Length and Scope in Novel

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      By length and scope, we mean how long the book is. The length should be appropriate to the genre and be appropriate to the story. Books that are too long are the sign of laziness by the writer and also result in a non-positive response from the readers. The novels, which are too long, seem to be time-consuming. So, no novel can theoretically be too long. But if it is too short it ceases to be a novel. It is a lot harder to capture a character’s personality fully in one or two paragraphs, and necessarily it needs to take one full page or may be more than that. But efficiency is one of the characteristics of quality writing. For example, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” is a much stronger opening than taking a paragraph or two to say exactly the same thing. Similarly, the opening sentence of Pride and Prejudice — “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” - establishes the centrality of advantageous marriage, a fundamental social value of Regency England; and in this expression, the entire thematic aspect of the novel is summarized in single line. This is actually the efficiency of narrative technique and the novelist’s mastery over language to approach the maximum in a minimum range and scope.

      On the contrary, too shortness is also not the beneficial length for the novels. If any character or situation screams for more detail about them, it should be provided. Otherwise, the representation of characters will be as fine as in the short story. Generally, there are rare scopes of dropping the very typical and natural everything of something in novels. Hence, sometimes adding ‘bulk’ is important to the overall pacing of a novel. If too much length is bad, so is a book or scene that’s too short. However, there exists no hard and first resolution that supports either of the lengthy and short novels, but can be mentioned that there are two ways of presenting human character — one, the brief way, through a significant episode in the life of a personage or group of personages; the other, which admits of limitless length, through the presentation of a large section of a life or lives, sometimes beginning with birth and ending in old age. The plays of Shakespeare show that a full delineation of character can be effected in a very brief compass, so that, for this aspect of the novel, length confers no special advantage. Length, however, is essential when the novelist attempts to present something bigger than character, when, in fact, he aims at the representation of a whole society or period of history. It may or may not be accidental that the novels most highly regarded by the world are of considerable length — Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Dostoyevskys Brothers Karamazov, Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Dickens’ David Copperfield, Fielding’s Tom Jones, and so on.

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