Embrace Your Weaknesses, French Kiss Them, then Shoot Them to Death

If your aim happens to be mildly crappy, get someone you trust to point you in the right direction AND THEN blast your flaws out of your world *Hug Kiss Bang Bang*

Try it… Doesn’t that feel good? Told you!

Now that we took care of that, let me tell you about yesterday… A friend and I spent a few hours on the phone discussing life, uncanny practices, upcycled pretties, and the best ways to develop a thick skin in the writing world. She is an awesome storyteller, who creates characters that touch your soul with original intellectual sarcasm, but she is easily affected by criticism.

I’m usually against generalizations, but I will suggest that no writer can say that he or she doesn’t care about how others criticize his or her work. We might react differently to a soul-crushingreview, but every writer’s muse pouts a bit when someone says, ‘Your writing sucks dishwater.’ And it happens to the best of us. Heck, it even happens to the way better than us.

I once read a review of Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, which suggested that “the book was poorly written” and “the characters’ motivations were unrealistic.” If you’ve never read the novel, I advise you to give it a try. It’s not a story to be read in one sitting. It’s not even a story to be read only once. But with every chapter, the reader is taken deeper into a world where politics, magical realist humor, war, uncanny traditions, and the brilliance of a great writer touch the mind with the gift of living words.   

As you might be imagining, to read that a young writer believed that the book that won Gabriel García Márquez the 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature was “poorly written” made me shake my head for a long time. To add to my bewilderment, the same young writer voted for, wait... *I have to take a few breaths before typing this, one… two… three…* okay, this person voted for Twilight as “the best work of literature ever written.”

So… yes, I didn’t even comment on the young writer’s review. However, I always remember that person’s assessment of One Hundred Years of Solitude whenever I read a review/critique that makes no sense.  

I’ve said this much to my writer friend. There will always be people who don’t like what you write, but you can’t let that drive your storytelling. I haven’t had a truly bad review (yet), but I’m almost sure the day will come. When it does, I’ll allow myself to feel bad for a bit, then I’ll focus on all the good things other readers have said and write on…

While I pray for bad reviews to never reach my eyes or ears, I’ll get close and personal with my weaknesses (i.e. fast as lightening pacing, under-describing…) I’ll French kiss them, I’ll embrace them, and then I’ll shoot them to death. I’ll lay them to rest, right next to the nasty feelings evoked by any unfavorable (but unfounded) criticism. 
the article attached to this image reinforces my point, but…
I need to admit that I chose it because of the grin on the kid’s face 

31 comments:

  1. I would like apologize, I had written something extremely witty in retort to this blog, but then for no F%&$%&^% good reason the screen reloaded and I lost what I was writing. Much love to the blog.... I don't care now, you freaking internet reloading jerks!!!!!! ~Dragon

    ~PS. I'd pay to see that sumo match.

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    1. Ha! Sometimes, life (and the internet) throws things our way that we aren't expecting...

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  2. Because the kid is just starting is way... and if you as that kid would persistent, consistent enough you would! become.. yea! that huge sumo fighter! :)

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    1. The little kid looks like he is ready to poke something and run away lol

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    2. sorry, just now I noticed I missed so many letters in my comment... was in a hurry for sure!
      yea, the kid is hilarious! lol

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    3. Words are sneaky that ways... ;-D

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  3. As a relatively new writer, I've just had to remind myself that reviews are just opinions. And we all know what they say about opinions.

    Ultimately these are my stories and while reviews are appreciated, there comes a time where I have to decide whether to listen to their advice or not. Some opinions are good, some are bad, and some are just not relevant. At the end of the day, what matters is that the reviews help me to re-assess how my story is being received.

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    1. Indeed, for me reviews and critiques of my writing are like everything else in life. First I examine the message, then I see where it's coming from, then I learn whatever I can from it, and after that, I go on.

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  4. I'm coming closer and closer to my publishing date, so the idea of the criticism my book might get makes my stomach flutter. So I try to remind myself that I can't please everyone and shouldn't even try.

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    1. First, great luck with the upcoming publication! Then, I second your thought, we can't keep everyone happy. To try such a thing, is to intentionally try to drive ourselves mad.

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  5. LOL, I so agree w/what you have said... Before I use to ruminate about how I was treated, now that I am older, I evaluate the person that said or did whatever to me.. I've come to realize that type of person isn't worth the energy spent on them- thru stewing/ruminating, getting angry, whatever... to me that person lacks self esteem, has nothing better to do and sadly is just wanting attention... As far as a bad review on writing, I sum it up to that person's personal taste in what they prefer... and as far as Twilight getting good reviews- well let's say, if that's what America calls good writing than there must be a generation that never read a classic or shown what good writing is... I will never forget how one woman gushed over that book and said how good it was... My oldest decided to get that book, and would u believe she couldn't get past the first 20 pages? LOL, this is the daughter who took AP literature courses in h.s., who had the luck of being shown what good literature is... As far as the Marquez review, there is always someone out there who is going to stir the pot... Just be glad that you know what good writing is! :-)

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    1. A few more extra turn of the wheel of the year can mean a lot in our judgement...

