January 19th, 2009

Serious Thoughts

Commenting on Reviews

So Thursday night I had problems with my clutch (oo-er!), then the fridge died yesterday - and today, the internet exploded!

Long story short, someone attacked a reviewer for giving their work a bad review, which prompted someone else to write a piece effectively saying that if your writing is for public consumption - grow a fucking backbone (my wording, not his) and learn to take criticism.

My take on this is that I like criticism. I haven't had anything published for a while, but that's because much as I tried to continue on post-stroke, it was just too hard and disheartening. But I think I"m getting my mojo back.

I think good negative criticism helps you find the flaws in your writing, and bad negative criticism is something to be ignored. I'm not talking about anyone in particular here, but bad critics are usually more concerned with how cleverly worded their put-downs are, than giving a balanced review.

But for me, the unforgivable sin in reviewing is to spoil the story for the reader. You don't give away plot twists, you certainly don't tell people how it ends - but some reviewers do just that.

When I am actually writing, I put up all the reviews I can find, positive and negative. For me personally, part of being a writer is to take the negative reviews and acknowledge them. They are valid opinions. I don't have to agree with them, but they are just as valid as my hatred of Van Helsing, and my love of Zoolander.

So, am I wrong to write comments about the reviews, or to mess about and play silly buggers? I don't know. Given that virtually no part of my life is hidden in this LJ, it would feel weird not to comment on the reviews.

So here are links to my comments and reviews for Of the Mermaid and Jupiter, Best Seller, and two lots for Sold Out.

I'd be interested in people's opinions. Have I crossed the line without realising?