Wanted: Temporary Amnesia!
I love talking to readers about the books I write. Not because I’m looking for praise or accolades, goodness no, but because I’m intrigued by how they interpret the story, how they receive it and respond to it. I want to know if certain scenes were as suspenseful as I intended them to be, if characters were liked or hated, if feelings were evoked.
I’m intrigued because for the reader it’s all brand new, it’s like meeting someone for the first time and listening to all thier great stories and funny jokes and interesting experiences. For me, as the writer, there’s nothing new about my story. Before it reaches the reader I’ve read over it at least a dozen times, have seen the changes its gone through, the improvements made upon it. I’ve seen it before it’s been polished, before it’s had the blemishes covered and rough edges smoothed. There’s nothing new about it, nothing suspenseful, nothing noteworthy or moving. Yes, in a way, I feel cheated.
And for this reason I’m always amazed when people have positive things to say. I release each book with a certain amount of trepidation, thinking it will not be received well, readers will hate it, no one will understand it, the characters will fall flat, reviewers will scoff. I’m a bundle of frayed and raw nerves.
Just once, I’d like to read one of my books while suffering temporary amnesia so I can experience the story for the very first time, so I can be surprised by the twists and turns, so I can fall in love with or come to despise the characters. So I can judge it, based not on what I’ve seen of it, the entire six-month process, but based on its merits as a story.
But since that can’t and won’t happen I must rely on you, the reader. And this is why it’s important to writers that you are honest in your assessment. Flattery has never helped anyone. Unwarranted criticism hasn’t either. It’s important for you to review the books you read. It doesn’t have to be an official review (though they do help), a simple email to the writer will suffice. Let us know how the story moved you. What you liked and didn’t like. What emotions you felt and where. Who your favorite character was and why. You can play a role in improving a writer’s craft by offering your honest opinion.
Will you help me? I’ll post again soon about things to keep in mind when offering a review.
Posted on June 11, 2012, in Book Reviews, Writing Life and tagged Book Reviews, Criticism, Honest reviews, literature, raw nerves, Reading, rough edges, Suspense, Writing craft. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.