Or more correctly dumb/bad/annoying reviews.
By Daryl Devore
In an online writer's group I belong to, we often post our "bad" reviews to commiserate – not on our work that's criticized, but on the review. We're all mature enough to accept a hard review, if it's justified. But others leave us shaking our heads.
Latest examples shared - D.L. - Very interesting. It kept my attention through each story! 1 star!
Or - J.J. - It’s an incredible page turner with lively characters and interesting story. It’s like we’re there, close enough to the hero and heroine to witness the events with them… but the writing itself could be improved. Overall, it was a great surprise.
After each of these reviews is posted at the group, the replies start flying – humorous, supportive and frustrated. But it was one comment that sparked the idea for this post.
S.C. - I've come to the conclusion unfulfilled writers make the worst critics of books. Whereas the ones that love writing, even if they aren't successful yet, are far more appreciative of other people's hard work and if they don't enjoy something just move on and not bother writing a bad review.
I, rarely, write reviews. But that's not because I read "bad" books. If I leave one, it's usually a shorty – Love the book. Great read. 5 stars. That sort of thing. Three reasons –
1. I'm an author and Amazon goes on purges and deletes author reviews. So why bother?
2. I avoid Goodreads. If I've spent 10 minutes there in the past year, I'd be surprised.
3. I suck at it. I've spent more time trying to pen a review than I have writing a chapter. I keep rewriting until it gets to the point where I don't like the book anymore. Then I revert to my shorty standby response.
I understand how much love, creativity, brain power, time, sacrifice etc it takes to write a book. So if the book doesn't tickle me, my giving it a bad review seems unfair – unjust - not right. Just because it didn't appeal to me doesn't mean it's not worth reading. I'm not the world's leading authority on literature, so who am I to judge?
I see it as – maybe, it was the genre or the writer's voice rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe, I was in a real pissy mood that day.
Have I had bad reviews? Yea. When I was a newbie author, the 1 and 2 star reviews hurt. I wanted to scream at the reviewer. I wanted to email everyone one I know and complain how unjustified the review was. I wanted sympathy. I wanted validation. I WANTED chocolate.
Now, I don't read reviews. Why not? Partly, I found a new writing mantra. The end of it reads -- If she's happy with it, then no matter what the critical reception of the book is, she can be confident she wrote the book she wanted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mara-white/the-pros-and-the-prose-book-bloggers-turned-authors_b_8966666.html
That's how I've always written. I have a quirky little story that evolved from a series of flash fiction posts. The story doesn’t fit any specific genre. It doesn't obey the rules of fiction. And I don't care. Some will like it. Some will toss their e-reader across the room. I accept that.
So, I'm putting this out there -
Before writing a 1 or 2 star review
1. Does this book truly deserve such a rating?
No. (Good. Go have chocolate.)
Yes. (Go to question #2)
3. Can you justify your reason? (Something more than – 'cause I didn't like it.)
4. How does trashing the author's work make you feel?
A - Powerful? Intelligent? (Smack forehead on wall and repeat until a better answer comes to mind.)
B – Sad? Apologetic? (Then delete the review and go have chocolate.)
5. Did you consider the person on the other end of the review is a caring, compassionate human with feelings that could be hurt?
No. (Go up to question 4 – read option "A", but smack forehead harder.)
Yes. (Then why did you write the review?) (If your answer is logical and without pettiness then post the review.)
Do you have any great "bad" reviews to share?
About DarylDaryl lives in an in old farmhouse in Ontario, Canada, with her husband, a large salt water aquarium full of fish and some house ghosts. Her daughter is grown and has flown the nest. Daryl loves to take long walks up her quiet country road, or snow shoe across the back acres and in the summer, kayak along the St. Lawrence River. She has touched a moon rock, a mammoth and a meteorite. She's been deep in the ocean in a submarine, flew high over Niagara Falls in a helicopter and used the ladies room in a royal palace. Life's an adventure and Daryl's having fun living it.
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