Quality vs Quantity


I touched on this subject a while back but this time I want to take a different approach.

A former co-worker and avid reader once described a book she’d read this way: a whole lot of fluff. The author wrote a bunch of nothing to fill the pages with words that don’t say anything! Regardless of the genre you write, filling pages to meet a novel’s standard word count of about 60,000 to 80,000 is not quality.

Ever hear the expression “less is more?” I say that’s true for your writing too.

When I write, I want to take the time to produce good quality novels. No matter how fast I pen the first draft, I take my time to edit it. When that’s done, I work with my editor on rewrites. If, instead, I am too busy hurrying to write my next stories, to the point that I sacrifice and substitute quality for quantity, how can I expect my readers to enjoy it and give it me a good review?

In part, I could say I’ve been there and done that. It’s what I did with my first novel. Not knowing any better, I didn’t ask proofreaders to go over it after me. I was so excited and yes, too much in a rush to see it in print. In reality, it wasn’t ready to be published. I later pulled it because when I worked with my editor on the next novel and compared it with the first, I realized it wasn’t fit to publish. My readers had told me they loved the story, but it was so poorly written.

Show, don’t tell has become my favourite way to add good quality words without all the fluff that doesn’t say anything. Especially when I decided to use all five senses.

What else can you do to produce good quality writing? Ask people to proofread your work. Someone who’s not afraid to give you a good critique. A new “set of eyes” is key to pick up what you’ve missed.

Listen to your critique’s suggestions, correct the typos and errors, and rewrite whatever needs your attention. Easy peasy, right? But it doesn’t end there.

When you’re done, ask them to proofread it again. Want a better suggestion? Ask someone who’s not familiar with the story. I had four proofreaders. For the most part, they all caught the same mistakes. One of them, however (I’ve always said she should have been a biologist) loved to dissect my stories. She found things the others had missed.

Proofreaders don’t have to be professionals. They don’t even have to be writers. As long as they are honest, good readers. You have to be a good listener.

Lastly, hire an editor. Hey, think about it, if established writers have editors, who says we can do this on your own?

Good quality books will make a lasting impression on those who read them. Isn’t it why we write? To reach and touch the heart, soul, and mind of people?

Don’t substitute quality over quantity. It’s not worth it.


Becoming a writer doesn’t happen overnight.

Recently, an old friend reminded me how as a teen, I always said I’d be a writer someday. He was happy to see I’d realized my dream. I’ll admit, I changed my career goals several times back then, but I never lost the desire to write.

Along the way, I learned many great lessons too numerous to list. Here are those I deem MOST important. 

PERSEVERANCE: Writing is a long, hard journey, but perseverance and dedication can get you where you want to be. I often thought of throwing the towel in, but that would have been too easy. Instead, I pressed on.

WRITE: Logical, right? Some find other things to do. Cleaning house/raising kids is time consuming, yes. Whether you work outside the home (like me), or you’re a stay-at-home Mom, set and stick to a writing schedule. I can’t stress this enough. Hey… if you write just one page a day, that’s a 365-page novel at the end of the year. Two pages? You’ll get one in 6 months.

LOCATION: I realize not everyone has a spare room where they can seclude themselves, but hopefully there’s an area in your home where you can write without interruptions. I rarely ever use my office. I do most of my writing from either my recliner or my bed. Yes, I sit with a back pillow, and my laptop on a four-legged breakfast tray. As long as the door is shut, everybody knows that room is off limit. Coffee shops are great too. 

EDITOR: This one should be number ONE in the list of priorities. When I wrote Stella’s Plea as part of the NaNoWriMo challenge, I knew it wasn’t fit to publish but I loved that story and wanted to do something with it, so I hired an editor to work with me. I couldn’t put it out there until a professional had looked at it. Don’t skip this step.

PROOFREADERS: They’re vital people in your journey though you may not realize it until you’ve completed your book. By the time you type The End, you now know the story inside and out. So does your editor. When you read a sentence, paragraph, or page, you no longer see the typos because your brain knows what it’s supposed to say. Yes, editors can miss things. They’re humans too. I asked four people to read my story. Yes FOUR. The MOST particular of them found several mistakes the other three had missed. THAT’s how vital they are.

CONFERENCES: They are a MUST for every writer. Why? It’s where:

  • you’ll learn the tools of the trade by amazing authors who’ve been there/done that;
  • you’ll walk away with awesome new knowledge;
  • you’ll develop wonderful friendships with other writers
  • you may even exchange business cards with agents/editors who may be interested in your story.

    Give these a try and let me know what happened.

    Blessings always, and good luck in your writing endeavours.