May 28, 2017, 01:20:42 PM

Author Topic: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels  (Read 115212 times)

Offline deejrandom

Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #30 on: July 07, 2011, 07:32:05 AM »
I love big epic books with many volumes and massive word counts.  However I've recently started to realize the fact that I like short books too - ones I Don't have to take a month to read.   I also like books that take place in the same setting but may not necessarily be a sequel/prequel to one another.  I Dunno - maybe I've just been reading to many epic fantasies lately. I won't stop reading 'em but I do like having a bit more variety in book length. 

Offline James Barclay

Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #31 on: July 07, 2011, 11:07:05 AM »
The word count debate will rage on but I think an important point has been made in that the quality has to be there to support a high count. For instance I could have read double the count in 'The Name of the Wind', such was the quality of the prose and the nature of the plot and characters. I think the backlash, if there is one, will come against new authors trying to sell massive doorstep novels as a first go. I encountered this when trying to sell the Ascendants series in the US - though publishers were warm to it, because I was a new author to them, they felt the risk was too great because the investment risk was too high. Since then I've published The Raven series in the US so maybe the Ascendants will follow. Time will tell. If it was hard for me and I'd already published six novels here in the UK, for a new author it is going to be harder. Having said that, publishers will still take on the debut big book if it is, in their opinion, utterly fantastic.

If I was a new writer now, I'd target lower word counts because it is an easier sell to publishers and when on the shelves it is easier to persuade a reader to try you out if your book is relatively narrow rather than looking like the foundation stone of Fort Knox.

Thanks Toc - I hope you carry on enjoying The Raven. Don't forget to tell all your friends  ;)
"Politicians seek victory to taste further glory. Soldiers seek victory to taste further life." Takaar, first Arch of the TaiGethen

Offline Overlord

Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #32 on: July 07, 2011, 12:59:53 PM »
I always sigh when I see an epic because I know it is a huge investment and it means I won't be reading my next book for a long while, however once I start I find them far more encapsulating and rewarding once you are done. Saying that, I can think of some good 5* 300 word novels too, so take that for what it's worth :P
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Offline Toc the Youngest

Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #33 on: July 08, 2011, 04:44:30 AM »
@James Barclay is your Ascendants series available in ebook format somewhere?  I'm in the U.S. and since it isn't published here I'd love to be able to download it.
"Name none of the fallen, for they stood in our place, and stand there still in each moment of our lives. Let my death hold no glory, and let me die forgotten and unknown. Let it not be said that I was one among the dead to accuse the living." - Duiker

Offline ScatteredK

Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #34 on: July 08, 2011, 12:02:34 PM »
I like any length for a novel as long as the writing is good. I can't say that I've been disappointed (yet) by a long book, however I can say that I've been left a little short by a smaller one. I'd rather have the extra details then lack them :)
"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -Oscar Wilde

Offline Overlord

Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #35 on: July 08, 2011, 03:00:08 PM »
I like any length for a novel as long as the writing is good. I can't say that I've been disappointed (yet) by a long book, however I can say that I've been left a little short by a smaller one. I'd rather have the extra details then lack them :)

Good point - I really enjoyed Wise Man's Fear, Way of the Kings and Desert Spear too :)
Founder: http://fantasy-faction.com
Editor: Fantasy-Faction Anthology (Aug 2014)
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Offline pornokitsch

Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #36 on: July 08, 2011, 05:43:53 PM »
Good point - I really enjoyed Wise Man's Fear, Way of the Kings and Desert Spear too :)

Some day we will be in the same room and IT WILL EXPLODE ;-)

Offline Nighteyes

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Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #37 on: July 08, 2011, 05:51:04 PM »
Thing is sometimes long books dont feel long. I can rip through a Sanderson, Rothfuss, Brett etc door stopper in a day or two. They are very light reads really.But a Zelazny, Meilville book at just 400pages can take me a week cos the prose is much more carefully constructed, the ideas more complex etc. . . 
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Offline Funky Scarecrow

Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #38 on: July 09, 2011, 02:37:48 PM »
I like my novels how I like my women. Second hand  Well fingered  Smelling faintly of must  With broken spines  Cheap  Slightly foxed  Organised by genre rather than alphabet  In large numbers and sprawled across every flat surface in the house  With the larger ones wearing loose fitting jackets I can use to mark my place if I get distracted - You know what? I'm going to abandon that analogy and say this instead...

