"A writer and nothing else: a man alone in a room with the English language, trying to get human feelings right. " ~John K. Hutchens, New York Herald Tribune, 10 September 1961

Friday, November 30, 2007

10 Things I Hate About This

No, I'm not going to start listing them down, I just really wanted to use that phrase. Ridiculously short story I have no plans on expounding, which makes mentioning it entirely unnecessary. Lovely!

Now that I've located what looks like a promising designer, the only drawback is that they're located here...as in Pakistan here...as in, in my city Pakistan. Yes. After a rather saddening experience with an Indian developer (God bless the Indians, though; they're not all bad, one bad seed notwithstanding! Tons of bad seeds in Pakistan, too!), I would much rather not deal with subcontinental developers. However, their ratings, client references and portfolio seems to speak for itself. And they have now graciously agreed to providing me with a mock up...which is basically a prototype of where they'll take the design of the site, along with showcasing what they can do. Since I was deprived of this previously, and not wanting to take any risks this time around, taking the advice of my very knowledgeable sister, I am a little more optimistic. Of course, the development that I've planned and outlined in this blog is still scheduled. But first and foremost, is a face-lift.

Addressing quality related issues is another thing entirely, and which will hopefully be addressed and put to reasonable rest by our small "board" some time this weekend or next week. I don't know whether it's the editorial policy or the fact that a small set of members are the only set that post and re-post and thus, are the only ones available for e-zine polling. There are some marketing related issues and plans up my sleeve, which might unfold subject to agreement by the others. There are a lot of things to be decided, and specifically towards our new look, logo and design etc.

There is still the dream of making it to print, which might, ironically, be more quality oriented. The problem with being web-based is that though you're able to reach a wider base, it becomes a tad problematic when you're using it for quality assurance. Not everyone's at the same level, which shows through in the forums, where the pieces are..."workshopped" according to one of our members. Although most of the hardcore stuff happens behind the scenes in the 'editorial' stages, which brings me to another question: are we not doing a good job of it? Should we be pushing our writers harder...or what, exactly? I realize that everyone ages at their own pace, and to that extent we should give them both time and space for growth, but this worries me. Because some how, in some way it's setting us back.

A few posts back I mentioned how a complete stranger stated that my work represented on another website was far better than the content put on display in our 'zine, which though flattering to me, was a disappointment. Everything seems the same. Are we not pushing creativity hard enough? Not focusing on pushing the envelope? After all, isn't that part of what a workshop does for you? It pushes you to be your best. One piece or maybe two from members is good, and then they slip again. I need to know why.

I suppose the easiest thing to say is that writing isn't the same for everyone, which is what I am constantly being told time and time again. It's frustrating to hear the same thing from different people: not everyone's like you, not everyone takes writing so seriously. It isn't about taking it so seriously...it's about actually using criticism to improve. It's the want to get better, to progress, to push the envelope. That isn't asking for much, is it?

6 comments:

M. said...

sorry, mp...i KNOW i need to step up. theres just a lot going on right now...i have a short story about the emergency in the works...shall post tonight or tomm. yeah, i know i've eclipsed the deadline...

*sigh*

Clarice said...

I don't think the difference lies in "taking it seriously". I think its the attitude that differs. This may sound deranged, but its almost like the difference in attitude of tailors. We've all had tailors that try to weasel their way out of any alterations that one demands, not wanting to put in any extra effort. And then there are the ones who will do anything to give you the perfect finished product, because they take pride in satisfying their customers and the quality of their work.

Now its really upto you whether you want to keep going to the first guy, or just switch to the perfectionist.

I think we have to start being the being the bad guy pretty soon. And I don't just mean the moderators /"editors". I think everyone has a responsibility to make sure the quality of work showcased keeps improving.

Also, Maryam, I feel the facelift will go a long way in improving our image.

M. said...

I know what you mean, clarice. but more responsibility lies with the moderators/editors. I do have a certain loyalty to DW but at the end of the day I don't think I have a real responsibility towards it either, you know? I'm trying to explain. I wouldn't dare hint at status change esp. in light of my current workload.

mp213 said...

We're maintaining our deadlines. Tonight being the last date to post stories for consideration in this quarter's zine. People can keep posting though I'm getting the impression that they're posting with the sole intention of making it in.

Clarice, lol! Nice analogy. Yeah, the image will change...but my God, woman! The content has to change with it, otherwise all we'll have going for us, is a nice "look". We don't need to be the dumb blond here: pretty on the outside, hollow on the inside. We have to focus on both things, simultaneously. I'm taking care...or at least, trying to take care of the web development from my end. We need more cooperation with quality.

About the moderators/'editors' etc, you may have a point, but then as 'M' (all the good names are taken aren't they, C?) points out: nobody else really has that same sense of responsibility towards the site that we do. At the end of the day, it's just going to be the 5 of us coming to the rescue. It's the sad truth in all this.

M. said...

you can ask other people to help, mp. give them moderator privilleges...malang or someone..

mp213 said...

They don't need moderator privileges, M to help us enforce quality.

As it is, there are some shifts that'll be doing the rounds in this quarter's editorial policy. You'll find out once the e-zine's been launched, I presume.