It’s just this simple.
If your reader is pulled out of the world you have created, for any reason that’s not real life, you have failed.
I’ve always known this intellectually, but it hit me full force this morning, when I was reading over the edits one of my betas sent. All those ‘little’ mistakes she caught were places where my words pulled her out of the story. Where I failed in effectively painting a picture she could immerse herself completely in.
That being said, you’ll make mistakes. You’ll make mistakes that aren’t caught. That’s the nature of being human; of having a brain that moves faster than your fingers can type. And that’s okay. If the story is strong enough, if the lure of the plot is human enough, you’ll be forgiven those errors in typing. Some of my favorite best-selling authors have mistakes scattered in their novels. And yet I’ve read their books over and over and over, until the covers are worn and the pages are thin.
Forgive yourself and move on.
Bad reviews do not a death sentence make. I’m no expert on them. I only have 16 reviews on Amazon and a handful more than that on Goodreads. And, I’ll admit, the first bad one about laid me out. In it, the reviewer called my writing ‘worse quality than a high school essay’, lacking in adjectives and said my plot was confusing. I took a week to vent and cry and wonder if I was an idiot in thinking my book ‘baby’ was even remotely worth it.
Then I pulled up my big girl panties.The first thing I did was look up other books she had reviewed and guess what? They were all of a genre my book wasn’t. No wonder she didn’t like it.
As cruel as that first review was, it made me think. It made me more conscious of the adjectives I wanted to use for my next work in progress. So as badly as it hurt my feelings, I was still able to take something away from it that is helping me create another book…and how can that be a bad thing for a writer?
Sometimes reviewers will devastate you. It’s like they forget that you’re a living, breathing person on the other side of that review. Someone who poured blood, sweat, tears and many, many hours of work into their writing. And, believe it or not, that’s their prerogative. What you need to do is realize that it’s just their opinion. As long as you’re not being personally attacked, it’s just. their. opinion. Not everyone will like what you write.
And that’s perfectly all right.
You’re an author. Shrug it off and keep on keepin’ on. It’s worth it.
1st Corinthians 13:11 says, ‘When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.’
When I was a kid I was sure best friends were a one on one proposition: only one per customer, please! As though the heart isn’t big enough to hold more than one person in its embrace. Oh, I had close friends, dear friends. But only one of them was a ‘best’ friend.
Then I grew up and life changed. High school brought two ‘best’ friends: my closest female friend and my soon-to-be husband. Sure, there was stuff I could tell the female ‘version’ that I couldn’t share with my boyfriend. But that was normal, right?
A move to another state and a job brought someone else into my life: another person I connected with on that deep emotional level. My husband and I drifted apart, I met another individual and we just ‘clicked’.
Now, 22 years after that move, I find myself with an entire ‘tribe’ of close friends: people I connect with in all my geeky, nerdy glory. *And* I have three ‘best’ friends: my (now) husband, a woman who is my lifeline in times of stress and fun, and someone who has seen me through hell and back.
And I love every single one of them.
I’m a firm believer in ‘when God shuts a door, he opens a window’. Or ‘when God shuts one door, he opens another door.’
Either way you look at it, I have a tribe. And they are awesome.