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Thursday, June 10, 2010
6:57 PM | Posted by Maureen | | Edit Post
OK, crew…pet peeve Friday here. Firstly, why do we believe the tiniest, smallest, bare bit of negative feedback as gospel? WHY? WHY? WHY?
We receive heaps of praise from those who love us, know us, care about our career and we smile, say thinks…and then obsess on that tiny bit of nothing from no one we know. Hell, we obsess on the bit of negative nothing from people we don’t know!
I’ve seen this over and over again. Hell, I’ve done it also, but I am working quite diligently on retraining myself.
I’ve heard the argument that you’ll only hear positive stuff from your loved ones so you can’t trust them to be honest. I don’t buy it. And if that is how your loved ones work, well…get new loved ones. I expect people to be honest with me, period. None of this protect me crap. Don’t mean I want to be crucified by friends and family, but honestly! They know me best and know how to be honest with me.
Given, my f&f aren’t experts, but for a general opinion of storyline, plot, continuity…all my family reads. A lot. They know what works and what don’t. So, I do trust them.
Now, why are strangers considered experts? Even actual experts? Why do we trust them, implicitly? Let them set the stage and have the ultimate say over what we do and how well we do it? I do not get this. Even experts are wrong sometimes or have bad days and how many times was JK Rowling turned down before an editor said yes!?
I have a friend. A dear friend, who took her book to a scifi convention and entered it in the chance to be reviewed panel. Every single person on that panel loved her book. Praised her book, one editor said I want to see this when it’s polished… And then the last man on the panel tore her to shreds. Eviscerated the book, chapter by chapter. Her characters, her plot, her everything.
Who did she listen to?
The last man. And she put that book away, froze and didn’t write again for more than a decade. She later discovered this man was well known for doing this. A well known author who tore apart any promising author who came his way. (Now, I want to know, if this was well known what this asshole was doing being invited back again and again to destroy budding writers…but that is another story. Likely one I’ll never hear.)
Another example, more recent.
Last Saturday, at my local RWA meeting. One of the ladies was bummed. She got a rejection letter from Harlequin and it totally challenged her faith in herself as a writer. Now, one of other members had read the letter and insisted B. share details.
Crew, she got a personal rejection letter. Which began with a paragraph of all the things good and right about her book. Her plot, her dialogue, her characters.
Then there was a detailed paragraph of why this book wouldn’t fit into the Harlequin model. And a list of changes that would be necessary to see it fit. The editor wasn’t really pushing B. to make these changes, but more like offering real justification for why she had to reject the book.
Was B. thinking of submitting it to other publishers, I asked.
Not really, she sighed.
I bit my tongue wanting to know why the hell not. I don’t know B. well, and I trust C. to push her toward trying another publisher. She did say she just wasn’t sure who else would want a contemporary with regency connections… Like…Avon!?
Now, I ask you crew…in these days of modern publishing. Of agents rejecting authors via Facebook…of being told no reply means you’re book was rejected…of the form rejection and a list of why there is no personal contact… Why was she totally dejected? Why wasn’t she thrilled that an editor took the time to write a personal letter? With praise for so many aspects of her book?
Hell, proof the book was read! In detail!
I’d have been thrilled!
Now, back to the positive vs. the negative… What is it about human nature that sees us take the negative to heart and dismiss the positive? From strangers, from family and friends… Are we so pathetic and self-flagellating that we insist on the right to suffer and be victims? Is it just we Americans? Is it just the people I know?
It is such a bloody waste!
I am pledged to pay more attention to how I react to words and from who. I know my family and friends love me and I trust them. If you can’t trust the people who know you…well…I’m sorry. You may not get the sharp criticism you need, but there are other avenues for that. But for basic honest opinion? Why not trust the people who have the good judgment to count us as friends?
What are we saying about ourselves that we don’t trust the people who we care for? What does this say about how we view ourselves?
Getting tangled here, I’ll try to step it back…
What are your experiences with believing the good verses the bad? Whether it comes from family, friends, strangers, experts…? Is it better to hear negative or positive when it comes to a learning experience? (Bad may steer you right, or it may run you up on the rocks. Good can do the same… IMHO.) How do you decide who to listen to and why?
Labels: Loader's Logic (2nd Chance)