Friday, May 14, 2010

Scads

Within the next week I shall begin my own website, the focus on Stewart Sternberg, the writer. I plan on keeping this blog going, but the website, I've decided will have fictional content, regular cartoons (my dad always wanted me to be a cartoonist, so I thought I would give it a go), and various entertaining items to keep people engaged. I'll also be starting a monthly newsletter, which will include reviews, news about my projects and activities, as well as promotions of other writers and their works. My goal is to try and keep this all interconnected, creating a facebook-twitter-emailnewslettery-webery-kind-of-thing. I'll let people know when the first newsletter is heading out.

On a non-related subject, I love Simon Clark.

I have found some of his work to be chilling. He knows how to engage readers and is able to take the mundane and make it horrifying. His book "Blood Crazy" had me ripping through pages, jaw slack with horror, eyes green with envy over his skill. His book "The Tower" wasn't as creative, but still it was a worthwhile read. I also applaud "Night of the Triffids", "Vampyrrhic", and "Nailed By The Heart"

Yes, he can write. Yes, he can scare the poop out of you. However, Mr. Clark has been churning out work these last several years, and I am sure he is doing well in sales. What concerns me though, with the quantity of output, is the effect it might have on quality.

Currently, reading "The Ghost Monster", a potentially outstanding ghost story, I am stumbling over some clunky writing. It almost feels rushed and mailed in. I've felt that way with some of Stephen King's work and other authors who produce a tidal wave of titles.

Is it possible for an author to produce too much too quickly? Can a market be saturated? Can someone lose his touch? As much as I loved both Robert B. Parker and Donald E. Westlake, I am sure no one will argue that there were books later in the careers of these authors where it seemed that the writing was shallow and uninspired.

Not that I'll ever write such quantity or quality as the above names, but it makes me stop and think about when a writer should take stock of what he or she is churning out, taking into account what is owed to the reader. It also makes me appreciate the work of Jim Butcher. He continues to write his Dresden novels and they continue to deliver. Maybe they're a little predictable at times, but dammit, when you're a fan of Dresden, you know what you want and Butcher makes sure you're satisfied.

6 comments:

Christine Purcell said...

Ooh! Can I be a guest cartoonist? I've got some weird ones ;)

Charles Gramlich said...

I think it's very possible for writers to write too fast and for the quality to fall. I've seen it happen and have always fought it in myself. Not that my work is in such demand that I have to write so quickly.

I've thought of going the newsletter route. I'll be interested to see how that works for you.

Jon said...

I would do a set of panels doing a send-up of Glenn Beck. But he's a send-up of himself already.

When does the quality of one's work go down? When they, themself, think of it as "churning."

Anne Spollen said...

I find quality slackens even with one quickly churned out sequel. There's pressure on the writer from the agent and/or publisher to get work in fast, and writing is craft, not manufacturing.

Stewart Sternberg said...

Christine, I'll have to sample your work first. Oy.

Charles, I think the issue isn't writing too fast, but rather being able to come back and do the appropriate editing and revisions.

Jon, I think if a writer thinks negatively about his work, then a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy kicks in.


Anne, I'm not a fan of craft these days, but I see your point.

Kate S said...

Looking forward to the new website. Sounds exciting.