Writing a novel

Trolls exist . . . it’s true, they steal your socks! #writing #amwriting #author #romance #fantasy

giphyAny author who has novels on the market knows about “those reviews”. You know those bad reviews where you just know that the person sitting on the other side of the screen typed those nasty-beyond-nasty words just out of spite.

Maybe they know you personally or met you in a public place and without meaning to you made them feel hurt or unappreciated. And ZING. They left a bad review.

Maybe they were even once a friend or distance family member that feels you didn’t hold up your end of the friendship. And ZING. They left a bad review.

Maybe they are jealous. Maybe they would love to write a novel, but when push comes to shove, they just can’t put their imaginations to work. And ZING. They left a bad review.

Maybe they are just those crazy people that love to do things like this because, well, I said they were crazy, right? And . . . oh you know where this is going.

No matter the reason, we know about them because we’ve all come in contact with them. We call them trolls. We negate their opinions by ranting and raving to our friends and family—or anyone who listens—about the evil person bent on hurting our feelings for no reason.

So what happens when a troll really isn’t a troll?

giphyWait? What? What do you mean they aren’t trolls? They are mean aren’t they? They posted their review just to ruin your day or lower your rating on purpose!

But did they?

Or is it that you just didn’t agree with their opinion of your work?

While, yes, it’s hard to believe that someone could not like your novel, thinking that the plot lacked depth, your characters were shallow, or—gasp!!!!—your writing is horrible, the fact of every authors life is there will be people that think those things about you and your work.

Period.

I’ve always had the opinion that books are subjective. Some will love your work. Some will hate your work. Of course, I don’t like having to say the word hate; however, I remember one time I finished a novel and was so mad that I just wasted minutes of my life on it that I wanted to shout from the rooftop, warning anyone and everyone I’ve ever known not to read this book. I never left a bad review, because I know as an author how it feels to read them, but I sure wanted to. I felt betrayed. I felt cheated. I felt angry.

If I’d left my review, I’m sure I would have been written off as a troll—someone out to hurt the author just because I’m a mean person. Which of course is the furthest from the truth. The book was bad, and I wasn’t the only one who thought so.

So what does this mean? Well, to put the point straight, while some reviews are mistaken for just being trolls, sometimes it’s quite possible that someone is just nothing more than a mad person who feels cheated at the end of your novel.

tumblr_mn1d3swt1j1sqznooo1_500One of the sure signs of this is that if their complaints are the same complaints of everyone else who is leaving you a bad review. One or two people (out of hundreds) saying your writing is bad might just be trolls—friends there to support each other, especially if they feel attacked by good reviews—or flukes for some reason or another. But if there is review after review after review after review saying the same things . . . well, then, unfortunately, you might want to take another look at some of their reasons and take some of what they say to heart.

Ouch! How dare I say that! That’s not nice.

No, you’re right. It’s not nice. But neither is calling someone a troll who just might be right.

I know I’ve had my share of bad reviews. Sure they’ve stung, sure they’ve made me mad, sure they are the worst things known to an author. However, I will admit that when I’ve taken a step back and actually read their comments, I’ve seen a little bit of where they are coming from. I know I’ve made mistakes in my stories. With every novel, authors get better. Some of the things we’ve done in our debuts we have learned not to do. Our crafts evolve. We lose bad habits and gain good habits. It happens. It’s the natural part of progressing as an artist of the written word.

And when you are under contract with a publisher and you can’t correct the things you know is wrong with your novel—say things that maybe the reviewers touched on that they didn’t like—you know that their complaints probably have some merit.

Perhaps it’s just me, but I know that once I get my rights back to The Woman on the Painted Horse, In the Land of Gold, and When the Black Roses Grow, the first place each of the manuscripts are going before I publish the second editions are back into the world of edits and revisions. I know they have issues, and I have known this for a long time, so I also know that my trolls really aren’t trolls. And if mine aren’t trolls, how can an author say all of theirs are?

are-you-saying-im-some-kind-of-mental-person-how-to-a-lose-a-guy-in-10-days

So it’s with that, that I ask are they really trolls? Or do we call them that to make ourselves feel better? Is doing that right? Or should we, as authors, be a little more open minded when it comes to our readers opinions? At what point do we wave our hands in front of someone else’s face and tell them their opinion doesn’t matter and that they are wrong? What if we are the wrong ones? Is there someone who is wrong?

