Hello everybody, Long term reader, first time poster. I've enjoyed hanging around on the site in the past and was hoping I could get an opinion on something (no, not a book concept). I've read that the average length for a novel is about 400 pages, or 120,000 words. I'm working on a manuscript that currently stands at 166 pages (the way I have it formatted in Word, set to a paperback's demensions) and about 50,000 words. It's been in the tubes for almost two years, and I've just recently started to really get rolling on it, which is why I ask now. It's a post-apocalyptic epic, and again, I won't go into the details here, but my plan is to have it reach roughly 600 pages. And there's my dilemma- several harrowing events have taken place, characters have been developed, lives put in jeopardy, etc. etc., and yet I still haven't gotten to my "quest", which is to be the central part of my plot. Oops? In many books I've read of this genre, the story starts out well after the world-ending event, making it easily accessible and quick to start. However, I wanted to distance myself from that and write "the hard stuff" by exploring my characters' feelings around the apocalypse. I've taken an alternating-plot threads approach, with two central characters that have (still) yet to meet in a meaningful way. I expect that to happen very soon, and then ensuing events should cap off the first section and define the characters' real goals at around 200 pages. Still, getting on that milestone I feel like I may have bloated things a little. My question to all of you is: Is a 600-page, 200,000 word novel too long, especially for an unpublished author? Am I taking too long in developing my exposition? I'd love to have your thoughts.