Wednesday, March 21, 2012
This post is my late edition of Manuscript In Motion Monday (MIMM). I know, I know, it isn't Monday anymore (nor has it been for several days) but I really struggled coming up with a post for this topic "You Want Me To Write What?", and in truth, almost gave up. Kasey shared an experience of having a friend ask for help with a written legal request, and though feeling inadequate, was able to rise to the task, using her talents and skills with the written word.
I've never done anything like that. I've never been asked to write something out of my comfort zone, and until recently, at least a few of my friends didn't even realize I do write. Why is that? I guess I just don't talk about it much, except on my blog, or with other writer friends.
So as I was formulating a written apology to Kasey for coming up empty with this weeks MIMM post, I had a thought.
It's something I've been wanting to talk about for a few weeks.
Critiques. And I'm not talking about the writer's group kind. I'm talking about the kind we usually label 'reviews' and slap up on Amazon and goodreads, etc.
I've read my share of amazing books. The kind you talk about and blog about and tell your friends about. I have no problem gushing about these books.
I've read my share of so-so books. The kind that were enjoyable to read, but you don't think much about after you turn the last page, and never really mention to others.
And I've read my share of terrible books. The kind that when you get to the end, you think, "Why did I bother to finish?". Those books are the easiest to criticize. And sometimes they are so horrible, I feel compelled to write up a critical review outlining all of their faults.
And then I realize, Why? Who am I to criticize this author? Is my opinion so important, that others should listen and heed?
There's been a few times I've looked a book I hate up on Goodreads to find it has a rather high rating and an equally large fan base. I'm just not one of them. And you know what? That's okay. Not everybody loves every book. But I certainly don't have to verbally attack the author because of it.
Which reminds me of the following Disney villain and one of the things he said:
"In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so."
~ Anton Ego, Disney's Ratatouille
Shannon Hale also weighed in on this topic here.
What do you think, o ye book reviewers and published authors? Is there a place for positive and negative review? Is there a line that reviewers shouldn't cross, or does even the vicious and cruel have a place? If I read a really bad book, should I write an equal review?
Tell me what you think...