The Reader's Soap Box: Your answers to our questions
about the books we all love...
Do you miss the longer romances of days gone by, which sometimes did have very small print, or are you happy with the shorter, but easier-to-read, novels being published today?
In the 1970's, when Romance novels came into greater popularity, lengthy reads were what publishers were searching for. Sagas, books with incredible historical detail, and contemporaries that covered several generations were the standard. Word counts ranging upwards of 125,000 weren't just common, but expected. Nowadays, publishers are seeking and putting out shorter books, with word counts ranging between 85,000 to 110,000, and very rarely anything longer than that.
Publishers have cited several reasons for lower word counts, including the high cost of paper and the need for bigger, easier to read print for the benefit of their customers, and have stated that a truly talented author can make a story just as full and exciting at 100,000 words as at 150,000. We leave it to you, the readers, to tell us whether this is true or not.
Responses from readers...
-- I rarely read a novel under 400 pages [paperback] unless it?s an older Harlequin release or something new by one of my favorite authors, for instance, an anthology. I, too, must have much twisting and turning in the plots. Yes, I?m a die-hard romantic reader and writer, but there must be several strong secondary external plots and twisting and turning to hold my interest. Digging for fresh ideas and ways to present them becomes an extraordinary find, fused with two strong-willed protagonists who can?t stay away from one another, yet don?t agree on how to handle the external problems until the very end or they finally agree to disagree in order to keep their love from washing out with the next tide. - Cat Carol
-- I enjoy reading longer books, over 400 pages. The others end too abruptly. Once I get into a book, I am lost. So it is easier for me to just read and read, and I often get dissapointed when a book ends. - sassy_232@...
-- I appreciate the older longer stories. Historicals are my favorites. Reading the newer books I find myself searching for the series collections and the books with continuing characters. I usually wait until there are several out and read them all at once. This gives me the feeling of reading a longer more complete story. - Claritta
-- I truly miss the longer romance books. The newer books being released seem to lack the depth and personality that the older 80's books were popular for. The longer books gave you the opportunity to lose yourself in them, become the character so to speak.
I have found at the end of the newer romance novels I am left with a sense of emptiness. The longer novels gave you the opportunity to discover and envelope yourself in the surroundings and let the book achieve more of a mood. The newer books are so abridged that I feel it goes from H/h meet, have sex, fall in love, somewhere out in the country... the end. The older novels had more depth and I believe with the shorter novels you lose so much. Besides (I love the historical Indian romances) I want to see the wind on the prairies and feel the trot of horses and the rumble of the buffalo... but it seems impossible with the newer ones.
I shop the used bookstores and search endlessly for the older books (avoiding altogether the bookstores that sell only the newer books) that seem to be disappearing only too fast. I even find that some of the writers whose older books I have enjoyed seem to have become shallow with the new shorter restrictions. -- H. Racine
Each and every response is important to us, and very much appreciated. We want to hear what you have to say!
Add your comments
Email us the your comments - subject line: Soap Box #7