Saturday, May 1, 2010
call the roller
Here's the deal: I don't write for anyone except for me. I write the stories that I like to read, and I write them in the narrative style and voice that I like to read. That's all there is to it.
So, a few years ago, when my agent told me she really liked what I wrote, I was kind of flabbergasted. Go ahead, ask her. I never considered the reality of someone else reading my stuff. I never really sat down and thought about it, but, to be perfectly honest, I don't think I ever wanted anyone to read my stuff. It was all too personal. I never even let my family read what I write until after it's published, and even then it kind of creeps me out.
And friends? They are right out. They will never tell you the truth -- they're always "trying" to be positive and stuff... So, if you are an aspiring author... do yourself a favor and keep your "stuff" away from your "friends."
So you can imagine that when my editor and publisher said they liked what I wrote - and that they wanted to publish this incredibly personal stuff that I had no idea would ever actually be READ by anyone, well... that kind of blew me away, too.
I know. I'm an idiot.
Do I respond to criticism well? I think so. But, of the following: Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, School Library Journal, Horn Book Review, Booklist... all of those sources of criticism, I've always felt incredibly flattered by the way they've carefully observed the things I wrote that I never really intended for any eyes but my own.
But you know what eats me up and gives me those why-did-I-ever-want-to-be-a-writer weeks worse than anything? The things some people post on wide-open, come-as-you-are-and-feel-free-to-abuse-apostrophes internet boards like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads. Really... not kidding... sometimes the things people post on those sites can make me feel suicidal.
So, I'll share with you a complete review that somebody who obtained an advance copy of The Marbury Lens wrote on Goodreads.
Here it is, the entire review:
"Insightful, gripping, innovative, and dark, The Marbury Lens is nonetheless deeply sad and powerfully disturbing."
And, on the surface, I'm like... wow... those are some incredible adjectives that really describe my work. I can totally live with "insightful, gripping, innovative, and dark." After all, some of the greatest books I've ever read have those qualities. Powerful? Yay!!! [ahem. apologies.] And disturbing? Definitely.
But the reviewer gave the book a 3.
3 out of 5 is like a C.
Here's a picture, to prove it:
Things like that kill me.
Things like that make me have those why-did-I-ever-want-to-be-a-writer weeks.
Okay. I'll stop looking now.