Posted by: Trisha Leigh | October 4, 2010

All Style No Substance

I bought this clock today. No, it wasn’t expensive, but I did get off my rear and out of my house on a Sunday to go get it. I didn’t bother to get dressed or really fix my hair or anything, but still.

Notice anything wrong?

It’s hung the way it’s supposed to be – there’s only one place to fit a screw.

Now, I’m not a super picky consumer. I don’t actually need the clock – I have one on my computer 3 feet away but this kind of shoddy workmanship irks me. I spend hours, days, months, getting a manuscript as perfect as it can be. I’m sure there are clockmakers out there who take pride in their work and would die before putting something like this in a store.

There’s not much point in trashing published books because they could be tighter, or written better in general. Usually I can see the appeal of the book, and if the writing doesn’t get in the way of the story, well…I guess I don’t see what the fuss is about. Maybe Twilight wasn’t the best written book I’ve ever read. It didn’t stop me from reading all four of them in three days. Perhaps Gravity’s Rainbow is one of the best written books of the last century. It still took me four months to struggle through it.

That being said, I want my book to be as clean as it can be. Ideally I’d like to put a product out there that’s both engaging and well written. It’s often like chasing the elusive white rabbit, but I know it can be caught.

Do things like this bother you? Do you find it harder to read books without a critical eye as a writer? What matters more – being sucked into the story or admiring the style?

What I’m watching right this minute: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend. It will make you think about the fine line between being perceived as a hero and being cast as a villain. Plus, you know. Brad Pitt.



  1. First of all, that clock would bug the stew out of me. Just sayin’.

    My reading eye has become more critical, yes. But if a story is good, I can forgive a lot.

    Oh, and Brad Pitt, you say? Hmm. Will have to check that out. 😉

    • I’ve already forgotten about the clock. I have a short attention span. The movie is one you can watch with TG, too! Hot outlaws…what a compromise.

  2. Yep, this would bug me endlessly, too.

    I think it matters more to be sucked into the story. I won’t notice style then.

    I can’t see anything else on your clock BUT the misaligned face.

    • Yeah, luckily it’s behind my head. I agree about stories…suck me in and I won’t notice.

  3. What’s the problem?

  4. I like the clock that way. I wouldn’t set out for it that way, but now that you have it home, I’d keep it and not try and fix it. It’s now a classic look in a quirky and unique way.

    • Ha, right? I do feel a bit like I went down the rabbit hole with Alice. Then again, I usually do.

  5. If you lean your head to the left, it looks straight. You’re good. 😉

    Now that I critique other people’s writing, I notice writing issues in books. Before, I just glossed over it.

    • Denise I knew you would be the one to say “Eh, just leave it.” That’s why we’re friends. Well, one reason.

  6. I think there’s a bell curve to this one. I am generally more forgiving of sloppy writing/editing the better the story is. There’s an inverse proportion involved.

    • Most people responded this way; I’m kind of surprised!

  7. The clock looks good, though 🙂

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