The Ace up My Writing Sleeve
When it comes to writing your first novel, chances are you have done your fair amount of research on the subject. Even if you happen to be Hemingway’s undiscovered prodigy, it never hurts to stockpile your knowledge database. Before I took on the gigantic task of officially writing my novel, I read books and articles on the process of writing, and soaked up all the information I could on the mechanics of characters, plot, dialogue and world building. All of this research not only motivated me to keep writing, but it also helped me to stay on track and shape all my ideas into a solid story. Even so, there was still a very helpful, secret tool missing in my arsenal. When I first happened upon this tool, I was not yet aware of its usefulness, as it did not apply to me or my writing, but rather, someone else’s. The magical tool I speak of is otherwise known as Negative Reviews.
Writers know negative reviews, though oftentimes very painful, can likely serve as good, constructive criticism to help us become better writers. But why wait until your first draft is finished to receive this useful, crucial feedback from beta readers? Like any other bookworm, after I catch sight of a captivating cover and am further hooked by its intriguing blurb, I scroll down to read the reviews. Although positive reviews do help sway my decision, it is often times the negative reviews that have the final say on the purchase of the book. I find that readers who are let down by a book tend to be more thorough in their reviews to not only vent, but to prove a valid reasoning as to why they disliked the book. It was while digging for these painfully meticulous reviews that I realized their value; all I needed to do was apply them to my work as though it were me they were critiquing, and in turn, I learned to be a better writer while I was still working on my outline.
Now, we must not forget that every reader is different and that it is quite impossible to please everyone (if you know how to do this, I must find you and become your apprentice). However, by reading enough negative reviews, you will begin to see the trending No-No’s that make readers feel like slapping the daylights out of your characters, or worse, hurling the book out the window.
About the Author:
Currently living in Houston, TX, Samantha is a sucker for romance, helpless kittens, and all things Pride & Prejudice. Her debut novel, The Kingdom Within, is the culmination of her life-long love for reading and period eras.