09 September, 2015

Bad Writer

It probably isn't a good idea to write a poor review about another author's work when I'm trying to make a living as one myself.


Yes, and no. Maybe?

I've struggled with this for awhile now, and then came to the conclusion that yes, I should keep my opinion to myself if that opinion isn't going to be helpful.

And no, there are times when I am more of a reader than a writer and my opinion needs to be heard, too.

Maybe it is fine to voice an opinion when I am so moved to do it that it can't be helped, like honest, positive, or glowing reviews that will help generate sales for that author . . .

or like today, when I stopped struggling through a Kindle novel and simply had to say what was on my mind in the form of a review -- because AS a writer, I'd like to know these opinions (good and bad) about my own work so that I can improve my craft.

I won't give the author's name or the book title here because that would be mean, and I didn't write that review with a mean spirit.

Why I chose to do what I did had more to do with the fact that it was a NYT Best Seller, and I still can't figure out how that is possible based on what I read (or, tried to read).

And, no, it isn't a jealousy thing.

In the sixth grade, we were supposed to spend a 'class trip' at a wilderness camp.

We spent all of the fifth grade looking forward to that trip, and then a majority of the sixth grade raising funds for that trip.

There was even a contest to see which of the 3 sixth grade classes could raise the most money.

We had to get shots, have our parents fill out all these forms, and then even go out and buy certain items of clothing and camping gear, too.

Sure, it was a group effort, but as individuals we all had our own ideas about what fun it would be and how best we could raise those funds.

Now, I don't remember the exact details, but ONE kid in another of the sixth grade classes pulled a very stupid stunt that had the adverse effect of causing the principal to CANCEL the trip.

Not only that, but the money we had raised went to the fifth graders, who had a fun time at Cedar Point.

So, along those lines, I feel it is okay to voice an opinion about other writer's work when and if it has an impact on my attempts and those of others out there trying to get ahead in the game, build a following, and generate sales.

When I buy a NYT Best Seller, I don't think it is wrong of me to expect greatness, and when that doesn't occur, I don't believe it is wrong for me to get angry.

If the story is simply boring or doesn't speak to me, I'm not inclined to write a review.

There have been other novels I've read that were meh that I still gave 4 of 5 stars to because I saw potential and felt that the author would only improve with her next story.

But, if I've been fleeced, hoodwinked, and tricked into thinking fun is just up the road only to have that notion yanked out from under me by elementary-level writing, or atrocious grammar, or both, then I get a little pissed and need to vent.

This woman must have thousands of friends to have made the Best Seller list with that book!

I browsed the other reviews and was astonished by the favorable remarks about the story, the author, and even the writing style -- as if we were reviewing two separate novels or something.

They weren't all favorable, though.

As I scrolled down, I started to find reviews that coincided with my own opinion and realized I was on the right page.

Anymore, I have zero respect for or even faith in seeing New York Times Best Seller or Award-Winning Author on the cover of any novel.

I even go so far as to wonder if it isn't a fib sometimes.

BECAUSE the titles of Best Seller and Award Winning speak of greatness, when I end up reading Dick & Jane sentences, confusing POV, and three style types in one chapter as well as bad grammar/spelling/punctuation, this is far from great.

It is frustrating, annoying, and unfair.

Unfair to those of us who put real time, effort, and skill into our work and DON'T have the good fortune of being able to show off the NYT boost on our covers.

This novel read like a rough first draft, and for all I know, it could have been just that. She whipped the thing up in a few days (or hours), sent it off to her publisher, and somewhere inside that office, it was sent to publish now instead of the editing department.

And, the author just shrugged and said, okay!

I will not be 'buying' anymore online novels for awhile now.

I'm through wasting my money on mediocre and high school level 'needs tons of work' stories that are mysteriously hitting the best seller lists.

For a reason that still escapes me.

I will stick with the library and check out the older, well-established authors.

Writers who know how to enchant, cast spells, weave magic, and transport me into another world with both style and grace while also helping me to improve my own writing.

No more class clown stunts that spoil it for everyone else and put all of our hard work, time, effort, and excitement to shame, thank you very much.

Your comments, thoughts, suggestions, issues, and insight are always welcome. Please feel free to reply to any of my posts.

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