Wednesday, February 4, 2015

February IWSG Reviews and No New Ideas


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.

I'm currently #80.

Where to start?

No New Ideas--
You know how they say there are no new ideas in movies and books? It's so true. I woke up yesterday morning at 3 AM with a new story idea. It came to me as an obituary. For a few hours I lay in bed writing it over and over in my head. Then I actually woke up and realized the idea for what it was. A twist on Return to Me. So now I have to decide if it's different enough to write or drop it.

Reviews--
I've recently hit a snafu with reviewing books. In an effort to get more reviews for FADE INTO ME, I did a couple of swaps. The stories sounded fascinating. Unfortunately, I couldn't read them.

There's more. These other two people had already finished my book. I felt so bad! I'm a pleaser personality and I didn't want to hurt their feelings by saying I couldn't review their book. But I couldn't read it. The language made me too uncomfortable and I knew I couldn't recommend the stories to my friends and family.

I'm not insecure about writing honest reviews. The insecurity came in how to approach the authors. I mean it really is a case of "It's me, not you" but uncomfortable all the same.

What's got you insecure this week?

25 comments:

  1. Hope your idea works.
    That is an awkward feeling. I've had to do it before. I was just honest and said it just wasn't working for me, but that didn't mean it wasn't good. The author understood. Besides, if I'm not enjoying it, I'm not going to finish it.

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    1. Me too. And the nice thing is the authors were understanding. It was just hard to write the email. One even asked that I still post the review of what I did read.

      By the way, I finished Dragon of the Stars over the weekend. I'll post my review soon. I'm letting it sink in. I loved it! Let's just say being a girl I'm torn by a few things though. Things worked out the way they should have. The only way they could really. You just did such a great job juxtaposing hope and loss that I'm not sure what side of the line I fall on. :)

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  2. Sometimes I feel that everything I come up is so darn stupid and pathetically cliché I abandon the project before even starting. But I'm always optimistic that the right and really creative ideas will find their way to me eventually so it's only a temporary set back. But those that come in the dead of the night could be really something :) Oh that's hard, the review thing, but there is no other way around it, you need to be hones and go on with your life, at least that is what I would do. Good luck.

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    1. I once wrote four pages of scene notes for a book I wanted to write and showed it to a friend. She read it and said, "This is just like ____ movie I watched!" Even though I'd never seen the movie. Needless to say that idea got scrapped. Guess it happens to all of us.

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  3. Can you loan the books to other friends who might read them and review them? I've done swaps and I think if you give your word you'll write a review you should, of course you don't want to write a bad review at that point, but if you can't write one maybe give the book to somebody who might enjoy the genre and write the review?

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    1. This is a great idea! Unfortunately, the thing that made me put the book down also means I would never recommend it to a friend. I finally emailed both authors, explained the situation and then asked them what they would like me to do. One author opted for me to not post anything. The other asked that I do the honest review.

      I gave them a 3 star review based on the few pages I'd read and then stated that I didn't finish the book and why. There is an audience out there for those books, I'm just not it and stated it in my review.

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  4. I'd never write a bad review. Only once, during a review exchange, the author's book needed much work. I could never credit the book with a decent review so I emailed the author and was honest with her, and asked her to think about getting a editing service. I have read or basically skimmed through books that authors have asked for a review that I'd personally never read, and that was tough. We're all different, different opinions, different reading genres, etc. I like E.E's comment, but I agree with you. I'd never recommend a book to a friend that I didn't like.
    If you didn't finish a book because you disliked it, or wasn't your cup of tea, maybe you shouldn't write a review, just let it go. I've seen reviews like that and it can make another author simmer. Just saying...

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    1. Very true and I agree! I guess I should be clear. I stopped reading because the F bomb was dropped a lot. I hate that word. It's a very personal thing and I know some people will think it strange that I stopped reading simply because of language.

      In the review I spoke positively about the author's idea and the poetic nature of his writing in spots. Then I explained that I stopped simply because of the language and encouraged those who were not bothered by language to give it a try. All of my personal friends would have the same problem with the language. I told all of this to the author before hand and only posted it because he asked me too.

