Thursday, June 12, 2008

And I Thought Mrs. Giggles Was Tough...

"Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever." ~Lance Armstrong


Hang on, let me get another bandage.

And find the limb that got torn off and thrown somewhere across the room.

And see if I can stop the bleeding.

I got my worst review to date, yesterday, for One Night in Boston, from Writers and Readers of Distinctive Fiction.

The reviewer wrote, in part, "The biggest problem with this story is pace. I read the first chapter excited. The second going, okay, bring it on. The third through probably the next five to six were absolutely flat. I regained my excitement only to have more flat chapters appear. They merely read as set up and lent nothing to the actual story line. I ran into all the cliche roadblocks of Woman’s Fiction and a few from Romance...Heroine’s big secret, which the reader figures out by the end of the first chapter, is so horribly hooked I wanted to tear my hair out...The plot gets warped because I am trying to follow so many characters and none of them truly get to make their mark in the tale."

Yeah - ouch.

I suppose I should find some kind of comfort in the fact that the reviewer went on for paragraphs about what s/he didn't like - my writing was powerfully bad enough to draw actual frustration, not just indifference. Woo hoo!

And I suppose I should be glad for the few teeny tiny glimmers of positive light, because s/he did ultimately say, "I would give her another shot if she could do something other than the already overdone...Big Kudos for trying a new formula in romance...Personally, I’d like to see something else from this author that is outside the box. Hey, if she isn’t writing inside the proverbial limits in the first place, she might as well take a deep breath and jump. All in all, I am giving this book a rating of good read, intriguing, mainly on characterization. She’s got style. I can’t wait to see what might come from her in the future."

I spent a couple of self-indulgent hours yesterday feeling really bad. I thought, wow, maybe I shouldn't be promoting a book that is so obviously flawed. Then I thought, well, I'll take what I can from the review and move on. No one likes everything. No, the book isn't a traditional romance. No, the hero and heroine do not meet in the first chapter. They don't even meet until halfway through the book. Yes, I probably sacrifice action and conflict for prose that captures a mood or a moment - though it's something I'm working on. And I got a thumbs-up on style, which made me happy :)

So, live and learn. Bad reviews sell books too, right? (As a matter of fact, it looks as though 2 copies have sold on Amazon since that review went up. Connection?)


Marianne Arkins said...

Thing is this: your WRITING ABILITY was never criticized. And, you can’t please everyone. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to read a story for review and hated it, and it’s gone on to get raves from someone else.

What IS a review but one person’s opinion, after all?

Judy Thomas said...

Yeah.. what Marianne said about your writing. And, the fact that even though she had problems with the plot... the reviewer wants to read more of you. Heck, we both know a person who had problems with the plot of Outlander ;-)

Dru said...

Sometimes the best review is the worst review. Marianne and Judy are correct, she didn't criticize your writing and she's willing to read another of your stories so that is a good thing.

Maria Zannini said...

{{Hugs, Allie}}

Remember that it's just an opinion and tastes are as varied as snowflakes. If I could ask only one thing from reviewers it's that they be skilled in the art of balance and objectivity.

I can't remember where I read this, but someone said that she never says anything in a review that she couldn't say to an author's face. I wish more people thought that way. It might make people more cognizant on how their words are received.

windycindy said...

I can empathize with you. Not on a writing level, but on being critiqued! She does say that you have style! I would focus on the fact that she admits your have it in you. Go from there.....Cindi

Anonymous said...

I for one just got done reading it and I enjoyed it! I enjoyed the story, the characters, and the presentation.

It is so odd that with all the negative she still gave it a rating of a good read. And you can still use the good quotes for press releases. Movie advertising does that all the time. Liz