Crow here, taking over for the sluggard otherwise known as Robin Lythgoe. She was going to post something about alleged “good things” out in the internet. (She’s explained what that is, but I keep picturing the Beisyth Web, and that thing was nasty. Ask the dragon it hit. Oh, wait, you can’t. It’s no longer breathing!)
Why? I asked, when you have me to talk about? Seriously, messy web thing, or a handsome, charming, professional transporter of valuable goods?
Anyone with any taste at all prefers the latter. So I sent her off to chase wild geese. Maybe she’ll bring one back for dinner.
Here’s the thing, but you’d better keep it to yourself, because if she finds out I told you, I could get stuffed in the closet with that other guy. The one in the first novel she ever wrote. Seriously—he’s in a box. Makes me shudder to think of what kind of magic she used to get him in there, because it is barely big enough for the fellow’s head.
Face it—nobody likes a one-star review, whether we’re authors, parents, employees, or anything else. Today A Drift of Quills discusses how they feel about those zingers. Are one-star reviews ever helpful? The more I thought about this particular can of worms, the more I wanted to put a lid on it! Yes, people have the right to express their opinion. No, it’s not always kind, helpful, or even necessary. Yes, the person under the glaring light of criticism might learn something valuable. No, that doesn’t give Everyone Else the right or the duty to shred someone’s work to pieces.
Did it just get really foggy in here?
Has a low rating of my book ever helped me? Well… no. I can’t say it has. The few I’ve received are vague or whiny. There’s no meat to them, you know what I mean? They don’t do me any good, and they don’t really help other readers, either. It’s like having someone say that peas are nasty, disgusting things that everyone should avoid. But wait! Other people like peas! And I hear they’re good for you. And such a pretty color. And round. (Do you happen to like round things?)
Don’t go getting too excited about stabbing folks with one-star reviews and tacking on lengthy criticisms, though. While some books are really horrendous (I’ve read my share!), take a minute and breathe. Remember what it’s like to be a human being. (You are one, right?)
I’ve found it helps if I walk away from the book I hated. Simmer down a little. And then I try to think of something I actually did like about the book. Yes, sometimes it’s a challenge, but there’s usually a description or a funny comeback, or something worthwhile.
And if I can’t think of a single positive thing about the book, I write a flaming rant of indignation and fury—And then I never post it anywhere.
Interacting with criticism is never easy as an author. There’s opportunity to grow, to shape our stories, and do better, but it still isn’t easy.
From the reader’s point of view, reviews can provide a wonderfully unvarnished perspective on what to expect. I read reviews on everything from books, computers, a new lawn mower or a plastic doodad to organize junk. Just how well does this doodad organize? How well does a this mower mow? How well does this computer compute, and how well does this book read? (Click here for the rest of the story!)
I believe that in general, the more reviews, the better. When I see a book with few reviews and those that are posted are all 5-stars, I tend to think that the author got a few friends to post positive ratings in an effort to promote sales for the book. By contrast, when I see a book with quite a number of reviews, I expect that I will find that some people have highly praised the work, while others will have been considerably less flattering.
When I personally review a work, I try to put myself in the shoes of the average intended reader for that work. (Read more!)
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How do you like getting “one-star reviews” for things you’ve done? How do YOU deal with giving them?? Let us know in the comments below!
Long live the rebellion! I love that the good folks at National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) have embraced those of us who already have a work in progress. The cameraderie of the challenge—not to mention the awesome pep talks, fun badges, helpful (and frequently funny) forums—are hugely inspirational.
I could use some inspiration.
I have a lot of writing to do!
So here I am, using the NaNo cattle prod to pump out some volume, rebelliously attacking a current work in progress.
I never really think of myself as a rebel, but in this case I apparently qualify. I even have a badge to prove it. “You believe rules are meant to be broken. On November 1, you’ll start writing anything but a brand new novel.”