      Normally I wouldn't post anything because I've been on the receiving end of a scathing review where the reader was obviously NOT in my target audience. So, yeah, been there, simmered over it too. :)

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  5. Yup, that's kind of awkward. When I can't find anything nice to say, I don't do a review, so I understand your position. I see from your comment above that you found a way around what you had to do.

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    1. I'm starting to think I'm afraid to do lots of things that aren't as big a deal as I thought.

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  6. Aw, man, that's a tough one. It sounds like you did the right thing though.

    So exciting you had a breakthrough idea for a new novel! It's always fun when that dry spell alleviates (it happened to me recently as well). :)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog last week and commenting on everyone's posts! It helped that I didn't have to worry about commenting while I was in DC. :)

    And I just received Fade Into Me!! So excited to get it—it looks awesome.

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    1. Yay for the US postal system! Thanks for having me at your blog last week. It was fun to enjoy the conversation for a change.

      Having a new idea has been wonderful! It's even helping me work on the projects I need to finish. I've also changed my diet and feel like my mind is slowly returning. Funny how what we eat affects brain function.

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  7. Charity, that's hard. I know what you mean though. There have been a few books I promised to review that went beyond my PG-13 limit. Or there were the occasional ones that the actual prose was so...young, I had a hard time enjoying it. Still, there's an audience for everything and honesty is the best.

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    1. I promised myself I'd be honest when possible, but always try to be positive when I could be. It hard when you want to like something, but just don't. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. Reviewing for other authors is risky. You want to be honest, but at the same time, you know exactly what it feels like to read a review of your work. Every positive comment makes you glow and every negative comment makes you crazy. However, sometimes we have to trade reviews to get the ball rolling. But even letting an author know you stopped because of the f-word is valuable information. If someone reviewing my work stopped at a certain point I would want to know why.

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    1. So true! The author was very cool about it. I don't know why I was so nervous about it. Probably like you said, because I've been on the other side.

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  9. The review thing is pretty tricky. My current WIP has some, err...colorful language, but I definitely see where you're coming from. If someone was never going to like my book, I'd really rather have them not try to read it than force themselves to and write a bad review. I'd rather reach an audience of people who really want to read it.

    February IWSG Co-host

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  10. I had that happen once with an author I swapped with. I expected to enjoy her book because it had vampires in it, but I ended up not liking the story. Her writing was good, but that didn't matter. I totally chickened out too and quietly took it off my reading list. If she noticed I went silent, she never said anything.

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    1. I've done this too. Most of the time it's what I do, but the author was still emailing to ask. :)

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  11. There may not be original ideas out there, but there are original interpretations of the old tropes. I say go with this idea and see where it leads. Once you start writing on the plot, I am sure you will put your unique spin on it.

    I review lots of books. Sometimes I am bugged by something that I know other readers would not mind. So even if I give the book a three or four star review because of my own reader preference, I am sure to note that in the review so that readers know what I did not like but can still make their own judgements. Like with the strong language, you could downgrade the review, state that you had not expected it and felt it was over-used, and then add something you did like such as strong descriptions or likeable characters. That way the lesser stars and uncomfortable language/concepts are a warning to readers like yourself, but not a turn off to others who don't mind. The review could still have appeal to many readers and you were honest in the review.

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    1. Thanks! I hope so. Since getting a new idea I've been making progress on the old ones simply to work on the new one. If nothing else it'll be good for that!

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  12. Hi Charity, yes we writers are pretty unsure of how to handle reviews when we didn't like some aspects of a book we have read. If that happens to me, I just don't review the book.

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  13. Ooh, I know what you mean about awkward reviews. I've opted to review before thinking the book would be great only to find I'm rating it 3 stars or less, which isn't fun at all. And I'm one of those people who has to read to the end, lol. At least your author friends were understanding. Not all books appeal to all readers.

    As for ideas, maybe an old idea with a new spin will still make a great story. Good luck!

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  14. I don't review swap anymore for that very reason. I feel too bad giving a review that's less than 5-star if I've received one that was much better than what I would have given. Nowadays, if I like it, I review it. If not, I pass.

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  15. There are some authors I've read that I find that every book seems to be a variation of the same theme. It's like they write the same book over and over (with different details, but the same basic idea). There's comfort in that, though. You know you can trust that author for some comfort food. So, if the idea is still good...

    As for language in books--that doesn't bother me. But I'm terrible at reviews...

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