Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Getting Started: Attention to Detail Matters

I'm listening to podcasts going on about Justice League, and I see a theme regarding the opinions of those talking about this film: a lack of attention to detail damaging the reviewer's ability to engage and enjoy the story. It really is the little things that make or break an audience's appreciation of a work.

That's a problem a lot of us run into as we get going as writers. It's why we have a practice of letting manuscripts cool off before going into revision, and it's also why we have editors; in both cases, it's to get distance from the act of creation so that missing or misplaced details can be noticed, flagged, and fixed before publication.

There are things you can get away with and succeed. Not paying attention to detail isn't one of them. This can, and does, impose constraints on you as a writer because it means you need to make sure that your narrative functions as intended. You can see that even at the most popular levels of commercial storytelling, this makes a big difference; it is entirely plausible to state that the film aforementioned would have far better word of mouth and box office if better attention to detail had been paid.

I know that "The Ghost Fist Gambit" would not be as good as it is were neither my editor nor I paying that attention to detail; all the effort spent finding and fixing those things paid off spectacularly. Even at the short word count I had to work with, my editor and I managed to make that effort and get that pay off with the final work published in the PulpRev Sampler. It's worth it, folks.

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