Don’t Do This At Home

The great thing about writing is that you’re always learning something.  Maybe it’s a big something or a small something, but it’s always a something.

Sometimes, it’s something you discover as you write–an aha moment, if you will.  Sometimes you set out with a really great idea, only to have it backfire.  This is a story of the latter.

I decided I would start reading online reviews of books.  Sometimes books I had read, sometimes books in the category I wanted to be published in.  I thought this would give me an idea of what readers were looking for, maybe a few ‘not-to-dos’.

Yeah, a few of you can probably see where this is going.

This is where the old saying you can please some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time comes into play.  You see, if you try to avoid everything a bunch of different reviewers don’t like… there’s nothing left to write.  (Big duh, right?)

But it wasn’t just that problem, I also began to think about what reviewers might say about my work.  Would they think my heroine too stupid too live?  My conflict trite?  My hero a total asshat?

Talk about paralyzing.  This isn’t the kind of serious introspection good writers need.  This is the kind of self-doubt that leaves you accomplishing absolutely nothing and wondering if anything you write is worthwhile.

The thing is, not everyone is going to love your book.  Not everyone loves Gone With the Wind, right?   I don’t understand people that don’t, but they exist, and I suppose they are entitled to their opinion, wrong as it may be.

Bottom line, you have to decide who to listen to.  You have to decide what story you want to tell.  Editors, CPs, trusted friends, etc. might be a good viewpoint, some stranger on the internet?  Maybe not so much.  In the end, you have to listen to yourself, not all the other voices out there.

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