The length of a novel is a tricky thing to suss out. As I try to decide, my thoughts are at odds. On the one hand, every story seems to demand its own length. It’s built into it in the same way that the words are. It’s as if the story subtly dictates what it is to be. On the other hand, many people offer many varying opinions about how long a story in any genre “needs to be.”
This leads us to that murky place where commercialism and art vie for position. Which is more important? To what extent should one bend to suit the other? Unfortunately, the only way to thoroughly answer these questions is on a case by case basis, in consideration of many different factors.
While it’s prudent to listen to and consider different opinions, the only course of action that makes any sense is to follow your gut and act accordingly. It’s just as likely, maybe more so, that another person’s decisions will yield no better results than the your own. At least this way, whether you find the results you’re after or not, you can be confident you best served the work.
So, how long should a novel be? I guess it should be as long as it wants to be.