Anne Rice’s View on Negative Reviews & What Writers Need to Consider.

In a recent interview with international bestselling author Anne Rice, Nola Cancel asked Ms. Rice about negative reviews and their impact on indie-authors.

Ms. Rice’s response…

Indie authors today need to be aware of what they’re facing. The internet has changed reviewing. A person ten years ago might have said, “I enjoyed the book, but not all that much. I don’t know why. But I’ll try the author again if he writes another. “Today that person goes on line and says, “I am giving this book one star because I feel plotting and characterization was poor, and I did not like the characters, I felt the heroine was a ‘Mary Sue’ and I can’t stand that kind of character, and there was too much description, and I found a typo on page 263 etc.” Does this help the author? Probably not at all. Does it help other customers? Very likely no, because for all its “details,” it’s entirely subjective and not particularly expressive of why the reader didn’t have a good time with the book. So indie authors have to keep a cool head with the new internet hobbyist criticism. Just realize that the book didn’t do what you wanted it to do for that reader, and move on.

This answer has given me an entirely new perspective on negative reviews. Any author who’s had one knows how frustrating (and disheartening) a negative review can be. We read the 1 and 2 star reviews and cringe, want to cry, and feel like the reviewer is attacking us personally.

But the truth is, reviews now-a-days are completely subjective. Most of the negative reviews I read online, when broken down to basics, simply say that the book wasn’t their taste. It makes perfect sense, especially when a certain book has an abundance of rave reviews amidst the few negative ones.

Just because I hated Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises doesn’t mean it’s a bad book. The literary world says it’s a classic! But it simply wasn’t for me.

I’m going to remember this the next time I read or receive a bad review. Is the reviewer really saying the book is terrible, are they saying I have no talent, or are they simply stating that the book wasn’t for them?

I’ll also have to remember this the next time I review a book. I never really write negative reviews, but if I don’t like a particular book, I’ll make sure to ask myself why I didn’t like it, before throwing my subjective two cents out there.

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“Write Every Day” …Now I get it!

I had an epiphany this morning!

I’ve always hated the “write every day” advice that’s always stuffed down writers throats. WHAT IF WE CAN’T, HUH? What if we’re having a bad day, can’t think of anything new, or simply don’t feel like writing? Does that make us any less of a writer?

I always have a certain amount of guilt if a day…or two…or three goes by without getting anything written. And then that usually leads me to procrastinate even more. It’s a vicious cycle, really.

But what I realized this morning is that I SHOULD be writing every day, but ONLY when I am working on a specific project.

The problem is, if I take a step away for a few days, I end up losing touch with my characters, I forget where the story left off, and I lose momentum. I’m used to sitting down and doing 5+ hour stretches of writing, and THAT can be exhausting at times.

When I taught pre-GED reading at the Greenville Literacy Association, many of my students were adults who had difficulty reading a short story, let alone a novel. I would always tell them that learning to read is like playing an instrument, you HAVE to practice every day, even if it’s only for 15 minutes, if you want to improve.

I learned to play the guitar a few years back, so I know how important that 15 minutes of practice is, even when I really didn’t feel like doing it.

The same rule applies to writing. I need to stop forcing myself into these marathon writing sessions and, at the very least, commit to 30 minutes to an hour a day of writing. Even if it’s just cleaning up a certain chapter, I need to sit down and engage with my manuscript if I want to stay connected to it.

This is the new plan going forward. Even if I don’t feel like it, I will spend a minimum of 30 minutes each day writing. I might get only 100 words out, but that’s certainly 100 words more than I would have if I simply ignored my manuscript all together. I think THAT is what “write every day” means. I don’t have to knock out a chapter. Just a sentence will do.

 

 

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Available now on Amazon, Barnes& Noble, Kobo, and through select retailers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS REVIEW & GIVEAWAY!

website-fosad-pageFIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS

By Melissa Petreshock

I don’t think I can express just how much I loved this book!

