Getting Over Bad Reviews

I’m a noob when it comes to Goodreads, having never done much more than add to my “read” or “to read” list, so the other day I decided to really scour the site to see what it was all about. I noticed that there were a lot of stories and books published by Dreamspinner Press that had reviews, and on a whim I decided to check if anyone had left a review on the short story I published with them. There were more reviews than I expected. Unfortunately, reading through them wasn’t exactly a walk in the park.

The average rating of my story was three stars. “Okay fine,” I thought. Star ratings aren’t always accurate, particularly if there is no actual review accompanying them, so I pushed on. With growing dread, I read through each and every review posted to my story. I wouldn’t go so far as to say my story was raped… but it wasn’t pretty. (Go scope it out – some of them were downright brutal.)

A few tears and a half a bottle of wine later, I went back through the reviews to consider them in a more objective manner. Although the same information could have been delivered in a more kindly manner, I knew that what the reviewers were saying was true. They mentioned things that I hadn’t thought of during the writing process or afterward, and I have a solid list of things to avoid in the future. (In fact, part of me wondered why the story had gotten published in the first place…)

Of course I went through a few hours of “OH DEAR GOD, I should quit while I’m ahead!! I’m a terrible writer!! I’ll never be able to do this!!” But after that mess, I calmed down and tried to view it as a learning experience. I’ve got my first failure under my belt and learned to handle bad reviews and criticism early. Gotta take a deep breath and jump back into the water, despite the sharks. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the words “get used to rejection” in regards to writing, but I’m always glad for that bit of advice, especially when it comes from authors who have climbed their way to the bestseller lists. If they can work their asses off and make it to the top, I can too, right?

~Beka

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Yay, Scrivener! Yay, Fantasy!

I have a new toy! =)

I haven’t posted to my blog in almost three weeks because I’ve discovered the awesome goodness that is Scrivener. Scrivener is a program for your computer that helps disorganized writers get it together. It’s very inexpensive, and well worth it for writers like me… I’ve got notes written on anything from napkins to my forearm, piles of notebooks and index cards taking over my bedroom, and way too many files and folders spread out on two different computers and a USB key. Organization is not my strong suit. Scrivener is my best friend. And they’re offering a 50% discount on their software for those who won the November 2011 Nano challenge. Can’t go wrong! For more details on the program, click here.

Besides blissfully loosing myself in Scrivener fun, I’m doing some pretty heavy-duty research and world building for my fantasy novel. Why did I ever decide to put off writing fantasy in favor of romance? I’ll never know. This is where it’s at for me. My geeky heart thrives on drawing maps and creating races and magic systems. I get to create the whole world. I’m in heaven.

I’m giving myself plenty of time for the world building process. Can’t half-ass it at this point – this is the world that I’ll be using for many stories to come. It needs to be complete, and it needs to be done right. After that comes character creation, which for me takes a lot of time. Characters are my absolute favorite thing about writing, so I get caught up in their backgrounds and descriptions. I’ll count that as a blessing =)

I’ll start compiling a list of the websites I’ve been using for world building and get it posted up into the blog, so if you’re interested keep an eye out for that.

~ Have you created a new world for any of your novels or stories? I’d love to hear about the process – How did you go about it? What was the best/worst part? Post below! ~

~Beka