Monday, March 5, 2012

What I've Learned So Far

First of all, I apologize for posting this a day late. We had inventory at the store I work at and we've all been running around making sure it would go smoothly.


Negative reviews are something all authors, especially new authors, fret over. We've all read those obnoxiously scathing GoodReads reviews and I'm sure we've all felt terrified over possibly having one of those users write a review for our books. If not, then I commend you for having a thick skin.

The thing about negative reviews, though, is they're inevitable and, if they're well-written, they can be extremely useful. As a writer, I'm continuously growing and learning what works and what doesn't. In these past few months I've seen incredible growth, if I may say so, which makes me happier beyond belief. And part of this new and improved me is, surprisingly, due to some less flattering reviews of my work. So, here are a couple of things I've learned and what I'm doing to fix those issues:

-I gloss over bits of information or action scenes --> Instead of censoring my writing to avoid being too descriptive, I've been working on writing more than I have to so I have a more expansive scene to work with later. It's easier to improve something when there's more to work with, I think. Then again, I've been told my descriptions are spot-on and wonderful, so I suppose this point could be one of opinion.

-My characters drink a lot of water --> In an effort to make mundane activities a little more apparent in stories (I mean, really, why don't more characters have to go to the bathroom??), I made the mistake of repeating certain actions. I didn't mean to, of course, but things like getting a glass of water were apparently too frequent. So, I've been making sure I include less of that and keeping tally of how many times it occurs so I can go back and remove some instances.


Now, here are a few things I've learned from positive reviews:

-I have a sense of humor. --> I had no idea I could successfully write humor. I like to think I can be pretty funny in real life, but I've aways wondered if my humor came through in my stories. It's nice to know that it does and that I'm not the only one chuckling.

-My use of alternating POVs worked --> I had never written from two POVs before Hunted, so I was worried I wouldn't pull it off, but this is one thing people have consistently pointed out as a positive feature of the book. Yay, me! :-)

-My werewolves are believable --> One of the goals I had for Hunted was to make my werewolves not only believable, but very grounded in reality. I didn't want them to be a sort of mystical occurrence or a scientific mishap. I knew they had to be in between those things and I'm glad to know people are responding well to the realism I've tried to bring to my wolves.


So, all in all, while I don't like reading negative reviews on my work, I like to view them as constructive criticism and take away as much as I can from them. It's important for writers to use people's opinions to help point out their weaknesses and show them how they can improve. Sometimes we need an outside viewer to open our eyes to our areas in need of improvement, even if that viewer can be a bit harsh.

Besides, you can always go read a glowing review to make you feel better afterwards, haha! :-D


  1. Good for you, DJ!
    Thoughtful, constructive criticism is extremely helpful.
    Rude, snarky, malicious "reviews" may be entertaining to some, but I never take them seriously, whether it's for my book or someone else's. I block those kinds of reviewers from my goodreads.

  2. That's wonderful, DJ! You have a great perspective on reviews, both good and bad. Thanks for sharing it :)

  3. I am seriously excited to read this new book!!

  4. It's so nice to hear how a published author still learns and grows, especially in the face of criticism.