The cover is what got my interest at first. It’s just TOO pretty to ignore. I love fantasy novels! Like, LOVE! But I usually prefer a more historical-type or otherworldly setting. What shocked me about this book is that, while it’s set in a futuristic “sovereign” America, the novel had an almost historical feel. The world in which Ms. Petreshock has created is a society full of archaic social conventions, where women have little to no power, and a hierarchy of male supernatural beings make all the rules. It was fascinating to learn about this world, and the author did such a great job at covering every little detail of this society so that it actually becomes believable.

My first thought as I read through this book is that it starts out like a supernatural, futuristic version of The Bachelorette. It may sound a little crazy at first, this woman must choose between three suitors, but it all makes sense within this world. And once you get to know the three suitors, you won’t be able to put the book down.

I also liked how the author gave each character his or her own distinct voice. Each character had their own way of speaking, whether modern or ancient, their own accent, and their own thought process that stayed very consistent throughout the story.

This book is engaging, entertaining, and has the perfect amount of heat to entice romance readers and fantasy readers alike. I am also SO glad that the author rounded out the story and gave me answers!

I will definitely recommend this book to others and keep an eye out for more from this author.

Enter to Win 1 of 3 ebooks of FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS here: Rafflecopter

Purchase Links

Amazon

Kobo

Goodreads

 

 

Writers Need Writer Friends.

I don’t know where I’d be right now without my writer friends. This time last year I’m not sure I had many, if any at all, and it wasn’t until I made friends who were writers, that I realized the value in having a strong support system while navigating the world of publishing.

I’ve never been good at making friends. I prefer to stay away from crowds, the idea of busy conferences terrifies me, and the intimacy of writers meet-up groups terrifies me even more.

I found my network online through twitter, facebook, and blogging. I’m not sure how it happened, really. I didn’t seek out contacts or other authors to talk to. It kind of just happened naturally, which is how genuine connections are made.

I follow 772 people (mostly writers) on twitter, and of those follows I would say maybe 6-10 of them have become great friends. Many of them I talk to daily, sometimes several times a day. We discuss our challenges with writing and publishing, share ideas, lift each other up when one is feeling down, and support each others work.

It’s an amazing thing to have someone to reach out to when you’re doubting yourself. And it feels nice to have someone reach out to you for help in return.

If you’re out there swimming in social media, trying to make a writing career for yourself, make sure to take a break from book promo once in a while and just talk to people. You never know who you might meet, or how that person may impact your writing life.

I imagine it would be a pretty lonely journey without a shoulder to lean on once in a while.

 

** Don’t forget about The Darkness of Light signed paperback giveaway**

Tweet me “Enter” @TamzWrite to enter (announcing this Friday) & sign up on Goodreads for a chance to win one of two more copies! https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/90108-the-darkness-of-light

 

 

It’s The Darkness of Light Giveaway Time!

Yesterday I decided to do an Easter giveaway. I announced 1 ebook and one signed paperback of The Darkness of Light is up for grabs. This morning, instead of announcing 1 ebook winner, I decided to pick 3.

On Friday April 25th I will announce the signed paperback winner (for now this prize is US only), and I will also give away another ebook (within any country).

To enter, just tweet me @TamzWrite and say “I entered to win an (ebook/signed paperback) of The Darkness of Light by Tammy Farrell”

And/Or you can write the same thing on my facebook page www.facebook.com/thediachronicles. Tweeting me and writing a facebook post will get you 2 entries.

Good luck!

Sequel Writing Struggles

It’s starting to become clear to me just how complicated sequel writing can be. In my last sequel update, I said I was done with the first draft of The Embers of Light and was preparing to send it out for developmental edits. That was true. But the more I sat on the first draft, the more I realized that something was missing from the plot, and the ending wasn’t what I needed in order to round out the series as a whole.

When I initially wrote The Darkness of Light, I hadn’t planned on writing a series. I had a story to tell—Mara’s story—and I knew exactly how it would end. But here’s the problem. That last scene that I had pictured in my mind never happened.

Sure, Mara’s story was told, and the main conflict of the novel was resolved (which I think is VERY important when writing a series), but there was more I needed to write in order to get her to that final scene I’d envisioned. As I wrote The Darkness of Light, I began to realize that it wasn’t just Mara’s story I was telling, but Malcolm’s and Corbin’s as well. Like a traditional fantasy novel, I could have written a 1000+-page book with a part 1,2&3. But that’s a big commitment for readers, it might have alienated non-fantasy readers, and I wanted to give special attention to each individual story.

