It's all about the details, when it comes to quality.
I'm going to make buttermilk bread when I get home tonight (because it's a weekend and therefore okay to wait until 9 pm to have dinner); the buttermilk needs to be the right temperature, and not lowfat or you can honestly taste the difference. Crystallized ginger will help activate the yeast. You have to have the salt, the kneading time, and the rising time. Obvious details, but they affect the bread.
Many people in the speculative fiction community have been talking about the movie Avatar in the last month. It's caused an uproar, a diversity of opinion because of its busting through records despite the weakness of its script, and so many writers - regardless of their own abilities - have slammed it for that reason (and some have rightfully championed its cause). I do admit to a bit of difficulty in getting past the script myself; I wasn't as moved by the visual beauty as I'd expected to be. It could be a matter of personal taste - I admit to a strong reaction upon watching Terminator:Salvation because my interests right now lie in apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic worlds, rather than in 'new' worlds. I can also admit the script is equally as awful, if not worse, but I didn't observe that until the second time I'd seen it.
But it's the details that have caused this uproar - the fantastic visual details, or, depending on your opinion, the lack of detail in the script, which includes cliche lines like 'you have a strong heart.' (John and I have counted now, this makes 3 movies in the last year that have used this line: Terminator: Salvation, naturally, the atrocious Ninja Assassin, and now Avatar.)
Just like the details of the YA novel Twilight, which hit cult success and brought more readers to the world of speculative fiction than potentially any other book besides Lord of the Rings. I read Twilight on its first printing, before anyone dreamed up the Team Jacob or Team Edward t-shirts, and I loved it for what Meyer did with the main character (I won't get into my opinion on the sequels, nor on the movies). Those details resonated with thousands of people, some of whom may be eventual readers of mine one day.
It's the details of the fantastic slush story this morning - the best one I've read yet since I joined the new team - that left me staring at the computer screen; the details of the way the main character/assassin assembled his sniper, the way he picked his victims. I was horrifically spell-bound.
It's the details that could make "Braeberry Street" work. It's creeping up in word count, and I'm finding myself getting into not-okay patterns, sneaking in these details in a fashion that will lull instead of delight a reader - monotonous repetition of rhythm, too much detail without corresponding action - ways that would cause me to regretfully hit 'reject' should I have read this in a slush submission pile. The details will make or break this story, and I have to find a balance.
John and I have been married five months today. The circumstances haven't been what either of us quite envisioned when we got engaged, but the details, the little things here and there, have made our young marriage exactly what I've wanted.