Good Writing Is In The Eye Of The Beholder by Prudence Hayes

I will not deny that I don’t handle criticism well, especially in my writing.  Outwardly, I say ‘okay’, but inward there are flames galore and my heart is twisted in knots.  I have a few reviews on Amazon for my book and most are great. There is one, though, that has been chasing me ever since it was posted.  It’s like someone holding a chalkboard in their hands and following me throughout the day dragging their long nails across it.  I try and push it far back in my mind, but it has the strength to pop up and show its appearance at the most inopportune times.  Typically, it’s when I’m writing, which I then, throw my pen across the room and a downward spiral is kick started, during which I tell myself that I suck. Then, I have to talk myself off a ledge and push that bad review to the way back again.  I know; I’m a mess.

During my crisis negotiations with myself, I constantly say that good writing is in the eye of the beholder.  Just because this one person doesn’t like my writing doesn’t mean that it is horrible, it just means he doesn’t like my style.  There have been plenty of books that have been between my hands and I have had to place them right back on the shelf because I couldn’t get through them. We all have different ways in writing. If I wrote like you, I wouldn’t be me and my books would be yours not mine. 

There will be a day when a professional editor will read my books and they will probably have a field day.   I will try and take the constructive criticism in stride, even though I will be fuming inside.  I will take all the editing help that is thrown my way, commas and punctuation are a pain in my a**, but what I refuse to do is eliminate myself from my writing.  I don’t want to disappear in words that aren’t really mine and I don’t want those words to come out the way that they weren’t intended to by me. 

To some, it may be overly wordy and extensively adjective-infused writing and to others it is poetic and beautiful.

To some, it may be stark and bland and to others it is concise and to the point.  It all depends on the beholder of the book.  To each his own, I say to that bad reviewer.
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7 thoughts on “Good Writing Is In The Eye Of The Beholder by Prudence Hayes

  1. I feel the same way about reviews which is why I’ve made a promise to never read another review of my book. Since I’m the author, and therefore God, I’ll decide what I’ll correct, or change in my book, not the readers, editors or even the industry.

  2. I’m my worst critic. Now and then I surf my book for lines to promote and every time I do, I regret it. There’s hardly a chapter where I don’t see something I think could have been written better. That’s because I’m a much better writer now. Unless we’ve become stagnated, we evolve as writers. So I’ve moved on. I’m writing another book. I’m writing other things as well, including a short story and a screenplay. I’m thankful for every good review and a bit disappointed when a review isn’t glowing, but the fact is as far as writing goes my book is history.

  3. I agree, it is history. Bad reviews make me over analyze everything while writing my new book, but I’m slowly learning to push it out of my mind and truly enjoy the writing experence rather then concentrating on someone else’s opinion.

  4. I take reviews as one persons opinion. If some is going to say it sucks please tell me why –That was bad just pisses me off. Also if one person trashes and burns with out one positive comment –I see red.

  5. Personally, I love ‘extensively adjective-infused’ sentences. Too many plain sentences are B-O-R-I-N-G. And while I agree that each reviewer/editor will have their own opinion about your story, I believe that you either got it or you don’t. Sure, you can learn to be a better story writer and make better sentences, but I don’t think you should EVER give up your flavour. You have to use your own words, otherwise is it really your work? There will always a meanie who had a bad day and took it out on your book. That doesn’t make you a bad writer. In fact, while I hate to use Fifty Shades as an example, it’s the perfect example. The writing just wasn’t very good. Yet I read the entire thing to see what the hoopla was all about. Overall I enjoyed reading it, if only to argue about it. I guess all I’m saying is: brush your shoulders off. If you only have one not so nice review, then you’re either sitting pretty or need to get more controversial people to read it to cause some commotion. Thanks for listening. 🙂

  6. I admit I go overboard sometimes with descriptions and they end up in sentence structures which are too long. What bothers me more than that is lack of editing. I have stopped reading books or, at times, buying or downloading them when I read reviews concerning incorrect spelling, use of grammar and poor editing.

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