I should just go write a horror novel so I can get published quick, then I can get back to real writing.I memorized it. That's how hurtful and wrong the statement was. But, like any true Texan, Scotsman, and professional loudmouth, I couldn't let it go. It took a while to get all the obscenities out of my head, and to quash the almost insurmountable urge to strangle the self-important bastard (not obscene...I truly believe his parents were never married), but here's my carefully considered response.
Go for it.
If you think you can do what I do, if you think it's easy to frighten people with words on a page, or to build an eerie atmosphere, give it your best try, Sparky. See, here's the thing: We're trying to do the same thing. We're both trying to tell a story. We're both trying to develop characters that people care about. We're both trying to make our readers feel the way we want them to feel. We're trying to make that emotional connection between us and the reader that allows them to feel sympathy, or love, or wonder, or fear. I just happen to concentrate on the fear aspect. That's all. His story, as I understood it, was a very heart-felt tale about a boy who grew to manhood having never experienced his father's love, and was full of chapters in which the character sat at a desk and thought deeply about how much he'd missed, all the while never comprehending how much he was currently missing by sitting in the dark like an emo-kid and contemplating how his dad never hugged him enough. Frankly, I'd choose zombies over that any day, but to each his own, right?
And while we're on the subject, do you really think that by writing horror you could just "get published quick?" Really? Again, go for it. I've got rejections upon rejections to throw your way. See how easy you think it is to "just get published quick" when your work is shot down by fifty or so publishers. Not so easy, is it? Nope. We have just as hard a time, if not harder, than the so-called "literary" types because we can't rely on academic presses and because there are many more of us than of you. So to get published, we have to be at the top of our game and turn in the best piece of fiction we can in hopes that someone will like our work. I think we actually have it harder than you.
I think the point I'm trying to make is this: Horror isn't bad. In fact, none of the genres should be considered "bad" or "lowbrow" or "unworthy to be printed on paper because only the ignorant masses care for that kind of thing and I'd rather spend five-frickin'-years working on a single manuscript, secure in the knowledge that no one will ever print it because it's too high a concept for their tiny brains to handle" or any other such thing. Good writing is good writing. Bad writing is bad writing. That's the bottom line. If you can't string together two sentences, chances are you need to either re-evaluate your career choice, or you need to suck up your pride and work on it. But to say you're not an artist, or a real author, or any of a thousand other derogatory things because you write genre fiction is insulting, small-minded, and ridiculous.
So remember that. Everyone deserves to be respected. Every genre deserves its own little pile of respect. Because if it were that easy to write what we do, you would be writing it too. Admit it.
Oh yeah... And Buy My Books!