The Not-So-Stellar Book Reviews

open white pages book

Today, I received a two-star rating on my debut novel, Passage of Promise. It was my first two-star review out of twenty that have been mostly five and four stars.

As a newly-published author, I expected to receive some ratings that judged my work mediocre. It is part of the life of an author.

Even top, best-selling authors get one-star and two-star reviews, some, unfortunately, with a few nasty remarks. It’s par for the course in the realm of the author’s world, as I said.

Experienced authors have always given the advice to newer authors that they must grow thick skins and not take reviews that aren’t spectacular to heart.

I found the two-star anonymous reviewer’s comments pretty fair. Not everyone is going to like my storyline or my writing style.

This is natural.

As a reader myself, I too, pick up books to read, and come to the same conclusions. Although, if I don’t like the writing style, I don’t buy the book, so I may be even more picky than my two-star reviewer!

The latest book I bought and am having a struggle getting through, I read the first few pages on Amazon and tended to like it because I thought the writing style was pretty good.

But I admit now that the storyline so far has been dragging, and I’m finding it easy to set down the book. The story just isn’t drawing me in to the point where I feel compelled to keep reading it.

Therefore, I understand everybody’s tastes are different, and that each author has her/his niche readers. And that’s good enough for me.

New writers out there and newly-published writers, don’t be discouraged if or when you may get a negative or lower-starred review. Count it as a good thing.

There are three things good about even two-star reviews that are somewhat negative, especially the one I received:

  1. The comments weren’t really insulting.
  2. The person took the time to leave a review.
  3. You learn what each reader gleans from your novel.

For someone who doesn’t really have a high self-esteem, I do know my writing is good, that my stories are worth sharing, and I appreciate the feedback.

Newly-published writers, keep writing and keep publishing your work. There are enough readers out there for each of us.

 

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Numerous Projects Make an Author Blissfully Happy

this is good

Writers, are you in the midst of typing up/penning a novel? A short story? Have you finished the first draft? Or have you gotten so far as to have your book published already? Do you have any other books lined up for revisions, or a fresh story in the wings?

Please tell me you don’t have writer’s block. Tell me you have ideas blossoming in your mind like daffodils in the springtime.

I mean, what’s better than having a plethora of writing projects to dive into each day?

You put one story aside after its latest revisions, and grab another one waiting to be revised. And then a third one you’re in the midst of writing that is as fresh as washed linens drying on a clothesline on a warm, sunny day?

This week, I’ve gotten extremely positive feedback from fellow writers/critiquers on the ending of my novel, What She Didn’t Know. Overall complete positive feedback on this story. They helped clean up this story.

I’ll put What She Didn’t Know aside after this week and concentrate on my novella, Mourning Dove, coming up next in the queue.

Then I’ll go back to What She Didn’t Know and clean/revise the Word doc to match the changes I made in the critique queue.

So excited!

Oh, and today is the publisher’s meeting to look over and discuss my novel, Passage of Promise’s proposal. I will see in about a week’s time if they accept it.

I think What She Didn’t Know is my strongest story and could be my breakout novel. I’m thrilled I have so many projects to keep me busy and I’m not having writer’s block right now!

If only I could revise and write faster. Haha!

Happy writing, my friends!

 

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Plethora of Promising Projects

write and ideas

Last night, I started having the desire to write something new… a new story. I had an idea of one I’d thought of several months ago in which I wrote a couple pages of notes. I actually wrote an opening, full page, but since then, it’s sunk to the bottom of the trash bin of writing ideas and mediocre beginnings that have turned into dust bunnies.

Then I told myself I have so many stories I’ve written that needed to be revised, rewritten, strengthened, tightened, and polished, so I don’t need to worry about another story at this time. Truly, I have several stories written from 2014 to 2019 that I believe have the potential to be transformed into real gems.

Two novels:

Passage of Promise — Took me four and a half years to write, revise, rewrite, and edit. It’s still in the hands of the publisher I queried. Waiting to see if they accept my manuscript.

What She Didn’t Know — my most recent finished draft as of the summer of 2019. Took me a year and a half to write it. It is the longest novel I’ve ever written. At present, it is going through my online critique group. It’s my most complex and profound book I’ve written so far–three broken sisters, their encounters with relationships and life events.

Novella:

Mourning Dove — I ran it through my critique group a year or so ago. After running it through, I made the suggested changes, and I also added new scenes to make the story more comprehensive and complete. Gabby, a young widow, tries to help her deceased husband’s homeless cousin back on his feet, but a messy run in with another homeless man brings violent retaliatory behavior upon the cousin and envelopes Gabby into the vortex of that violence. I plan to run it back through my group after What She Didn’t Know is finished in the critique queue.

Novelette:

The Rocky Retreat — I’ve only run this story halfway through my critique group a couple of years ago. It’s a controversial piece having to do with contention between environmentalists and 2nd Amendment activists set in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. It is satire and supposed to be more humor than reality. I have some questions on its plot–if it’s strong enough. Even though it’s supposed to be fun and entertaining, the plot needs to be there and concrete. Therefore, I’ll be running the whole story through the critique queue probably after Mourning Dove.

Short Stories:

Incident at Coral Canyon — a middle school/children’s book on bullying encountering mysticism. It was the first story I picked up a pencil and wrote on paper in 2014 after nearly eighteen years of treading in the writing desert. Last month, I worked on revising this from third person omniscient to close third person point of view, as well as overall revising, cleaning up some of the syntax and word usages. This is further back on the shelf of works to complete and introduce to my critique group.

Remember the Daisies — A touching story of an elderly woman’s memories and loss. This story was inspired by a real-life event in my neighborhood back in Lancaster, PA, that I used loosely to create a unique story for my fiction writing class in college at the time. I ran it through my critique group after I’d written up the first draft and got great responses, most of which were how touching it was and how much they liked the story, more than critiques on anything regarding plot, character, or tightening of sentences. I will run this back through my critique group sometime after the others.

 

As you can see, I really have no reason to start another story at this time. I’m thinking, when the time is right, a new, brilliant idea and storyline will come to me, and I think it’ll be after a few of the projects I mentioned above are done and published. God willing!

A whole stack of stories to work on. What could be better? Life is good.

What writing projects are you working on?

 

 

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