Saturday, April 12, 2008

A small matter of quality


"I think all of us like to do things to the best of our ability and it has nothing to do with the competition factor, it has to do with quality."
Jerry Bruckheimer


I think too many of us have forgotten the definition of quality, or we've stopped caring.

In the quest for more and more and faster and faster, we've lost this important attribute. We all know we have. We all complain about the lack of quality in items we purchase. We fuss if our 'fast food' meals takes more than 15 seconds to receive and then fuss when the quality isn't there. How much quality should we expect to get in food prepared in 15 seconds?

As much as I would like to believe Jerry Bruckheimer's quote, I have a hard time doing so. I believe most of us just want more and faster, and cheaper. The cheaper things are, the more things we can buy. Never mind if they fall apart quickly or are less than truly satisfying; we have more of it.


I see it in my own profession, as well. I've read excerpt after excerpt of new books coming out. I browse bookstores and read the first two paragraphs from new authors, or at least new to me. It becomes rather disparaging as I continually find weak openings, incomplete sentences not used purposely or for effect, repetition to the point where I want to scream, "Enough already! I get that's she's busty and he's well built! Okay!"

I see a flux of adverbs used instead of strong verbs. I see sentence structures and paragraphs that fourth graders could write (no offense to fourth graders).

I've read the first 25 pages of a book where nearly nothing happens and what does happen is cliche and ... repetitive.

I see authors bragging about having four or more books published in a year and I have to wonder how they have time to rewrite and edit and rewrite again when they're producing so quickly.  And ... when do they find time to study the craft in between selling it? I see them say they don't have time to read. Then, how are they learning and improving?

Maybe I don't have room to talk about producing since my most recent book was supposed to be out last fall and still isn't, and since I have only two books out since 2003. One of them is 3-4 times as long as most of the 4-book-a-year novels and I have been working other jobs in between, so I'm sure those are both factors in the difference. I'm sure some writers see my producing stats and roll their eyes. Still, much of the time in between, I've been continuing to study the craft: reading, reviewing, perusing how-to articles and books, and going back to rewrite and edit several times.

I do believe it should be about the quality, not the competition. How many matters less to me than actual content. I prefer a nice sit down dinner even if I have to do it less often than numerous 15 second meals.

Although I've been trying to stretch into the many contemporary writers, I find myself falling back into my beloved classics when quality still mattered. They tend to take longer to read, but oh, how much more I get out of them!

"You can't fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal."
William S. Burroughs

1 comment:

Monitor de LCD said...

Hello. This post is likeable, and your blog is very interesting, congratulations :-). I will add in my blogroll =). If possible gives a last there on my blog, it is about the Monitor de LCD, I hope you enjoy. The address is A hug.