My fifth book of short stories, Dead Reckonings, has been published and is available through Amazon. I feel this showcases some of my best work.
My writings are not everyone’s cup of tea and that’s okay. It would be a boring world if we all liked the same things. But looking back on my first volume of short stories, I can see a great deal of improvement, not only in the writing but in the subject matter and substance. As I grow individually and my interests change, so does my writing. This collection is a little more adult and provocative than my other volumes and two of the stories were written to offend as many readers as possible.
As with any horror genre writer, I find that subject matter abounds everywhere. Just look at the news or television channels such as Discovery ID. There is rarely a paucity of monstrous stories just waiting to be twisted, written and read by the masses. At least we hope someone is reading them.
With the publication of Dead Reckonings, I hope to steer away from the short story format for awhile. I am 75% done with my first novel, The Curse of Fairfax County, and I hope to start writing more novels in the future. I may be the only person who really enjoys short stories for their brevity and compactness. Most people seem to read more novels and again that is fine with me. But there are a lot of novels out there where it seems the author must have been paid by the word because so many tomes are terribly lengthy and dull. In a fast food nation such as ours, where everyone seems to want immediate gratification, one has to wonder how most readers get through a 600-700 page novel. In my humble opinion, only textbooks should be that long.
I especially feel that the horror genre lends itself to short works. It is very difficult to build up suspense and keep it up over 400+ pages. Since there is usually a “twist” at the end of a horror novel, it takes a lot to hold a reader’s attention through a ream of paper to get to the point. There are exceptions but most of the really long horror novels I have read could have profited from tighter editing. A few I have read have been so long and complicated and introduced so many characters I began to feel like I needed to create score cards to keep track of everyone.
So I doubt I will ever write the great American 600 page novel. My first novella, The Cemetery, seemed really long to me and yet it is only considered a novella. But if it had been any longer, I would have grown bored and tired of the characters and they with me. And anyone that doesn’t believe that well developed characters take over a story and help write it, does not write much. Many times I feel I am going in one direction with a story only to find that I end up 180 degrees away from my intended conclusion. The characters have literally run away with the story and I’m left wondering what happened. This is very true in Dead Reckonings, where I started out with my idea of where the story is going and what I planned to say only to find several pages later I have lost control of the script.
For those of you who will read Dead Reckonings, as always I welcome your feedback. Only through constructive criticism does and artist in any avenue grow.