I am posting this as an article for people to take note.
As a writer, I try to perfect my work as best as I can. I can’t tell you how many times I reread what I’ve written to make sure I’m getting what I want to say, across to my readers. I have other people review it even before I submit it to my editor for a hopeful acceptance on their part.
Even after one of my manuscripts has been accepted, I appreciate what the editor has to say. Especially when they make a suggestion constructively and in a positive manner. I feel they know what they’re talking about and I will gladly change what they feel should be changed.
There is only one manuscript I’ve written in which it was suggested I change, but morally I couldn’t do it. It is unpublished as of now.
When Flag on the Play was being edited, I had several people review it. I can’t tell you how pleased I was when the editor said, ‘good job,’ or it would sound better if you explained it this way.’ Sure! Not a problem!
I’ve received editors who have said, ‘this character is too mean. No one is like that.’ Um. Have you met my husband’s aunt? But I changed it anyway. I felt she knew what works to sell your book.
We work long and hard with our editors to make a finished product. We can’t please everyone and understand that point. When I read my reviews (which is really hard), I take notice of what the negative comments say. ‘This plot was all over the place.’ Why did you think so? ‘This was boring, I couldn’t finish it.’ Why did you think it was boring? What were you looking for?
I think it’s me. When I get down, I have a tendency to read other authors work and I find solace that they suffer as I do. So much, when they write one of their characters as an author who receives bad reviews, the truth is told. It’s not just me.
As an example, one of my many favorite authors is Sandra Brown. When I moved to Texas (where she’s from), I had never heard of her. I went to the library and devoured everything she had written. There was only one story I didn’t care for but it was a different genre she had tried. But I didn’t write a scathing review. As an author, she is entitled to try different genres.
Imagine my surprise, just last week in The Dallas Morning News Sunday edition, the reviewer just ripped her newest work apart. The reviewer said it was so boring and predictable. It was as if Ms. Brown just took a formula from her past books and blah, blah, blah. Was that necessary? I didn’t find this very constructive.
As I work on my two manuscripts, side by side, I remember what my negative critics say. I try not to have the plot all over the place and I try not to make it too boring and I try not to make the characters so mean (you really do have to meet this aunt) in order to make it a better story for you to enjoy. Isn’t that what you want to read?