Facts can be proved right or wrong. Opinions; however, can’t. They are going to differ from one person to the next. That’s the beauty of being a human being! Having your own life and living that life how you want. A life where someone shouldn’t just automatically call you a troll for not liking their work.

    

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22 thoughts on “Trolls exist . . . it’s true, they steal your socks! #writing #amwriting #author #romance #fantasy

  1. You make a great point here. I think there is a correct way of making a criticism so that it comes across positively to the writer in a constructive way. I also think that the writer (this is the hard bit) should not take it personally, but constructively……

    When I read the 50 shades of grey trilogy I enjoyed the first one because it was different, then I became increasingly frustrated reading the other ones because I kept getting thoughts of beauty and the beast because of the repeated words. I have to admire that writer (although many would not class her a writer) there is a certain amount of snobbery in writers. But she’s a millionaire now so who are we to judge. 😄

    1. I agree there is definitely a right and wrong way to get your criticism across. Unfortunately, I think that non-writers don’t really understand how it feels and so sometimes they might not be as nice about it. If that makes any sense. Lol. It is hard not to take it personally. I know I have. I try not to, but it’s that gut reaction to scoff at first. Then after a few days, I can go back to it.

  2. Gosh. I never thought as bad reviews as trolls. To me trolls are reviews that are factually incorrect (I had someone call my clean novel ‘smut on parade’ because the first 3 pages were sex, sex, sex. There was no sex in the entire book.) Or someone who gives all your books one star – including those books that are not yet released! And then it turned out this person gave several hundred books one star (no reviews, just a rating) except – you guessed it – her own books. Pathetic, really.

    1. Wow. Yeah, I probably would think of that woman as a troll. Lol. That seems like a calculated meanness. What brought this post on for me was an author that a friend of mine knows. No matter what the reviewer has to say (and there have been many who have said the same thing about her novel) to her they are just a troll. Period. They have no merit whatsoever. I’m likeminded of your thought—factually incorrect or someone to up their own status. I also think those just out to bully, too.

  3. Interesting and thought provoking post. I like to think it’s to do with subjectivity. Have only encountered bad reviews on Wattpad and they use emojis instead of words to get across their feelings – quite refreshing!

      1. It’s been a great experience for me and a brilliant intro into being an author. They can give you feedback on chapter and it’s such a thrill to see someone working their way through your work. The only issue is that they don’t hold back on feedback. Good training

      2. I’m glad to hear someone has had a good experience on Wattpad. Personally, I find that site disgusting, all about popularity, and they exploit their writers. However, that is just my experience. After being there for three years, I had enough.

  4. No matter who gives a bad review it stings. It’s hard to take. And I hate that one bad review, threatens to erase the hundreds of good ones. Like you said, we all have different opinons and we grow we bad and good reviews.

      1. I guess because when writing we put our soul in it and that makes us feel vulnerable. I would say it’s only natural to feel overjoyed over a good review and sad because of a bad one.

  5. You wrote this well! And I agree with you about bad reviews. I told you about the bad review I got, but I did know the person who wrote it hated me, so it was hard to find it valid. This is great advice, thanks!

    1. Yeah, now, she I would classify as a troll. LOL. Out to do it on purpose for some silly reason. I mainly brought up the subject because of someone a friend of mine knows says all her bad reviews, even the nicely written ones are just mean trolls. Uh . . . Oh well, I guess whatever makes her feel better.

  6. Funny you should mention this. I posted something similar in a facebook writer’s group. They’re all giving me crap for complaining about a 2 star rating (no review), but it wasn’t about the rating. It was about a friend who did it without ever talking to me about it. I just thought it was a strange thing to do.

    Having said that, I was petrified for you and my other blogging friends to read my work. What if you hated it? Then, when you first contacted me about my memoir, I was so humbled and relieved. At first, I thought you had the wrong person. LOL I thought you meant to give someone else that compliment. 😛

    Really, I don’t expect everyone to like my work, not even friends. I just wouldn’t expect a friend to give me a bad rating. But, maybe that’s just me, because I wouldn’t do it.

    1. Wow. Yeah, I would never do that to a friend. Of course, I wouldn’t want to lie either, but to do that is just rude. I’m sure there are friends of mine who haven’t liked my stuff. I’ve had a couple of comments from a friend that have been less than stellar, but I believe hers comes from a different place. I think it’s about time you tell that FB Group to shove it. Lol. Course, I’m anti-anything that deals with FB right now. 🙂

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