Noodling around on the internet (which takes up a huge amount of my time) yielded this quote from Elvis Costello that I agree with only wholeheartedly:
We’re all just animals. That’s all we are, and everything else is just an elaborate justification of our instincts. That’s where music comes from. And romantic poetry. And bad novels. Sometimes when I finish a bad novel, I say, “You wrote seven hundred pages just to say that? Couldn’t you have just said, ‘I want to fuck’?”
Yes, the author could, but not in less than 700 pages. That’s what makes the book bad.