My natural instinct is to read shorter novels first. If volume one of a series clocks in at 180k, and the volumes get progressively longer after that, my own experience has been that in the majority of cases either writer, editor or readers forgot rule#1: "Omit unnecessary words". It's a rare 180k+ epic fantasy novel that doesn't spend entirely too long describing one, some, or all of the following: lots of tasty food - gorgeous architecture - magnificent outfits - pert boobies and long legs (Don't look at me like that, you all know certain writers fall prey to it!) - intricate and exacting descriptions of the many and multifarious rules for the magic system (We get it, you thought things through. Drop hints and keep the specifics for the d20 source book of your universe) or else long passages of exposition on the history of a person, people, place or political landscape.

I'm not saying that all huge volumes of epic fantasy fall prey to the above, but that the thicker the book is, the greater the likelihood of it becomes. That being said, I'm willing to admit that I'm in the minority amongst fantasy fans in preferring to read the same story told in 10 volumes of 90k words rather than three volumes of 300k.

Reinstate multiple releases from the same author in a single year! Bring back paperback originals! Reinvigorate serial fiction! Riot! Revolution! Citation needed! etc., etc., etc....
I am NOT short. I'm further away than I look.

Offline Overlord

Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #39 on: July 09, 2011, 03:23:21 PM »
Good point - I really enjoyed Wise Man's Fear, Way of the Kings and Desert Spear too :)

Some day we will be in the same room and IT WILL EXPLODE ;-)

I look forward to telling you why you are wrong and I'm right :P ;) I'm also going to try really, really hard to hate Eddings :P
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Offline Nighteyes

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Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #40 on: July 09, 2011, 03:29:00 PM »
As always an intelligent contribution to the debate by FS.but a lot of fantasy fans enjoy the guff. Look what happened on this forum when Kraken was the choice of the book club.People were confused and couldn't cope with the fact that China didn't include 20or so pages detailing the history of alternative magical London.he threw in magic without 5 pages before explaining exactly how the magic worked! And people couldn't cope with it.     
For me personally I enjoy both sorts of fantasy and can see the appeal of both.
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Offline deejrandom

Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #41 on: July 09, 2011, 03:33:33 PM »
I like my novels how I like my women...

...I like my women like I Like my coffee - sweet and creamy.  So if I liked my novels like I like my women I'd be reading what...romance? Heh.

...carry on with the normal discussion.

Offline WizardofWestmarch

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Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #42 on: July 09, 2011, 03:48:54 PM »
As always an intelligent contribution to the debate by FS.but a lot of fantasy fans enjoy the guff. Look what happened on this forum when Kraken was the choice of the book club.People were confused and couldn't cope with the fact that China didn't include 20or so pages detailing the history of alternative magical London.he threw in magic without 5 pages before explaining exactly how the magic worked! And people couldn't cope with it.     
For me personally I enjoy both sorts of fantasy and can see the appeal of both.
While I don't think Kraken is a bad book, my problem with it was nothing felt IMPORTANT, it had a very "so what" feel to everything. The main character's emotional appeal was low and it just... didn't seem to matter. But some authors are like that, not bothering to create immediate emotional appeal. I figure I'll give Kraken another spin at some point.
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Offline James Barclay

Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #43 on: July 09, 2011, 08:29:43 PM »
Toc - yes they are. Both available on kindle via amazon.com. Titles are: Cry of the Newborn and Shout for the Dead. Thanks very much for asking...
"Politicians seek victory to taste further glory. Soldiers seek victory to taste further life." Takaar, first Arch of the TaiGethen

Offline ScatteredK

Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #44 on: July 10, 2011, 02:56:31 AM »
I like my novels how I like my women. Second hand  Well fingered  Smelling faintly of must  With broken spines  Cheap  Slightly foxed  Organised by genre rather than alphabet  In large numbers and sprawled across every flat surface in the house  With the larger ones wearing loose fitting jackets I can use to mark my place if I get distracted - You know what? I'm going to abandon that analogy and say this instead...


This made me laugh! Funny way to put it!
"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -Oscar Wilde

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