Saturday, April 16, 2011

How to read a review

I love a good review. What writer doesn't? Sometimes I feel like a chimp scribbling in a cave, here, with very little feedback from anyone but my editor and my best friend (who still thinks its amazing that I've been published at all, so the bar is a little low). The positive feedback is heaven. AND a well-written review can give you some clues as to what you are doing right. Which is super nice.

But I get icky reviews. sad face. Of course I do. I'm not going to point them out because a: I'm not telling you this so you can go kick the crud out of that mean reviewer. and b: I'm kind of hoping that minimal attention will make the review disappear, if not from the internet, at least from my memory.

But what to do with it? I mean, it's a well thought out review. Written by an intelligent person who knows the biz.

Let me tell you about my very first bad review:

I was in fifth grade and had just written what I felt was an interesting and exciting story about a dog who defended a child from some bad person. I felt that it was the most brilliant and facinating thing I had ever penned. It was written as an assignment and when the teacher spoke to the class, having graded our stories and before handing them back, she offered up two which she hoped we would use as examples. One being an example of a good story, the other an example of a horrid one.

Guess whose was the horrid story?

Sad face. With tear.

After the mortification, instead of hating the teacher, whom I actually adored. Instead of complaining to my mother or my best friend. I studied the notes on the paper. It was kind of hard to ignore the big fat red 'D' at the top, but I think I have managed after a couple of decades to avoid the errors that my fifth grade teacher pointed out. Now I've got a whole nest of new nasty habits and problems, of course, but I'm slowly scaling the mountain and I hope I get a little better every time.

So, what to do with a bad review?

Learn from it. And next time, write better.

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