Monday, October 6, 2008

Here comes the snow again... and criticism, to boot!

Yes, ladies and germs, it has officially started snowing here in Wasilla. I wonder if we'll have a white Halloween. That just sounds so wrong. You won't be able to see anyone's costumes because they will be covered in snowsuits and "Fargo" hats.

Now that the weather report is over, we'll now turn to our reporter in the field ready to start whingeing.

Yes, I'm going to whine. Because Logan doesn't really want to hear it and because everyone else I know is probably asleep by now.

I joined Fanstory, a cool website where you can post your writings and get any number of reviews on it. It's more competitive than Critique Circle because you can "purchase" things to help promote your work to make it more visible and get more reviews, possibly even being reviewed by a panel of published authors and professional writers. You are also ranked by how popular your work is (a very complicated system that I haven't figured out yet). Unfortunately, it's not free. You can only read and review others' writing if you have the free membership. You have to pay to post things yourself, but I think it's a reasonable price if you purchase a year or two-year membership.

Anyway, one of the things I like about the website is that they warn you what the purpose of the site is. I say warn because warning is certainly needed. This is NOT a support group or a bunch of people who will only say good things about your writing, even if they have to make stuff up just to be nice. This is not a "white lies" type place. Much as I love the karaoke website Singsnap, no one can ever say anything bad on it or they'll get blasted; the ratings are a joke because no one ever gives less than five stars, if they even bother rating at all.

Fanstory is all about getting criticism to improve your writing. You need to have a thick skin and remember that people are expressing their opinions on what they think will help you improve your writing. People on this site are working towards selling their work and getting published. People are on this site because their friends and family all love their work and now they need to see what the real world thinks.

So I've been reviewing a few stories and gotten the customary "Thanks for the review" response. I have something of my own posted and so far have received a string of good reviews and people were not afraid to point out a few things that needed fixing.

But I got one response to my review where she numerated every single thing I suggested and ripped into me about how wrong I was and justified everything she wrote. And then she bitched at me for giving her a low rating.

I admit, I'm not familiar with how things work on this site yet. I didn't think the rating I gave was all that low, but maybe that's how it turned out. And no one ever said she had to take any of my suggestions. That's all they are: suggestions.

I sent a diplomatic response, I'm sorry you were disappointed in my review, blah, blah, blah. I refrained from reminding her that it even says right there in the reply box that it's not for retaliation or for defending your work, but to say thanks for your time.

The hardest part was not sending an extremely sarcastic response. This was what I WANTED to write:

"I'm sorry. I didn't realize that your story is perfect and that you posted it on this site to show the world how perfect it is."

Sigh. You can't help some people.

Okay, rant over. Now I'm going to sit at my window and watch the snowflakes come down...


Matthew said...

Please tell me it was at least in readable English and not that horrible text message talk that makes them sound like English is their third or fourth language. ("OMG U R meeen! Y U not rite good revue?") If she wants unqualified praise, tell her to put it on, where authors can tell people "Don't like it? Don't read it" without losing any credibility.

Anonymous said...

Be sure to take some pictures of the snow and post them. Mom

Sparklecat said...

No, she actually wrote decently well. I've been reading a lot of books on writing to get published and so a lot of my suggestions lean towards what I've learned from those books. This passion to get a novel published is not so idle for me (thought it does often take a lower priority to some other things in my life, much to my chagrin.)

I'll post some pictures when we get a real big storm, Mom. Right now it just looks like dandruff.