No, it’s not new year yet, but I’m mentally preparing myself for the onslaught of do gooders who believe everyone should have a new year resolution that most often includes some sort of physical punishment in the hopes of losing weight. My new year goals never include losing weight, saving money, or being kinder. Mine are more along the lines of loving myself, writing more, and finding some unsuspecting soul who will be as passionate about my writing as I am and want to see my work published. That’s not to say I don’t need/want to lose weight, more,I want to get physically in tune with the needs of my body, but I don’t see that as a goal. That should be a given. Is it? No, but then again, doesn’t change the fact that it should be. Weight is not the issue, physical health is the issue despite the weight. Yet I digress.
This post isn’t supposed to be about such mundane things as weight loss and unattainable goals that most of you will make only to despair over in a few months when you realize you’re never going to make them because you just don’t love yourselves enough. This post is about writing, or when to know your story has gone on too long. Yeah, it can happen and it’s not pretty when it does. My question to you as the audience is when do you give up on the story without knowing the end?
See here’s the thing, I just did that. I’ve been listening to an audiobook for over a week and that is big. I generally listen to books while I’m at work, so roughly 5 hours a day. For more than eight days now I’ve been listening to this book, give or take and yet, it’s not done. Truth is, it’s apparently no where near done. I have drug on and kept listening out of general curiosity, but today, I reached my limit when the story suddenly shifted from one narrators POV 9point of view) to another just when I thought the major story had climaxed and we were on the way down.
As someone who writes long, I’ve come to recognize in my own work when the MS (manuscript) has gone too far and I need to either reel it in or start a new. Most often, it needs to be taken back a step or two and ended before the audience is throwing their hands in the air out of sheer frustration. The book I’ve been listening to is a YA romance, paranormal, supernatural, yada yada yada, the blurb on the back had me want to read it. Then I started.
Truth is, there were times before now when I was ready to put it away, but persevered. That said, I’m at a point were I no longer care if the MC (main character) lives or dies or ends up with the girl or if the universe is going to implode, I just want it to end. For me and this book, it has. I pushed stop, then deleted it from my iPhone and then my computer. This should say something to the author and it’s not that the writing is below par, although there were a few places that another edit would have done it well, but more its time has ended.
Hard cover, 563 pages, paperback 392 pages, audio 17 hours 33 minutes, and yet I’m sometimes told that my YA novels are too long. 17 hours, that’s huge. And in my defense, not that I need a defense, I’ve only now read the reviews from the book i’m speaking of, and most agree with me, long and drawn out and would have been better served shortened.
Should I mention that the story line and reaction by the MC to the situation reminded me of Bella in Twlight, which, I liked the book so don’t think this is a put down on Twilight. The movies, are a whole other discussion.
No, I haven’t mentioned the name of the book for a reason. I am not writing this as a review for the book, but a subject for conversation on the length of a MS. How many pages are you willing to read once you’re bored with a book? Or how long can you listen to someone read to you? How does an author know when they’ve gone long? And why didn’t the publisher insist on a few more edits? Just my humble opinion and curiosity abound. Please leave your views on the subject and if you are a reader and not a writer, all the more reason I would like to hear your thoughts.