Friday, February 18, 2011

Mulling and ruminations...

Fifty five degrees this morning and we have the windows open. Yes, it's February. Yep, I know we'll have to close them up and turn on the heat, but it's nice to have a bit of false spring every once in a while. And I love to open the windows and "air out" the apartment.

Want to thank all of you who stopped by to comment on yesterday's post, either here or at facebook. I really appreciated your thoughts on a difficult subject.

Many of you are writers as well as readers so I'm hoping you'll be able to help me out here with some advice or pointers. For those of you who are also reviewers or editors...I'd like to hear from you as well.

Yesterday I discovered several reviews for my books that I'd never read. Before I even begin here I want to say they were all four stars or better. So, good reviews (as opposed to bad reviews).

But. Yes there is a but in this scenario. The reviews--all by different reviewers--highlighted problems with the stories. They highlighted the same problems with the stories that the reviewer who gave them two stars highlighted.

I like to learn from my reviews. I want to improve my writing. What I don't need is a slam at the reviewer because clearly they don't know what their talking about. Clearly, they do. So here's my question...

Why were these weaknesses in my story not addressed earlier in the critique/editing/beta reading process? Here's my concern--do those around me perceive me as such a bull-headed writer that I would resist making necessary changes? Do even other writers believe I'm too fragile to take constructive criticism? Or are these faults missed in the overall reading at the critique/beta stage because the reading is usually done in chunks rather than a whole piece?

And here's a question for the editors out this part of your responsibility as an editor? And if not, how do I address this issue when I clearly cannot see the problems?

I would prefer to fix the issues in my stories before they are released rather than wait for reviewers to point them out. Let me hasten to say the reviewers were spot on with their reviews. I agree with them. Once they pointed out various points, I see them clearly. :-(

So how do the rest of you wrestle with this problem?



  1. Hi fellow crusader!

    Yes, the sunshine is wonderful! I opened the windows yesterday and enjoyed watching my kitty sniff the outside air.

    I'm not published (yet!) so I don't know how helpful I can be on this subject, but I tend to think that there will always be problems, with any book, that different people might pick out. I don't think anything's ever perfect, and there will always be people there to find those imperfections.

  2. I often wonder that too. I've had a few reviews point out issues that you would think the editor would have caught and ask me to address.
    I'd be curious how others handle this.

    Enjoy the weather. I have my windows open too. Nothing like airing out the winter! :)

  3. Hello, Susan! Nice to meet you! And yep, there is that aspect of writing, too. Never, never reach perfection.

  4. Amber, it's so frustrating! The very points the reviewers bring up could easily be dealt with prior to release. But I only see them when they point them out.

  5. Hi, Anny

    COOL blog!

    Nice to meet you...

    Hopping over from the crusade list to introduce myself and follow.

    The first challenge is up!


  6. The chunk thing is a valid point. As a critique partner, I see a section, and I point out stuff if I see it, but often think my concerns are addressed somewhere else in the manuscript. Or don't see that transitions are missing, etc.

    The editor, on the other hand, has no such excuse.

  7. Crit partners - don't use friends. Editors - make sure they're not writers as well.
    Bottom line - don't let it drive you mad.

  8. Hello Michael! Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting! I appreciate it!

  9. Cindy,
    See, that's what I was thinking. Chunks of manuscript make it tough to catch the black holes.

  10. Ah, yes, Amarinda. I've been down that black hole, also. And you're absolutely correct!

  11. Think of it this way--at least you know for the next time what kind of questions to ask. It doesn't exactly help with the works you've already done, but at least you have some info now to say "the reviewers said x about the last novel, do you find that's a problem here?" Good luck!

    <3 Gina Blechman

  12. hello, I'm crusading by. Nice to meet you, and now following!


  13. Hello Gina!

    You know, I had not thought of that. It's an excellent point! Thank you!