On the bright side, I’m closer to typing those magical words, “the end,” than I thought I was, so maybe I’ll get a chance to work on the Brand New Thing, too. Who knows?
Want to help out? Join my cheering squad by emailing me, tweeting me, messaging me! I love hearing from you—and it helps a lot.
Stories uncovered! Secrets revealed! Sounds like an article straight out of the tabloids, right? This first-Friday A Drift of Quills are looking at the way people, news stories, or current events play a role in our works. Are we under the influence of current events? How do we use it?
Use people? And places? And stories?? I’m innocent!
Today A Drift of Quills are looking at writerly things. We’re writers. It happens. We’re breaking out the ol’ writerly toolbox and taking a peek inside. I don’t know about you, but as a reader I love learning about how my favorite authors work and what they like to use. And read. And see. It makes them more whole in my mind’s eye (if that makes sense).
But I digress!
The question du jour is “what are our favorite ‘tools’ for writing”? And I quote, so the emphasis on “tools” got my mind dashing off on tangents. Read on to see where the three of us went on this expedition!
There are so incredibly many tools for a writer to use today. (Not like in the Old Days, when it was pen and paper, a set of encyclopedias if you were lucky, and the library!) What a wonderfully rich age we live in!
Hello, and welcome back to A Drift of Quills! 2017 is already leaping out of the gate, but not to fear! We have our quills sharpened and our writing hats firmly settled! This month we are answering the following questions:
Do you plan characters in advance or in the moment, and how do you keep track of them?
For me, the answers are… Yes. And it depends! (Oops, my questionable sense of humor is showing!)
I tend to flesh out a few key characters briefly, but they grow from that organically. Every now and then random characters stroll into the story uninvited. I am not a fan of those “Get to Know Your Character” worksheets with a bazillion trivial questions, but I occasionally find them helpful when a necessary character refuses to take shape. What is this “shape”? Continue reading A Drift of Quills: Care and Feeding of Fictional Characters→
I am thrilled to announce that Blood and Shadow, the first novel in the Mage’s Gift, is now available on Amazon! It’s taken a lot longer to get here than I’d planned, but we’re finally there, and book 2 is not far behind. No, really.
A vengeful mage. A powerful gift. A naive youth.
Sherakai never wanted to become a warrior like his father and brothers. Satisfied with being fourth in line to inherit title and responsibility, he wants only to be Master of the Horse. But on the eve of his sister’s wedding, a terrible gift arrives and Sherakai’s course changes forever. His magic is the key to secrets he does not know or understand, and he must learn to fight to escape a future he doesn’t believe in. Now he must use what he hates to regain what he loves.
What’s almost as good as a crate full of chocolate?
Well… nothing, but the news that I’m zeroing in on the end of Book Two of the slower-than-cold-tar Mage’s Gift series is almost as good, right?
You may (or may not!) have noticed a lack of blog posts the last few weeks. They will continue to be sparse as I turn my newly adjusted razor focus on finishing the bleepity-bleep books. RAWR.
I’ve had a particularly good week—I won’t jinx myself by quoting numbers, but suffice it to say I’m breaking all kinds of personal records. NaNoWriMo, eat my dust!
In the meantime, As the Crow Flies is getting the revised cover I’ve been dreaming about since—well, for a long time. If you’ve been following on my Twitter Feed or Facebook, you’ll have seen some of the options, and maybe had a chance to offer your opinion on which one is best. We’re still working on a few little details, so this isn’t officially official, but…
Here’s a teeny, tiny peek.
I’m stoked. Stay tuned for the officially official cover reveal, coming SOON!
It’s Friday. (Surprise!) It’s also Blogday for me, and although I could write a post about grammar, painting and fancifying a wall, the book I’m (still) reading, or a short humor piece about a recent encounter with a doctor, I want to work on my book.
I sooooo want to work on my book!
So I am! And I don’t want to stop. I thought I’d share a little excerpt with you because 1) I already wrote it, 2) fun!