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"Lame" but true

Yes, I keep telling myself to stop reading reviews of my work. And no, I never listen to my own advice.

Google alerts pinged me and told me something was new or different on the Amazon.ca page of PsyCop:Partners, so I looked at it and couldn't really say why Google Alerts thought anything of it. I noticed some reviews and wondered if they were the same ones from Amazon.com, and saw that I had a two-star (kind of unusual). I read it, and realized it was a nasty zinger of a review I'd already read on someone's blog a few months ago.

How did I recognize it? The words "lame" and "eye-roll inducing" are kind of hard to forget when used in conjunction with something you wrote.

I'm really pissed off at myself for getting sucked in. I took some time off the day job to finish the current draft of PsyCop 4 and now I just want to sit and sulk.

I think some people don't realize how small the internet can be. Would they call my story "eye-roll inducing" to my face? I doubt it. Would someone brag, "Oh, I just found a site where I can download all these e-books for free!" if they knew the authors were all sitting there watching them, going, "Thanks a lot. You can't pay two bucks for my stinkin' e-book?"

Lately I make sure I don't say anything snarky about even a big celebrity online without friendslocking it first. I would hate to be the one whose shitty offhand comment made someone give up writing.

On one hand, I'm pleased PsyCop:Partners ranks #8 in Gay Fiction at Amazon.ca even though it's not even particularly new. But on the other, it's so true that one deliberately nasty review is really enough to throw me off my game. (julia_talbot just posted something to that effect less than a week ago and I hadn't realized I would get zapped by Review-Vitriol again quite so soon.)

Comments

( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
cynbaby
Feb. 27th, 2008 05:37 pm (UTC)
Hey, if it's any consolation, I'm on bedrest this week and the paperback version of PsyCop is on my nightstand to help keep boredom away. ^_^
jordan_c_price
Feb. 27th, 2008 06:15 pm (UTC)
It does console me, quite a bit! I'm going to go have a stab at PsyCop 4 after lunch instead of sulking for the whole day.

(Love your icon, BTW. I always wanted to be a witch.)
cbpotts
Feb. 27th, 2008 05:39 pm (UTC)
People don't think. I've had reviews that knock me over, cold, wanting to die.

But worse, for me, is all the reviews that say "Surprisingly well-written." Do they HAVE to say surprisingly? Did they expect me to drool on the pages and write in crayon?

(Mind you, when that's the review of a ghost book, it doesn't bother me as much...)
jordan_c_price
Feb. 27th, 2008 06:18 pm (UTC)
ALL the reviews that say "surprisingly well-written?" That would be a big head-scratcher for me. What's the surprise? I'd get pissed off about it, too, because it's such a backhanded compliment. (Can't say the image of you writing in crayon with your tongue caught between your teeth in concentration isn't hilarious, though ;-)

I think it would be a different flavor of pissed-off than the one I get for people who show off being snarky and hurt authors' feelings.
byrne
Feb. 27th, 2008 06:20 pm (UTC)
As I said to Julia -- I no longer read reviews of anything I've written. They either hurt too much ("the author clearly didn't have her heart into this one" about Natural Disaster, the book I wept my way through) or are so full of inaccuracies that they're laughable. I just don't go there any more.

jordan_c_price
Feb. 27th, 2008 06:53 pm (UTC)
Shit, my heart aches for you just reading that quote. Now I'm feeling indignant more than hurt.

I know what you mean about the inaccuracies. One reviewer called Jacob a "stiffie" instead of a "Stiff." I thought, well, he probably HAS one, but that doesn't mean he IS one.

(Possibly certain characters would disagree with me.)

That was one of the cuter inaccuracies, obviously.
seanmegansean
Feb. 27th, 2008 08:13 pm (UTC)
I can totally understand that one bad review can affect you like that, but I do hope you won't let it get to you for long. I love all the books about Vic and Jacob, and as somebody who's read about 200 books/stories of torquere's catalogue in the last year, let me tell you that your books are clearly in the top five percent, quality-wise. And yeah, that might not mean much since we don't know each other that well and all, but still, I'm a literature major who's read quite a few non-glbt themed books as well, so maybe I'm not utterly unqualified to say something ;) And even if I were (unqualified), I'm still going to take all the PsyCops with me when I go on holiday. Because rereading them just ten times each just isn't enough - and because rereading them again and again helps me picture them 'now', in their new place, having a housewarming party - maybe with Maurice and even Lisa - christening everything in sight, and a great new case. Well, and a few minor (!)obstacles in their relationship that are overcome and leave them happier and more content than ever. A bit like the one story with them on that icing rink and Jacob asking "Do you have any idea how happy you make me?" That just left me with a big ol' smile on my face and totally made my day when I first read it. In fact, it does make me feel warm and fuzzy whenever I read it. So yeah, long story short, I really hope you can put this behind you quickly. Some people are just bastards and don't have enough going on in their lives.

jordan_c_price
Feb. 27th, 2008 09:21 pm (UTC)
I get such a big kick out of knowing that you enjoy the stories after reading them more than once! (And I hope you get to take them somewhere really exotic and warm when you go on holiday!)

I think I'm over the snarky-assed review. It wasn't the first time I'd seen it, after all, but it really did piss me off that the reviewer went out of her way to besmirch me on Amazon. And then it pissed me off that I let myself get sucked in and read her comment even though I knew I was embarking on my several-days-off-to-write timeline.

