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Commenting on Reviews [Jan. 19th, 2009|12:36 am]
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[mood |curiouscurious]

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?

[User Picture]From: angriest
2009-01-18 02:37 pm (UTC)
I think you skirt the edge on one of your posts about Lawrence Conquest's reviews, but err on the side of making a bit of fun out of it. But it's certainly not a post I would have made (mainly because I think links to reviews are OK, but are best done without comment).

NOTE: I should add this opinion about writers not commenting about reviews of their work is only something that's solidified in my head in recent months.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-01-18 09:34 pm (UTC)
Fair enough. Lawrence hits my bad reviewer buttons because on stories he doesn't like, he often tells people the endings. I rechecked a bunch of his reviews as he consistently does it.

He's welcome to call my work shit, that's fine, but telling people the ending, and/or major plot and character points along the way - that's a no-no. I think that's what got me making fun of it - I couldn't complain about the bad review without people taking it as a complaint just because I was given a bad review. So I did what I usually do in those situations - went silly.

For me, commenting about reviews is fine, in certain contexts. People usually only link to their positive reviews, and then talk about how they are happy with them. I tend to think commenting is ok, so long as you don't start savaging the reviewers for their opinion.

I certainly made a point with one positive review, calling a piece a highlight, to state that I didn't think it rated so highly, but thank you.

SO the solidification of your opinion, was it just the people who have whinged about negative reviews and attacked the critics in recent months, or was there other shifts and changes that drw you to it?
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From: duntov_475hp
2009-01-19 05:23 am (UTC)
Who reviews the reviewers? The reviewerreviewer... heh.
I think reviewers NEED to be told how their doing as much as anyone.
The worst reviewer (which is what I had to deal with) is the friend giving a review. Telling you how good it's going just to see you reach around 3000 pages and THEN admitting they lied because "you seem so happy when you're writing. I just don't think anyone is going to want to read this."
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