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March 20, 2016


Very thoughtful piece. Thank you, Larry. -- DL

My fantasy novel, THE EMPIRE OF THE ZON (pen name RM Burgess) is about 235,000 words.
Most people tell me that it is very long, but I did not realize it was so much shorter than War and Peace.
I've be happy to send you a copy, if you like.
RM Burgess

In my view, it's quality, not quantity. I've recently completed a techno-thriller of approximately 32,000 words, and I strongly feel that to add more content to it--be it dialogue or exposition--would simply be padding and would actually detract from the readability and directness of the tale.

I suggest you put it away for a while and then go back. See if any of the characters can be fleshed out or there are plot points that need to be added. If not, then the book is complete as it is. I certainly agree with you that padding would hurt the book. Thanks for your comment and good luck with your writing.

Larry Epstein,,,,,Wow great writting skill.. I really thanks to you for giving great knowledge. you can read the red badge of courage pdf. I will Bookmark this website. and recommend for everyone to read Top Novel books


I just found this post in order to illustrate to another writer why they should not stress about making their fantasy novel longer than the current 59k words.
Thank you. I like this list which includes some of my all time favourite novels (although I'll never read "1984" again. Too traumatic).
I also like your commentary.
My longest work to date is just under 60k and frankly, I have no desire to write much longer.
For one thing a 256 page novel just fits in the Royal Mail "Large Letter" category, but any longer goes up to "Small Parcel" so it costs more to post!
For another thing I, like you, prefer shorter more manageable novels. I see the lengthening of novels as a bad thing, rather like the increasing size of a regular pizza or burger.
More is not necessarily better.
By the way, I believe "War and Peace" is actually a trilogy that is now always served up as a single course.
As regards publishing your shorter novels, the simple answer is, of course, self-publish and be damned.

The poets I love include Denise Duhamel, Nin Andrews, Molly Arden, Mitch Sisskind, Terence Winch, and James Cummins. This provocative post kept me up all night!

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That Ship Has Sailed
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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