I love big books.
I'm not talking huge, bible sized books. I'm not talking end-of-the-world thrillers (though I do like some of those too).
I'm talking books where the characters go to hell and back. When their emotions are so torn up, their lives are actually in danger, and you feel like anything can happen. I want books to be an event from an author.
Every year a writer has to put out a book. That's once a year for about a week, I get to enjoy what one of my favorite writers put down on paper. What he or she does to the characters he created. I love when characters lives get messed up.
And I even love it in series.
I don't often enjoy books where the author thinks he or she needs to go easy on the characters because they've been through a lot. I don't care, I want to see them go through the wringer. I don't want a small book. (Though some authors have succeeded at the break book. Laura Lippman's ANOTHER THING TO FALL--for one.) I want to feel the book as I read it. I want to be turning the pages.
When your series character needs a break, go write a standalone and let some time pass in the series. I think Lehane did a good job of this when he decided if the Kenzie Gennaro series went any further his two characters would become psychotics. So he put them away. He wrote MYSTIC RIVER, and that was an event. He wrote SHUTTER ISLAND... and that was an event. And then he wrote The GIVEN DAY and THAT was an event. And now, apparently, he's thinking about bringing his two detectives back. I hope they go through hell again. It's only fitting.
When I sit down to write, I want to tell the biggest book possible. In my two Jackson Donne novels, Donne went through hell. I actually got a fan letter after the second one asking me... "What's next for Jackson... cancer?"
I did a book group and they said the two books were gut wrenching.
That's what I want to do. I want to push the characters further. I want to torture them.
Give me action.
Give me high emotional stakes.
Let the characters fall from huge heights.
But then I want the characters to get back up. Because that's the most exciting moment for me. When a hero gets beat up... and then finally... gets back up. And wins.
That's an event.
What kind of books do you like? Do you like small books? Why? And vice versa. What appeals to you about high stakes novels?