I didn’t expect that bullet.

Here’s the deal. Writers, authors, artists, sculptors, musicians, singers – all lay their heart out there on the book shelf, stage or gallery. Bare, exposed, vulnerable. It’s a package deal. Unless you put on your big girl panties and deliver the goods, you’re just another wannabee.

The author’s first shock is the realization that even though your mother thinks you’ve produced the award winning creation, others (not people who love you) may tell you its the worst thing since a hundred years ago.

The second shock is when the publisher likes your work, but some members of the public write scathing reviews, and don’t mind cutting down the author along with the novel. Most every author has experienced the ‘one out of five’ amazon dark day.

The third and final shock is when that killing bullet strikes. That’s the day you receive a gut wrenching review from a professional. That bullet fills you with doubt that you have what it takes. Maybe you should stop chasing that elusive golden light and bow out gracefully.

As an author for the past fifteen years, I know about my responsibility to offer to you, the public, quality. And, I know the value of an objective opinion. And, I know while I’m developing my talent, there are others qualified to tell me when my work needs WORK. Yes, I concur. It could stand another rewrite.

The confusion begins when several respected authors and critics have conflicting viewpoints on my work. Some will actually suggest a complete revision of the entire plot and modify the characters I’ve created according to their vision. All the while saying, “But it’s your story.” Others call and say, “I couldn’t put it down.” Ugh!

I used to like romance novels until I got so terminally bored with the repetitive plots and shallow characters. I’m almost certain the authors bowed to their critics advice and pumped out dozens of novels using the same tried and true formula. A professional critic will tell you a romance author must follow that one specific formula. A suspense author – a different recipe.

While I scan the list of agents and their submission guidelines, many of them request something fresh. Well, ladies and gentlemen, Feather Stone is about to give you something very fresh. I may get whacked by the romance and suspense industry, but that’s okay. All I can say is, “Hit me with your best shot. Fire away!”

How much do you value the opinions of readers, fellow authors and critics. Do you take their advice as gospel and rewrite until your manuscript pleases everyone? How do you manage the criticism. Me? I went for the chocolate sundae.

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11 thoughts on “I didn’t expect that bullet.

  1. You will NEVER please everyone. Do you want to know what I do sometimes when I need a boost of courage? I look at negative reviews for books that I love. It’s proof that trying to please everyone is a futile task. You’re writing for readers who appreciate what you’ve got to offer.

    It’s difficult to balance the conflicting critiques. All we can do is listen, absorb, and then decide which suggestions will help the story better fit our vision and which ones won’t.

    P.S. You should hook this blog up to our Tribrr group.

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  2. Thank you, Nicki. It’s so very reassuring to hear back from people who are in my corner, who won’t let me throw in the towel. Thanks

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  3. I’m with Nicki, Feather. You can’t bow to everyone else’s demands and remain true to yourself and your story, so don’t. Conflicting critiques is just a part of an author’s life. I’m not going to lie and say I don’t read my reviews, because seriously? I do read them. But I’ve had to teach myself to look at my reviews as a reader, not a writer. Is there a common thread between them (good or bad). Once I’ve identified that, roll with it. They love the emotional depth to my characters? Wonderful, nice to know I connected with readers. They got confused at a specific part of the story or got lost. Crap, better work on clarity in the next go around.
    When it comes down to it, the story is yours and yours alone. How you choose to share it with readers, that’s up to you. As readers, they can sit down, strap in and enjoy the ride or they can chose to exit the literary journey and try something different. That’s up to them. All we, as writers, can do, ensure we’ve done our duty to craft and characters and ourselves.

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  4. Thank you, Jami. Perhaps, once I’ve done the rewrite, taking into consideration the critic’s viewpoint, this story will be better than I thought possible.

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  5. Totally understand where you’re coming from. I’ve had one person reading my book and sending daily, almost twice daily, updates on where she’s at and how much she loves it. I know *everyone* doesn’t feel the same way. Then again, I wasn’t thrilled with The DaVinci Code. ((hugs)) and good luck!

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  6. Thank you, Louisa. Like they say, “Vive la difference.” It’s expected to have different tastes. Thanks for stopping by.

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  7. It’s a shame there’s such a strong need within some people to critique the creative output of others. In my opinion we are born to be creative and sending our offerings out into the world is all about connecting with others. Some will relate to our experience and perspective, others will not. But it’s sad that some people have to tear others down. Keep writing! It’s for you and your own well-being and when others are blessed by it that’s an added bonus. Ignore those who want to bring you down. Perhaps if they could find a creative outlet of their own they would feel less negative. More vulnerable perhaps too, but then maybe that would be a good thing. They might think twice about putting the boot in!

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  8. Thank you, Faith. I so appreciate your positive feedback. I think this has been a lesson in being careful to whom an author should send their book or WIP for review. That’s the challenge.

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  9. I loved your post and I have read all these comments and totally agree with all of them. Its just one Critique’s opinion of your work. Take on board their comments and use only what you feel will benefit your story. It is after all “your story” and I’m convinced after reading The Guardians Wildchild there is a publisher out there who will see your vision and snap up your next book. You write with such depth of sincerity that I’m transported into the world and lives of your characters. I can’t wait to read your next book. Keep writing Feather youu’re a brilliant author with a definite fresh approach to story telling.

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  10. Oh heavens, Thank you, Angie. I think I’ve died and gone to heaven. Such wonderful positive feedback. I believe everyone has given me the courage to trust in myself again. Thank you all so very much.

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