Friday, January 11, 2013


Hello, Sheldon. It's great to have a friend who is also a proficient horror author and screenwriter on my blog today.

Thank you for stopping by. Settle back, enjoy a brew, and tell us your thoughts for today. I understand you want to tell us about,

Quality Over Quantity

There was a time when a writer worked on his/her novel without the internet. No Facebook. No Twitter. No MySpace. No social site interference. During this time readers would wait eagerly for said author's work. Waiting a year was the norm, then another for its paperback. If the reader loved the author's work, then it was exciting−like an early Christmas or Birthday present−when you saw the book on the shelves in any of the number of bookstores that dotted your town. The wait was not only worth it, but expected.

Back then, the author took their time and produced quality rather than quantity, usually. Not to say that a few authors didn't produce two books a year. Most of the time though, it was one book.

Today, it appears that the more that's put out, the better, or so it seems.
But is it?

Now, I must state that I'm not talking about those great writers we all love (past or present), or seasoned writers. I'm talking about writers who have no real resume to back themselves up in their work or craft. Ones who've never published more than a handful of short stories but pump out novels or novellas into the digital publishing world on what appears to be a monthly basis.

Is writing a lot bad? Hell no. Are these bad writers? People who can't tell a story? Don't know. I'm not saying they are, or do. What I'm saying is that pumping out so much work−I'm talking about novels and novellas here not short stories−will eventually lead to a burned out writer, bad writing, and at some point less sales, because readers will get tired of the subpar work that's being produced by the writer. (Not to say that the writer doesn’t dig up a gem here and there, but you get my meaning.)

But who knows, maybe some of these writers are naturally gifted and only put out awesome stuff. If so, more power to them.

There's a quote that I've borrowed and live by from Gale Ann Hurd (producer of The Walking Dead, Terminator films, Alien films, etc.) that says, "I'd rather have it right than right now."

I follow this motto to the T when it comes to any novels and novellas I'm writing or thinking of writing. I'd rather write ten good books in my lifetime than twenty crappy ones with a few good ones in the mix. Not only do I feel that you’re cheating yourself as the writer, but more importantly, the reader.

Quality takes time. Takes deep thinking. Takes knowing your (well-rounded) characters, your plot really well. Gives you the ability to create layers in the work. Mood. Tone. Theme. Depth. Allows you to pose questions to the reader. To comment on issues, the world in general. As an author, what is it you want to say? These are some of the things that make a great book, and a great author.

Whenever someone asks me what books do I suggest reading I always mention writers such as Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Poe, Hawthorne, D.H. Lawrence, Shakespeare, Woolf, Emily Dickinson, and others (poets & authors.) Old school writers, mostly. To read writers who used tools such as Symbolism, Tone, Theme, Mood, etc., in their work. Who created depth, who posed questions or commented on issues of their time.

For the most part, these writers---among others---produced quality.

Now, you're saying, "But I write genre stuff. Horror, sci-fi. Not literary stuff."

First of all, many authors back in those days wrote some horror. Secondly, you can write genre and use the above tools in your work. Who says you can't? And lastly, horror and sci-fi are genres that can be served by the tools really well. All genres can.

I'm not saying that it's easy to do all the above stuff in your work. Hell, I don't do it all the time, especially in short stories, but those tools are on my mind when it comes to the novel I'm writing and other novels/novellas I have in mind.

It takes time. Like fine wine.

Wouldn't you rather drink a great glass of wine than a cup of sour grape juice?
Nice article, Shell. Let's tell the readers about a few of the stories you have out. We can't mention them all, but we'll get some in here.
The Road Home (short story) with bonus flash fiction story Detour will be released on the Kindle in January. These two stories are more literary and not horror.

Death, Be Not Proud (anthology) has my short story Where the Dead Go to Die (zombie story) in it. This collection also has a story from NY Times Best Selling author Jonathan Maberry in it, as well as a story from Bram Stoker Award winning author Joe McKinney, among others.
Hand-Carved Coffins is a short story with bonus short story A Murder of Crows.
I have this one in my E-reader, folks, and it's a goodie.
Sheldon Higdon is an author with numerous publications in various magazines and books; everything from short stories to non-fiction articles to poetry. He is also an award-winning screenwriter.
He is currently working toward his MFA in Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction program.
What say you readers? Do you agree with quality over quantity? What do you like to read, or how do you write? Do you strive for quality?
Leave your thoughts for Sheldon below on this subject.


No comments:

Post a Comment