      You know, if someone says something like, "This book is badly written because all the sentences are the same, the adverbs won the battle since the first page, physics has no meaning and no one says why, the characters' motivations are nonexistent..." and so on, then I would take the person serious. But when someone says a book is bad because they didn't like it or understand it, I just shake my head.

      I always give A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness and Christ in Concrete by Pietro di Donato as examples. The female lead in the first book and some of the descriptions drive me absolutely insane, and the format of the second makes me want to scratch my eyes out. But you know what? They are excellent books! Superbly written. I'm the first one to say it, even if I don't particularly love them.

      Anyway, as you can see I can go on and on about his topic...

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    2. I read the two Harnkness books in her trilogy and I agree w/you about the female lead... I too enjoyed both...I don't know if the lead seems a bit wishy-washy can't put my finger on it.

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    3. She keeps on getting her rear handed to her. And it doesn't feel right; the woman is too powerful and too intelligent! I'm always screaming, "Do something!" while I'm reading lol

      But Ms. Harkness is an excellent writer. I hope I get to the point where I can describe certain things the way she does (with a few hundred words fewer, though ;-)

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    4. I think u are right.. maybe she's too afraid to step up? or rather Ms.Harkness is? lol

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    5. Maybe... I hope book three is different.

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    6. that is all we can do!. maybe Harkness is trying to show that side of women who do seem to fall into that trap... 3rd book better be the charm!

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    7. If not, I'll be really pissed lol

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    8. no shit sherlock! lol that means i bought 3 fatass books collecting dust. lol

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  6. Reviews can be scary. Some can be downright rude. Not everyone will love what we write, just as we don't love everything others write. And yet, even the harsh reviews can help us become stronger writers; If we can read them with our thick-skinned coat. If you discover how to grow the thick-skinned coat, will you pass it on? Cute pic. :)

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    1. I think each writer has a way in which he or she adds to the thickness of their protection coat. But I've been known to be wrong (once *cough, cough*) so if you find a thickener that works universally, do send it my way!

      And yes, reviews can do a number on the butterfly that live in our stomachs...

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  7. I believe in the old adage "if you can't say something nice, say nothing", but when asked for my opinion it comes with a "well you asked" warning. But I so love the idea of meeting face to face with a "bad reviewer" and grabbing them with both hands to french kiss their face off hahahaha.....and I would smile and walk away without a word :D XXX

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    1. When I find a lot of problems with a book, I send my opinions to the author (privately). Maybe because I would like people to do that for me. And you know what, I don't have a issues against unfavorable reviews that have a foundation. But when people run their mouths about how "they didn't like the price" or "how this character shouldn't have died because they wanted this or that..." well, I just blink a lot ;-)

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  8. Great post Magaly! I feel like we are all wired differently..the way we think..what we love, what we like.. is simply the way we are designed, who we are at the "time and space".. or really just one's own opinion in the moment. The way I look at it , as a creative-spirit..is that I create what I love and there is a pocket in the universe for everyone..and those in that same pocket totally get me and vice versa and we appreciate one another's creations and artistry! and I totally cannot hold it against someone who hates my work..for they are just designed and wired differently..and that's ok with me! Also, we are ever-changing in our mind and heart..and what we love at one time, we may not at a different time. I recall movies or books I thought I didn't enjoy at all, and then at a different time in my life..totally loved them??..was I different ..did I just connect more..why did it appeal to me? funny!....we are always shifting in our mind..so someone's opinion really does not even matter! Shine on and keep doing what you love and the way you love doing it. It is always nice to hear a kind word for sure..but as long as the negative ones never stop anyone from creating..
    Happy wkd!
    Victoria

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    1. "It is always nice to hear a kind word for sure..but as long as the negative ones never stop anyone from creating." I had to repeat that, for sometimes the truth is rather pretty ;-)

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  9. I love that kid's smile ;o) I just read Victoria's comment and I agree with everything she said. I have to admit, when I first started painting, I had someone on Etsy, tell me, there was a lot of anger in my art. That really hurt. It made me angry! LOL! But, I got over it. If someone doesn't like something I paint, that is fine with me ;o) I just hope other people don't listen to them! LOL! Have a great weekend ;o)

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    1. "anger in your art"? Really? I've never read anything happier. My artistic eyes must be veiled by sunshine and flowers then, either that, or someone else is projecting their anger into your happy little crows.

      Other people will always be themselves, and like Victoria said, we can't hold that against them ;-)

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  10. My aim is fine. It's not my fault that I scare some off the road. If people would just get out of my way when they see me coming, they would be fine. As for bad reviews, I think that it is more a reflection that you've reached that many more readers as anything else. Similar to the idea that no matter how utopic a society, there will always be a certain percentage that wants to take it all. Once a writer reaches critical mass, there will start showing up that percentage of bad/troll reviews. Just a part of having humans as your target audience. More relevant is how you deal with the negative.

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    1. Energy (negative or positive) is power. So I look at negative reviews as a source of power. I just have to do a little magic, turn the bad into good (a negative review can help me pay better attention to details, or something...)

      The people who piss me off on the road, help me do more crunches ;-)

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