Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Quality Over Quirkiness

Here's an interesting article linked to on Twitter by Dale McGladdery:

'Good' Beats 'Innovative' Nearly Every Time
While we're fond of trumpeting the praises of Apple, whose iPod revolutionized music, we forget how dismal the competition was. It was not a field of masterpieces; it was a motley crew of ugly, clunky, painfully hard-to-use devices. Apple applied basic design sense to an immature field at a time when the world was ready for something better.


If your competitors are mediocre, the merely good can seem exceptional. All things being equal, in a battle between a good product and an innovative one, the good one will usually win.
The relevance of this to writers is obvious: The quality of your storytelling is more important than the bonafide dewy-freshness of your idea.

Of course, a fresh idea combined with great storytelling is a blockbuster combination! But if you haven't got both, strive for quality over quirkiness.

You can't build a writing career based on mediocre books. People will wait five loyal years for a novel from an author they trust, but they won't even remember to look for the books of an author who disappointed them--even if that author comes up with really fresh ideas.

Author website: J. J. DeBenedictis


scott g.f.bailey said...

This is so true! People knock themselves out to be Bold and Original when they should be working on just creating a solid story and writing readable prose. Sometimes a book can't find a publisher because the work is groundbreaking and isn't recognizable as such, but most of the time a book can't find a publisher because there are fatal flaws in the basic storytelling or writing.

Kate said...

But waiting for inspiration is such a great excuse not to write! Just having to write any old story well involves actual work. Pooh...

jjdebenedictis said...

Scott: The idea's usually the thing that gets a person excited about writing, but yes: it comes down to craft. The idea won't carry a novel, but good writing can.

Kate: But there's always "research" to satisfy all your procrastination needs! Ah, the glory of the internet...

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