While I wrote the first novel with an ultimate ending in mind, I wasn’t always sure about how I’d get there. The rest came to me after the first novel was written, and so in the revision process, I was able to plant seeds of information that would continue through the series.

The Embers of Light follows the same format as the first novel (told from 3 POVs), but the main arc of the story is about Malcolm. I knew what I wanted to do with him, but tying it in with the first novel, while still planting seeds for the third is a lot harder than I’d imagined. The problem now is that readers know these characters, so I not only have to make sure Malcolm’s story furthers the plot, but that Mara and Corbin’s does as well. They’re all interconnected, and they always have been, which means I can’t forego one character’s development for another. Everyone needs my attention now.

The third book in the series will have a stronger focus on Corbin. Again, I already know where he’s going and how he’ll get there, but I have to let the reader get to know him better if they’re going to want to read an entire book about him. So while I take Malcolm on his journey, I have to make sure Corbin doesn’t get overlooked. His story will be the one that gets to me to that final scene I’d imagined so long ago.

I am STILL working on revisions for The Embers of Light. But the good news is now the third book is plotted out enough to help me understand what NEEDS to happen to get me there. I had to write 34 chapters of a first draft sequel before I figured this out, and now I’m going back over every chapter, word by word, and page by page, rewriting scenes, adding new ones and creating the stepping-stones to carry the story forward.

It’s a lot harder than simply sitting down and typing out a story. Now I’m creating a saga that won’t be finished until I get to that last scene, the one I see so clearly in my mind. At least now I can see the road ahead, but the struggle is walking it to the end.

Dealing With Writer’s Block

On my blog tour one of the most common questions I got asked was, how do I deal with writer’s block? I know writer’s block well. I’ve had small bouts of it, I’ve had a three year stretch of it, and I’m dealing with a tiny bit of it right now, well, maybe it’s more like a slow down than a total blockage, but it’s still frustrating.

I think in order to deal with writer’s block, it’s best to understand what causes it in the first place. For me, I’ve found I get writer’s block for two reasons.

  1. The scene/story isn’t right and I am refusing to change it.
  2. I have disconnected from my emotions, making it impossible to feel passionate about what I’m writing.

When I find myself experiencing writer’s block, I first have to determine which cause I’m dealing with. If the scene isn’t right, I try something new. Sometimes the solution is as simple as writing the scene from another character’s perspective. Other times I have to let go of the chapter, go to my notebook, and re-plot the story.

Emotional issues are a lot harder to overcome. If I feel disconnected from the story, I have to figure out why. Am I upset about something? Is there something I don’t want to face? Am I not connecting with the characters or the plot because there’s no truth in it? When this is the case, it’s important for me NOT to force myself to write. They say a writer should write everyday, but when I am struggling to get words out, the last thing I want to do if frustrate myself more.

When it’s an emotional issue keeping me from writing, I try to embrace it and take a step back. This is my mind telling me that I need to take a break, inspire myself, and recharge. The best way I’ve found to accomplish this is to read. Writers NEED to read in order to write. So I will make an extra effort to read something I love that makes me excited about telling stories. I read books from authors I admire, and books that make me wish I’d written them myself.

I also take time to watch movies that inspire me. While I’d love to sit and watch a Mad Men marathon, I’m a fantasy writer and chances are I will gain nothing from Don Draper and his cigarette smoking dalliances. I watch historical movies, fantasy movies, and nearly anything on the history channel.

Once I take a step back from writing, I find the itch to write comes back pretty quickly, and I usually wait until the itch is so strong that I can’t wait to sit down and continue with my manuscript.

If none of that helps, you can always try some of these terrible ideas…

  1. Get drunk (Maybe not such a bad idea).
  2. Rewrite the ending to Lord of the Rings.
  3. Scrap your entire project and decide to become an impressionist painter.
  4. Spend your days on Twitter and Facebook.
  5. Call every person who ever told you that you couldn’t write to tell them they were right.
  6. Quit writing forever.

So, as you can see, dealing with your writer’s block is probably a better idea than ignoring it.

How do YOU deal with writer’s block?