I am getting close to sending PsyCop 4 off for edits! Yay!
seanmegansean
Mar. 2nd, 2008 11:42 am (UTC)
I'm glad you're feeling better about it :D

And YAY indeed for part 4 being on its way!! :D
anahcrow
Feb. 27th, 2008 08:29 pm (UTC)
My favourite comment (from WAY back when) was an email that said, "It was good, but it didn't sound like you. I wish you would go back to writing like yourself." I mean. What? WHAT? I wrote it with mine own ickle fingers!

I'm sorry you're being affected by stuff like this. I hope you sail past it and are on to writing more. :)
(Deleted comment)
jordan_c_price
Feb. 27th, 2008 09:33 pm (UTC)
Re: bad review
But then the person who originally posted the review had to muster the energy to put it on Amazon!

Hi Val! I think that what really burnt my toast was that she did take the time & effort to smear me on Amazon. That's just really lousy.

And because you brought it up, I will admit that I did peek at her other reviews to see if they were slamfests. They weren't, for the most part.

There was a comment in one review that I'll paraphrase (since I don't want to go back and look at her stuff any more closely than I absolutely have to!) and that was: I would have given this book 5 stars instead of 4, but instead of telling me what the characters felt, the author chose to demonstrate it through the way they acted and the things they did.

Hello! Show-not-tell is only one of the very first things you learn!

Knowing that she was a literary knucklehead helped take the sting out of the review. But I do keep coming back to, "Geez, did she have to do that on Amazon? Cripes."

I also can't seem to let go of "eye-roll inducing."

Thanks for all the kind words, though. She didn't knock me out of the writer's chair for more than a couple of hours. Nothing a half bag of Heath-bits couldn't cure.
anahcrow
Feb. 27th, 2008 10:22 pm (UTC)
instead of telling me what the characters felt, the author chose to demonstrate it through the way they acted and the things they did.

Oh, mercy. I'm glad I wasn't drinking anything when I read that! I laughed out loud and scared the dog. That's a hell of a COMPLIMENT. She must be a literary knucklehead.
jordan_c_price
Feb. 27th, 2008 10:39 pm (UTC)
Tee hee, you scared the dog.

I went to this writing workshop last summer where my teacher was all about the subtext. If anything was demonstrable within the text or dialogue and you went and spelled it out to the reader, he was like, "Cut it out! You don't need that. You're explaining what just happened. We all read it."
byrne
Feb. 27th, 2008 10:29 pm (UTC)
Re: bad review
I would have given this book 5 stars instead of 4, but instead of telling me what the characters felt, the author chose to demonstrate it through the way they acted and the things they did.

.... Can I ask if that was left on one of mine? Because this was said to me in an e-mail once.
jordan_c_price
Feb. 27th, 2008 10:37 pm (UTC)
Re: bad review
LOL, no she didn't do you the honor of providing her opinion on any of your books! She did zing Julia T, though.

Here was the actual line:
"The characters' feelings were easy enough to see, but they were always implied by their actions rather than shown through their thoughts."

Which I guess is what I said.
byrne
Feb. 27th, 2008 10:38 pm (UTC)
Re: bad review
*eyeROLL*

We write for smart people. Keep that firmly in mind, darling.
jordan_c_price
Feb. 27th, 2008 10:43 pm (UTC)
Re: bad review
We write for smart people.
I totally love that. Thank you :D
jordan_c_price
Feb. 27th, 2008 09:25 pm (UTC)
"It was good, but it didn't sound like you. I wish you would go back to writing like yourself."
Yow! That is a really weird criticism.

Were you experimenting with a different voice? I'm just curious because it got me to thinking that I do have different voices in my various storyverses. I try to make PsyCop consistent with PsyCop, but I wouldn't want a non-PsyCop novel to sound exactly like it, if that makes any sense.

I would imagine that all authors have their stylistic idiosyncrasies that they carry over without knowing it, which probably then becomes known as their writerly voice.

I'm guessing the comment was out of left field, though, otherwise it wouldn't have left you scratching your head! :D
anahcrow
Feb. 27th, 2008 10:20 pm (UTC)
I think my writing was definitely maturing overall. If I'd been writing WORSE, I could have understood the complaint. I have no idea if I have a 'writerly voice' but apparently I do and someone liked my old one better!

I know what you mean about being consistent within a story. Every story needs to have its own diction/dialect/idiom for me. I use language very deliberately to separate stories.
jordan_c_price
Feb. 27th, 2008 10:42 pm (UTC)
I think my writing was definitely maturing overall.
That's what I figured judging by your surprise at the comment :-)
andrea__88
Mar. 3rd, 2008 06:45 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry about the bad review. I just wanted to say that I am reading the PsyCop books for the fourth time, eagerly awaiting the new book. I enjoy them and the last line of book one still makes me smile. I've even bought copies and sent them to a friend in Australia to spread the love. :o)
jordan_c_price
Mar. 3rd, 2008 02:22 pm (UTC)
Wow, that's so cool! I love it that you're coming back for multiple readings.

It's weird to think my writing is seeing Australia before I am! (Doesn't cost quite as much to send a book or an ebook as it does a person, though!)
andrea__88
Mar. 3rd, 2008 03:04 pm (UTC)
I love the books and can't wait for the next installment. I would love to find out more about Camp Hell and Crash.

She can't get them over there without paying an arm and a leg for shipping. It's cheaper if I just send them to her. One day I'll have to deliver them in person ;o)
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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