Showing posts with label criticism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label criticism. Show all posts

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Brown Shoes VS Black Shoes

Aspiring writer friends, I know we want people to love our writing, and subsequently buy our books—hopefully more than a few people—but what about those who don’t? How much does that matter to you?

If you’re writing a psychological thriller, and a friend only reads western romance novels with hunky cowboys, chances are, she won’t like your book. Understandable, right?  I won’t bother purchasing your cowboy romance, nor will I buy your newly published book about aliens invading San Francisco. Okay, if we know each other well, I will buy them. I’ve read many books out of my normal interests because I know the author, but I will never buy a book like “Fifty Shades of Grey”—even if my daughter writes it!  I will wish you the best of luck, but don’t expect me to read it. And that should be okay. It doesn’t reflect on your ability to write a good book. It only says my interests are different.

 I recently pinned some photos of plants that I hope to add to the landscape of our soon-to-be home. A friend commented that a couple of the plants I liked would "grow ugly". I knew what she meant, but that feature was one of the things that I liked about the plant. She conceded that people have different tastes with a comment something like, "That's why we have brown shoes and black shoes." 

No matter where your talent lies, there will be someone who doesn’t appreciate it. I don’t think many would say Barbra Streisand can’t sing, but there are many who would not pay to own her albums.

I say all this to encourage you. And as writers, we all need encouragement. There are enough stumbling blocks in this process without raising our expectations beyond realistic heights—that everyone in the world would fall in love with our book and give it raving five-star reviews. Not. Gonna. Happen.

This afternoon, I finished reading TheNight Bird by Brian Freeman.I LOVED this book! Psychological thriller is one of my favorite genres. However, I find many authors can’t tell a tale without excessive foul language and sex. I’d rather not read it. This author had enough talent that he could fill a book without the need for graphic sex and bad talk. I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end. 

I went on Amazon to post a review, and as always, there were numerous one-star reviews. I read through them to see what it was that people disliked about this book. One reviewer wrote that it would desensitize people to violence. Well, that is debatable for sure. But wouldn’t that hold true for all psychological thrillers? Is it fair to rate a book so low because you don’t like the genre? More than one said the plot wasn’t believable. I often read reviews criticizing an author for writing exactly the way the genre should be written!

Okay, it wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read. The author had a habit of using the “grocery list” method of describing characters. In a couple of places, it harshly interrupted the flow of the story. (If I were his editor, this is an area I would have asked him to chop.) And although the storyline was crazy, it’s supposed to be! It’s a psychological thriller. That means it’s also fiction. I don’t think the events in this book could really happen. I don’t care. It was entertaining and had me turning pages on the edge of my seat!

I’m glad Mr. Freeman isn’t going to stop writing because a few people don’t like his books. I plan on reading many more from this author. I’m sure that the bestselling authors have had more than their share of bad reviews. So when you finish that manuscript and throw it out there to the world, don’t dwell on that reader who says your book bored him, or she didn’t care for your style, or your story isn’t feasible. Dwell on the fact that you did it! Dwell on all the times people told you it was good. Dwell on the enjoyment you got when you typed The End. Dwell on being called a published author.

By the way, I prefer brown shoes...but I often wear black.

Monday, July 13, 2015


You will know my name.

Okay, it may not ever be on a New York Times best seller list, but someday it will be in a bookstore.

I was scrolling through Facebook today, when I noticed an article shared by a friend. Good-to-know stuff about the Christian fiction market. While reading the article, I noticed a link in the sidebar to this one: Five Reasons Why You May Never Get Published.

I stiffened. I clicked. I prepared to be shattered. I wasn't.

I may not as regimented as I want to be, but I am willing to put in the years   yes, years!   that it takes to accomplish this goal.  I don't expect to write a rough draft and have total strangers drool over it. I am not a professional. I WANT to be. Someday. What I know compared to what I need to know is a drop in the bucket. Or ocean. Yes, more like a drop in the ocean. It is sometimes overwhelming, but yet I plug away...

I am willing to take criticism, and LEARN from it. I have sent pieces of my WIPs to friends 'in the business' and listened to their advice. From pasts posts, you know that I am friends with the recently published author, Terri Tiffany. Terri has offered to be my critique partner, and has offered me tremendous encouragement. But she has also pointed out my mistakes and offered well-informed advice to correct those areas. AND I LISTEN! Apparently, that is not the typical reaction from a novice. Many people tell me stories of hurt feelings and 'I never heard from her again' scenarios. Why? If you're serious about writing, as I am, shouldn't you prize that information?

I won't even think about submitting my work to anyone until I am positive   and have other knowledgeable people in agreement   that my novel is the absolute best it can be. I worry enough about Terri seeing my drafts! This book is my baby. I birthed it. I want to be proud of it. It isn't enough to be published. I could self-publish tomorrow. (And I think too many have at this stage.) I want to be an author   by my definition. I want to write a really good book that people will recommend to others. A book that people are willing to pay for   not just willing to read because it was free.

I want my book to be different. I don't want to write a book that is predictable, or just like so-and-so's. I have my own voice, and want to perfect it so that is stands out from the crowd   or rather, the slush pile. I'm not so in love with my current WIP that I would continue down the same path if told the idea is overdone and will not sell. That is true insanity if my goal is to be published.

Lastly, I'm not so big-headed to think my talent surpasses that of other published authors, and therefore I will be 'discovered' by that lucky agent...blah...blah...blah...  Just as my book is my baby, I am a baby in this world of writing. Even though I've been doing it all my life, I've never before attempted to do it correctly. Yes, there is a method. There are rules. There is so much to learn. But I am willing and eager.

I  stumbled across this bit of wisdom today:
 "There is no comparison between that which is lost by not succeeding and that which is lost by not trying."     Francis Bacon 
 I am trying. I am definitely trying!