It’s interesting the differences you find in each writers voice. Naturally it comes down to language and how it is applied, but something that is glaringly different between authors is the level of detail used in writing.

I’ve discovered that I am not a detail writer. I cannot spend pages waxing lyrical about the scenery or describing a characters thought process down to the miniscule moment-by-moment experience. I also don’t enjoy reading those sort of stories. It may be that I’m a product of my generation, craving fast action and swift plot progress. Whatever the reason I’ve accepted this point as just a matter of style and just as I enjoy reading/writing plots that race along at lightning speed, I know there are others out there that enjoy it too. That is my target market. Not that there’s anything wrong with detailed stories at all, though I have repeatedly read that if something doesn’t add to the story then it should be cut. If the intricate pattern on the drapery is not significant to the plot, then why spend an age describing it in detail? Unless of course your character has a penchant for patterns and simply must stop and admire the drapes before moving on to other things.

The level of detail used in a story directly affects the overall length of the book. My book could have had double the word count without any change to the plot or the characters. The feel of the story would be very different if I were a detail writer. Instead I like to leave just enough for the reader to form an impression and then let them fill in the blanks themselves. That is precisely what I love to do when I read, let my imagination add in the parts the author has not described. Perhaps it’s the nature of my personality that I constantly imagine and create and build upon the picture that's presented. For every reader who likes to do this there will be a reader who prefers to have the entire thing laid out for them, so there is nothing wrong with either method.

There is just one thing writers must bear in mind, you can find all sorts of articles on the internet about how long a book should be, what sort of word count you should be aiming for depending on what genre you are writing. If you are looking to capture the interest of a traditional publisher then it is probably sound advice to follow, as I’ve heard some publishers (stupidly) reject work just on the basis of word count – Ouch. You may have written the masterpiece of the century but it doesn’t make it past the starting gate because you’re a few thousand words over or under the industry standard. It’s utter madness, in my opinion. Then again, when you consider how many submissions they receive on a daily basis, I suppose it’s no surprise they’ve come up with some arbitrary rules to cut through the bulk. So, if you’re a detail writer and you’ve knocked out a novel of 200k words or more, perhaps you need to give it a good edit before sending it off to publishers or perhaps consider cutting it into two books. If you are lighter on description and find your book is around the 50k or under mark you either need to add a lot of detail or consider marketing it as a novella.  If you are unwilling or unable to do either of those things then the answer is simple. Screw the traditional publishers, consider an indie house or self-publish. After all, a story is as long or short as it is.

Happy writing.