Thursday, February 17, 2011

Good enough vs. Great

There will always be plenty of room in the world for "good enough". Some products are designed to be good enough, and they are very successful. Examples of this would be fast food hamburgers, mass market delivery pizza, powdered iced tea, etc., etc. The world would probably be worse without these products, but they clearly do not (despite how they may be marketed) aspire to deliver superior quality.

I've been thinking about my writing, and I am trying to deliver a "superior" product in my books. Whether I am succeeding is a matter for debate, but I am trying. A significant part of my definition of superior is original. I want my books to be fresh and not fall into genre cliche. That's not to say that I don't unconsciously recycle concepts from authors that I admire (because I do).

Maybe the difference is risk taking. I'm not afraid to take some risks in my writing--to write plots that may be unusual, to include details that some may consider trivial, or to adopt a style that may be unorthodox. Some of the content and style choices that I made in Hemlock and the Wizard Tower have, at times, met with criticism and/or apathy (verbose description, characters "talking" to themselves a lot, complex metaphor). I will take some of the criticism to heart as I work on my next book, but I also will continue to take risks.

As an indie writer with a very small audience, I feel that I have to experiment. And I want to experiment. I've never wanted to produce a book that is "good enough", and take the mainstream by storm. There are plenty of great writers doing that already.

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