Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Simon Complex

Whenever I see a slightly negative review or someone gives me their (unsolicited) opinion on one of my stories, I'm forced to grab onto my chair with both hands to keep from leaping at the monitor. The truth is that some people really do see themselves as Simon Cowell's twin separated at birth. They can be brutal with your story and they're pretty sure they know your characters better than you do.

What do I say to those individuals? Thank you. First, thank you for even bothering with a nobody like me. Second, thank you for giving me something to think about. Third (and this is the most important), thank you for giving me the incentive to push forth and make a name for myself in the world of writing.

Of course, that's not my first reaction. Remember when I said I wanted to leap at the monitor? Well, it's not because I want to give them a big ol hug. LOL Yeah, my initial reaction isn't to grin and go on my merry way. But eventually you settle down and you look at what the person said. Any author worth their salt knows it's important to use those critiques to their advantage. Sometimes the comments/opinions are pure nonsense, but I would be lying if I said I didn't gain at least a little insight into each and every review, reader email, or fellow author's tips.

This post isn't because I got a bad review recently. It's because of something entirely different. Someone said something negative to me personally. I doubt this person even realized what she said. At first I got a little mad, then I decided to use it as incentive. Funny how someone can inspire you when they're really trying to do the exact opposite. LOL

So, to all the Simon Cowells out there. We thank you for the accidental inspiration. *grin*

And now for some other inspiration...yum!


Kelley Nyrae said...

Good for you for turning the situation around and using it to your advantage. That's a hard thing to do.

Oh, and thanks for the inspiration too. he is VERY inspiring!

Regina Carlysle said...

Sometimes people are quick to make judgments, aren't they? As to reviews, these days I take them with a grain of salt. Yeah, it's nice they took the time to review but I often wonder how many of them are 'wannabe' writers and pick to death every little thing. Maybe they, I would have written this differently therefore this sucks. We just never know. I've seen them say, this was good but just too short. So? Why did they choose a short book to review? That makes no sense to me.

I don't overanalyze any review. I take it as one persons opinion and then move on.

In the end, despite another persons criticism, we have to be true to ourselves. I never try to 'correct' myself because another person thinks I should.

Mary Ricksen said...

There are always people who get your story and people who don't. Just keep the positive reinforcement, ignore the negative unless it's constructive.

DanielleThorne said...

That's funny you brought up Simon Cowell. I think about writing and criticism a lot when I watch American Idol. The truth is necessary--even a reviewer must be true to his or her self--but you know what? We or They, don't have to be such a jerk about it. Whenever I read a mean-spirited negative review I don't think badly about the book, I distrust the reviewer. And, I certainly remember that book if I come across it again. So maybe the saying is true--there's no such thing as bad publicity. As far as mean writers taking cheap shots--poo on them. Dust off your shoulder and carry on.

Ashley Ludwig said...

Anne, This is sort of like something I was reading on how to set up a scene the other day - on James Bell's book "Revision and Self Editing".

It went something like this: Give your character an Emotional, knee-jerk reaction, followed by intense thought and deliberation, and finally action - and the decision on what to do about it.

Personal, professional, fictional... Isn't it funny when life imitates art?

My thoughts on criticism of ANY sort? find the strawberry, as my grandmother would say. Leave the rest for the compost pile.

Well done!

Ashley Ludwig said...

Dani - and all - I had to explain to my 5 yo daughter the other night why that man was saying not nice things to people.

I told her that he just speaks his mind, right or wrong. Whether they choose to believe him, or ignore him - is up to the people he's talking to.

And she said, "They should believe him. He's usually right." LOL!

Amy Ruttan said...

Good for you! Actually my Grade 8 teacher told my parents I was dumb and probably wouldn't get very far in life.

Which is crap, because I was in all the advanced classes in highschool. When she showed up at the highschool graduation I tried not to laugh in her face when she saw me on the honor roll.

And thanks for the eye candy today. :D

Anne Rainey said...

Kelley--you're quite welcome!

Regina--I wouldn't say I overanalyze, but there are some reviews that had important info that--at the time--I needed to hear.

Anne Rainey said...

Mary--Constructive, exactly! Writing is a learning process. It's hard to forget that sometimes though.

Danielle--I admit there is one review site that seems to always hate my books, regardless. That's one site that won't get a recommendation from me because I can always tell the reviewer simply has issues with me.

Anne Rainey said...

Ashley--I love your grandma's saying! Perfect! :)

Anne Rainey said...

Amy--for me it was my kindergarten teacher. She hated me. My mom even remembers that woman's attitude towards me. The first day of school she jerked me out of my seat and sat me at an empty table in the back of the class. The rest of the school year I sat alone. If I got to the front of the line when we headed to the cafeteria, she'd grab my arm and push me to the back. She sent notes home about me all the time. I was the quiet, shy, scared of my own shadow type kid. She made kindergarten hell. I'll never forget that woman. Why teachers like that decide to become teachers to begin with is beyond me!

Nicole North said...

You have the right attitude, Anne, and I admire you for that! I'm probably the only person in America who doesn't watch AI but it's because of Simon's rude attitude.

Anne Rainey said...

Nicole--*nods* I've nearly stopped watching several times. I know Simon thinks people watch the show for him and his attitude, but that's not the case. We like it because of the singers...and Ryan. He's pretty funny sometimes. :) I confess, this year I've barely watched. They lost me a few episodes in. It's losing it's appeal for me.