Re: Authors who bloat as they "mature"
I certainly don't think it is one or the other. It's an interesting topic, certainly.
Authors that go from shorter to longer (like Clancy) might simply be the result of having more editorial control -- I read somewhere that Clancy's first submitted draft of Hunt for Red October was nearly twice the size of the one that got published. On the other hand, some authors get bored and/or more ambitious, and want to tackle something on a bigger scale. When that's the case I'm all for it. When it's just an author exerting his power, I think it's lame -- trust the editors that got you that fame, dude.
Obviously a lot of the major players stay within a very close range. Guys like Lee Child and Michael Connelly flex their length more than you might think given their styles, but they are rarely too vastly different. George Pelecanos can be fairly all over the place with length. I'm not well versed enough in fantasy (hence the thread I started), but it is certainly not a genre that seems to discourage heft too emphatically.
true that concise writing, in any form, is good writing. But I've read 500+ page novels that were way more concise that 200+ page novels. A mature writer serves the story first. With guys like Martin and others writing for both hardcore fans and the mainstream, balancing the rabbit trails that super fans love and mild fans might not put up with is the battle.