I know, I’ve been on this rant for a while. I regularly get teased or worse because my technothriller, Daniel’s Mighty Men (seen to the left), is 666 pages. How can I expect anyone to actually read such a behemoth? But the story required it, it’s compelling, and I’ve had no complaints once people actually read it.
How can anyone be expected to read something so long?
But I found out something interesting today. I was throwing out my complete Clive Cussler, along with my complete Jack de Brul, my Clancy, Thor, Dale Brown, Baldacci, Dan Brown, Rosenberg, De Silva, and the Reacher novels. There were many more authors—probably nearly 100 books, maybe more. I can no longer recommend them now that good Christian fiction is available. In the rather sad process, I noticed that most of them looked hefty.
Genre? Technothrillers, Action/Adventure, political/military thrillers
So, I started looking up page counts in the books. What I discovered might surprise you. I found one (at least) nearly 700 pages, many over 600 pages, a few under 400, and the vast majority were from 500 to 600 pages. An informal average would be 550 to 600 pages.
No wonder I feel so ripped off with the latest crop of sub-300 page novellas. They are barely a snack. I will say that Guy Stanton now apologizes every time he sends me another novella, like in the Western, Action/Adventure, Scifi Romances he is currently releasing as the Wind Drifter series. They do make excellent snacks. I read the latest (#4) last night in about an hour and a half. But they are running 85 to 100 pages. Thankfully, he’s finishing it off as a five volume package. All five together will make a decent novel.
But even then, much of the world-building is shortchanged. There’s little or nothing about governments, economics, customs, and so forth. My suggestion?
Develop these runts into full-fledged books
If you are building a new world, introducing a dozen characters or more, developing world-wide conflict, and so on, how can you possibly do that in 300 pages? Something is going to be short-changed.