’ve always preferred the immersion of a bigger book and bigger story.
    Though now that I’m writing shorter historical romance, I’m seeing the merits there too. With less time to read than before, I can finish a shorter book, while the longer ones might be set aside with no guarantee when I’ll be back. With a thousand things on my mind sometimes, a less complicated story is a relief and a great escape.
    I’m writing a bit lighter in my Avon books, too, and I love the freedom of adding more humor for the characters and situations, which, for my stories, anyway, is a good fit for the shorter format.
    I’m also learning to be more economical in my writing….
    Generally speaking — paper, production, shipping costs (gasoline prices!) are affecting book prices. To keep readers buying books, there have to be fewer pages. That means manuscripts have shorter word counts. A shorter book benefits from a more focused plot, less detail, less description, less story layers–dominoes, trickle-down, things change.
    Also, some very interesting thoughts on trilogies, series, and continuing plots as a way to offer the longer stories! I think you’re right about that.
    Have a lovely holiday weekend, for those who are holiday-ing this Easter!
    ~Susan Sarah

    Reply
  51. Interesting that so many of us here tend to prefer longer reads to shorter ones, given our druthers. I’ve always preferred the immersion of a bigger book and bigger story.
    Though now that I’m writing shorter historical romance, I’m seeing the merits there too. With less time to read than before, I can finish a shorter book, while the longer ones might be set aside with no guarantee when I’ll be back. With a thousand things on my mind sometimes, a less complicated story is a relief and a great escape.
    I’m writing a bit lighter in my Avon books, too, and I love the freedom of adding more humor for the characters and situations, which, for my stories, anyway, is a good fit for the shorter format.
    I’m also learning to be more economical in my writing….
    Generally speaking — paper, production, shipping costs (gasoline prices!) are affecting book prices. To keep readers buying books, there have to be fewer pages. That means manuscripts have shorter word counts. A shorter book benefits from a more focused plot, less detail, less description, less story layers–dominoes, trickle-down, things change.
    Also, some very interesting thoughts on trilogies, series, and continuing plots as a way to offer the longer stories! I think you’re right about that.
    Have a lovely holiday weekend, for those who are holiday-ing this Easter!
    ~Susan Sarah

    Reply
  52. Interesting that so many of us here tend to prefer longer reads to shorter ones, given our druthers. I’ve always preferred the immersion of a bigger book and bigger story.
    Though now that I’m writing shorter historical romance, I’m seeing the merits there too. With less time to read than before, I can finish a shorter book, while the longer ones might be set aside with no guarantee when I’ll be back. With a thousand things on my mind sometimes, a less complicated story is a relief and a great escape.
    I’m writing a bit lighter in my Avon books, too, and I love the freedom of adding more humor for the characters and situations, which, for my stories, anyway, is a good fit for the shorter format.
    I’m also learning to be more economical in my writing….
    Generally speaking — paper, production, shipping costs (gasoline prices!) are affecting book prices. To keep readers buying books, there have to be fewer pages. That means manuscripts have shorter word counts. A shorter book benefits from a more focused plot, less detail, less description, less story layers–dominoes, trickle-down, things change.
    Also, some very interesting thoughts on trilogies, series, and continuing plots as a way to offer the longer stories! I think you’re right about that.
    Have a lovely holiday weekend, for those who are holiday-ing this Easter!
    ~Susan Sarah

    Reply
  53. If it’s a good book I don’t want it to end. The longer, the better!
    A short time frame can make sense, but usually I prefer something a bit more drawn out to get the maximum amount of drama out of it. If the protagonists meet and fall in love immediately in chapter one, you do wonder how the author is going to drag it out over even 100 pages, and why should we care?
    Is it possible to have a couple madly in love that DO NOT get married by special license? I am very tired of this device. If it appears in so many books it can hardly be called “special” anymore can it?

    Reply
  54. If it’s a good book I don’t want it to end. The longer, the better!
    A short time frame can make sense, but usually I prefer something a bit more drawn out to get the maximum amount of drama out of it. If the protagonists meet and fall in love immediately in chapter one, you do wonder how the author is going to drag it out over even 100 pages, and why should we care?
    Is it possible to have a couple madly in love that DO NOT get married by special license? I am very tired of this device. If it appears in so many books it can hardly be called “special” anymore can it?

    Reply
  55. If it’s a good book I don’t want it to end. The longer, the better!
    A short time frame can make sense, but usually I prefer something a bit more drawn out to get the maximum amount of drama out of it. If the protagonists meet and fall in love immediately in chapter one, you do wonder how the author is going to drag it out over even 100 pages, and why should we care?
    Is it possible to have a couple madly in love that DO NOT get married by special license? I am very tired of this device. If it appears in so many books it can hardly be called “special” anymore can it?

    Reply
  56. If it’s a good book I don’t want it to end. The longer, the better!
    A short time frame can make sense, but usually I prefer something a bit more drawn out to get the maximum amount of drama out of it. If the protagonists meet and fall in love immediately in chapter one, you do wonder how the author is going to drag it out over even 100 pages, and why should we care?
    Is it possible to have a couple madly in love that DO NOT get married by special license? I am very tired of this device. If it appears in so many books it can hardly be called “special” anymore can it?

    Reply

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