Just how long is too long? What about too short? What is a good length?
No. That’s not what I mean—although that is a good question… What I mean is chapter and book length so get your mind out of the gutter. Or at least take me there with you.
Anyway, I’d love to get opinions from the reader’s perspective. Even other authors because, after all, we were readers first and still love to read. But I’m not talking about what we prefer to write—that’s another issue.
I know there are many people who like those big, thick books. The ones that make my head hurt just looking at them. There are people who like long, drawn out chapters. The kinds that make me want to throw a book across the room because I need a break but don’t want to stop reading until I get to the end of the chapter. Now, if there are breaks in the chapter, that’s not so bad. It gives me a breather.
I guess you can tell I don’t prefer long chapters and books. My schedule is so busy I barely have time to squeeze reading in. I’m lucky if I can read a chapter or two a day right now—and those are my beloved short chapters.
Because I don’t get to read much, I want shorter books so it doesn’t take me all freaking year to read just one.
I prefer novellas and short novels between 20,000 and 60,000 words (probably 200 pages or less) but if the story is good enough I might be able to get into something around 100,000 words, although that is rare. I prefer chapters around 2000-3000 words (probably less than 8 or 10 pages).
I like short stories and novelettes sometimes, too, but I don’t really like flash fiction—although I have written some. I want more of a story than that offers so I guess that would be too short for me.
Unfortunately we don’t have a lot of time to spare anymore. So what do you think as a reader? Do you prefer shorter books and chapters or longer ones? What is too short for you and what is too long?
And as for that other question regarding size, I plan to tackle it in another of my Let’s Talk About Sex posts in the future.