Should fiction writers always avoid very long sentences? Here’s an example by Thomas Pynchon, from his novel, Against the Day (page 160f):
“She sang mezzo-soprano and had married almost shockingly young, the boys coming along in close order, “the way certain comedians make their entrances in variety acts,” it seemed to her, and about the time Colfax shot his first brace of pheasant, she had abruptly one day packed a scant six trunksful of clothes and with her maid, Vaseline, reinstalled herself in Greenwich Village in a town house floridly faced in terra-cotta imported from far away, designed inside by Elsie de Wolfe, adjoining that of her husband’s younger brother, R. Wilshire Vibe, who for some years had been living in his own snug spherelet of folly and decadence, squandering his share of the family money on ballet girls and the companies they performed for, especially those that could be induced to mount productions of the horrible “musical dramas” he kept composing, fake, or as he preferred, faux, European operettas on American subjects — Roscoe Conkling, Princess of the Badlands, Mischief in Mexico, and so many others.”
That sentence is 165 words long. Should the writer have broken it into several sentences? The answer is not an automatic “yes” or “no” — judgments as to sentence length (and other questions as well) must be based on a close reading of the piece itself, not on rules of thumb blindly applied.