Views And Reviews
The mad month of November, writing frantically to hit my fifty thousand word target for the NaNoWriMo event, has left me with a very almost ready to publish book, and some pretty rotten habits. For the duration of the competition, it’s considered fair play to ignore the world, stop brushing your hair, and leave those daily tasks that always seemed essential to do, undone.
I’m now using the cold turkey method to cure myself of my cheese pancake addiction, brought about by deciding to eat nothing more complicated till the word target was reached, and trying very hard to remember how much fun it used to be to wash dishes regularly. Those are the only downsides as far as the whole thing was concerned for me.
The lightbulb moments of the past month far outweigh them though. I’ve learned that if you want to write a book, just write on through, and don’t allow yourself to edit it until it’s done. With African Me, I was scanning everything previously written every time I sat down to continue with the story, and by the time you get to seventy thousand words, that becomes a chore, so it’s no wonder it took so long to finish. The speed that Shadow People was written in also left no time to agonise over whether it had a good dialogue to descriptive ratio, and now that I’m editing it, I see that it’s turned out very well in that department. The story flows well, and I really like what I’m reading. Again, another clue as to my snails pace with the first book. I spent far too much time trying to change perfectly good descriptions into dialogues, and trying to think as a “reader”. All in all, I’ve learned more in thirty days than I learned since I hesitantly wrote my first sentence, and I won’t make those mistakes again.
While I was “away”, the writing world seems to have been turned upside down a little, by Amazon’s decision to take down reviews by authors. Arguments for and against this decision are all over the place. Only having my two short stories published so far, and them only having a couple of reviews each, I don’t feel very strongly about the whole thing. I have written a few reviews for books that I’ve enjoyed, given my honest opinions of them, and I feel a little bad that the authors of those books might lose them. I understand very well how hard it is to be an independent author. It’s hard to get noticed amongst the millions of others out there, no matter how good you are. So in my small way, to try and make up for this rather large blow, I’m going to feature one of my own favourite writers, and review one of their books, on my blog site each month.
I will say though, E L James, author of the notorious 50 Shades of Grey (never read it and not likely to) will probably open the bubbly if she loses most of her 14 548 mostly bad reviews. She’s rolling in cash regardless of the three overall stars for the book, and the paltry 186 “likes”. She succeeded because she cashed in on the fact that people like to read what she wrote, badly written or not. I’m not saying that you have to write about bonking to make a buck. Look at the success that Kathryn Stockett’s, The Help has had, and that was turned down by dozens of agents and publishers to begin with. I’m just saying that if people like to read your book, more will buy it, regardless of how many glowing or scathing reviews that you have. Still, I know how hard the marketing is, so in an attempt to make those of my writer friends feel better about things in general, I will leave you with one of E L James’ first reviews, very probably by an author:-
2.0 out of 5 stars Did a teenager write this??? April 15, 2012
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
I really don’t like writing bad reviews. I admire people who have the courage to put pen to paper and expose themselves to the whole world, especially those writing erotica. Having just finished this book, however, I feel compelled to write a review.
About half way through the book, I looked up the author to see if she was a teenager. I really did because the characters are out of a 16 year old’s fantasy. The main male character is a billionaire (not a millionaire but a billionaire) who speaks fluent French, is basically a concert level pianist, is a fully trained pilot, is athletic, drop dead gorgeous, tall, built perfectly with an enormous penis, and the best lover on the planet. In addition, he’s not only self made but is using his money to combat world hunger. Oh yeah, and all of this at the ripe old age of 26! And on top of that, he’s never working. Every second is spent having sex or texting and emailing the female character. His billions seem to have just come about by magic. It seriously feels like 2 teenage girls got together and decided to create their “dream man” and came up with Christian Grey.
Then come the sex scenes. The first one is tolerable but as she goes on, they become so unbelievable that it becomes more laughable than erotic. She orgasms at the drop of a hat. He says her name and she orgasms. He simply touches her and she orgasms. It seems that she’s climaxing on every page.
Then there’s the writing. If you take out the parts where the female character is blushing or chewing her lips, the book will be down to about 50 pages. Almost on every single page, there is a whole section devoted to her blushing, chewing her lips or wondering “Jeez” about something or another. Then there’s the use of “shades of”. He’s “fifty shades of @#$%% up,” “she turned 7 shades of crimson,” “he’s ten shades of x,y, and z.” Seriously?
The writing is just not up to par, the characters are unbelievable, and the sex verges on the comical. I don’t know what happens in the remaining books and I do not intend to read them to find out. But given the maturity level of the first book, I imagine that they get married, have 2 perfect children, cure world hunger, and live happily ever after while riding into the sunset, as the female character climaxes on her horse causing her to chew her bottom lip and blush fifty shades of crimson. Jeez!
And that is not the worst one by far. This one and others like it never stopped anyone buying it, and to be honest, I personally never let a review, good or bad, affect my decision to buy a book. If I like it I’ll have it, and if I don’t I won’t.
Till next time friends. xxx
7 thoughts on “Views And Reviews”
December 7, 2012 at 9:25 am
Go Jo!! I agree with this entire post!
December 7, 2012 at 10:37 am
Thank you Mz Orbell. Oh, and by the way, prepare to be the victim of my very first author feature and review. Thought I should mention it. 🙂
December 7, 2012 at 5:47 pm
That’s interesting and a very good argument for the GoodReads community. How do we get people to read ‘Fifty Shades of Good Genre Writing’? I include sex and other things in my writing to give my characters depth and the reader interest. Some readers feel it goes over and others have told me it is just right.
A very good argument for writing what you would like to read and putting it up.
December 8, 2012 at 5:08 am
That’s the thing. Your writing talent exceeds E L James by miles, and your bonking to doing other things ratio in your books is well balanced. You have good reviews. Why then is 50 Shades selling hundreds of thousands? Success doesn’t always seem to hinge on talent or good reviews.
December 7, 2012 at 5:47 pm
Reblogged this on Angus48's Blog and commented:
My daily dose of Jo. It’s like a vitamin.
December 8, 2012 at 5:02 pm
I totally agree that in 1st draft you should just plough on and finish it, no matter what. I think you should read 50 Shades, though, and make up your own mind 😉
December 9, 2012 at 1:38 pm
Maybe I should read it, and see what all the fuss is about. 😉