Is there anything worse than a bad review? Probably, but we don’t think so when we get one.
But ask yourself why you’re upset.
1. Is there some truth to the review? No – then forget it! Yes – then what is it?
One woman relayed that her one star review mentioned grammar and punctuation errors. She said, “I know there are some, but there’s not that many!”
It seems she knew she put out work that was not of a superior quality; she can’t be upset when someone calls her on it.
2. Is it someone who just wishes to malign you? Accept that there are going to be haters. Everyone has them. Remember this quote: “Well behaved women rarely make history.” If someone dislikes you – you might just be doing something right.
3. Someone told me – it’s only the writer who reads all the bad reviews. I think that’s supposed to make us feel better. But it’s true. When you look at reviews, do you search out every bad review there is? or do you read maybe the top five or ten of all the reviews?
I, personally, read a few of each. A few of the five star, a few of the three star, and a few of the one star – critical readers can tell if someone has an ax to grind or if they have real concerns.
Don’t read other words like a critic looking for the good, bad, and ugly. Read to discover what the author did well and how they did it.
This is reading like a writer, like a wordsmith.
Atwood says she will only review something if she likes it. She is not a critic and won’t write a bad review.
One of my friends told me he won’t even write a bad yelp review. He says, I praise those who deserve it, but it’s not my place to criticize.
I thought this was a great idea.
If you feel you must say something to alert other readers, then be honest and specific, but do add at least one good thing about the book, story, movie, service etc.
Plath was one of the original “confessional poets,” and her poetry, at first, was not well received. Her poetry, however, spoke to many. Much love for the Plath!
Neil Gaiman says lies are what fiction is made of. Well, yes, but….
He says, we make up people and places and put them in circumstances which aren’t true. Yes, well, but…
But we tell some sort of universal truth with these lies and that’s what makes it good fiction.
Gaiman is all about honesty, so I’m surprised he calls what we do lies. I don’t consider fiction lies. But I can see how people think it is. But then, do we call writers liars? I would hope not.
There’s a difference, isn’t there? I, personally, keep my life honest. I appreciate honesty from everyone in my circle and will not continue to be around people who are known to have lied.
Plato believed fiction was dangerous to society. He wrote in “dialogues” to teach philosophy or what he believed philosophical truths.
He was fictionalizing these dialogues. And if fictions, like philosophy, seek truth and honesty, aren’t they important?
Gaiman says the magic of fiction is the big, important truth.
I guess, if the fiction doesn’t tell us a truth, it has been a waste of our time, of our words, and is, therefore, a lie.
We tell our students to do this – visualize what you want to happen.
Take your visualization a step further, especially if you’ve lost hope or are having a hard time finishing a work:
Create the cover for your book. Maybe slap an award on that cover.
Write a famous person’s review for that book then add quotes to the back cover.
Write the copy for the inside jacket cover.
Hang it or place it on your desk where you will see it every day.
Science says, visualization can help us get to where we want to be!
How are you like a peanut?
I gave this prompt to my students. Even as I was assigning this prompt, I saw the looks on their faces. They were not the first class to question my sanity; that happens regularly. So, my answer, must be “I’m a little nutty.”
Some of my students came up with amazing responses.
- Like a peanut, I have a hard shell. But once I open up, I’m quite pleasant to know.
- Like a peanut, I’m coming out of my shell.
- Like a peanut, I’m a little rough around the edges, but smooth on the inside.
- Like a peanut, I am versatile.
- Like a peanut in a shell, I am not alone.
- Like a peanut, I’m caramel colored.
This is challenging and, as writers, we must challenge ourselves. When we challenge ourselves, new parts of us open and allow us to grow and see life from a different point of view.
Choose an item from your refrigerator or snack drawer and compare it to yourself.
(Or choose an item and compare it to your main character.)
If you’d like to share it in our group, please do.