It may be because I’m sick and I can’t stand any more pressure, (sinus or otherwise), that caused me to take a recent criticism of my book so personally. I have no problem with an honest critique/review, or individuals telling me what they like or dislike about my writing and characters. Opinions vary, tastes in fiction are diverse, and I certainly don’t expect everyone to agree. But someone randomly picking my book to rag on in a writer’s forum because they read three pages and didn’t find it Hemingway-ish is a little annoying.
Some people are not happy unless they can show their superior intellect by picking apart someone else’s work. This type of critic always refers back to some dead writer who killed himself with alcohol and angst, pointing out the superiority of their writing over your illegitimate drivel.
My writing may be drivel, it may not have secret meanings behind every sentence, it may not shine with prose from heaven, and it may not include the character of a depressed old fisherman, but most people seem to like it. (If they actually read more than the first three pages.) If they aren’t bigoted, egotistical, snobs who think no one has written anything worth reading since the last lush shot himself in the head.
Speaking of Hemingway: Is there anyone who can say with complete sincerity that they enjoyed reading his work? That they weren’t bored to tears? That if the teacher didn’t make them, they would have been reading a book of drivel that was a heck of a lot more fun and interesting? If you said yes to any of these questions, you are obviously more literary than I, or you’re a really sad liar. But at least my books don’t need multiple self-professed interpreters for normal people to enjoy.
So the critic basically said, after reading the first three pages of my book, that he liked my style but he stopped reading because, unlike Hemingway, I put in a useless page of unnecessary writing before I jumped to the second chapter. I also used the word “heir” instead of beneficiary, which proves I’m not a real lawyer. Not only that, but my author bio said I was from Minnesota. Obviously I couldn’t know anything about wineries or vineyards.
I noticed this online critic also wrote a book that he touted as being the most awesome mystery ever, and in the title was the word MURDER. I innocently wondered if he had actually murdered people so his writing would be more authentic, or if he just made it up. I wonder if Hemingway was really an angry, depressed drunk like characters in his books? Actually, yes, I think he was. You don’t get the Nobel prize in literature for faking it.
So, I’m going to go take some more cold medicine, drink some hot tea, and hope to clear my head enough to continue writing the sequel to my first book of drivel. I’m sure it’s a wasted effort. After all, I still live in Minnesota and never went to law school. But it gives me something to do during my convalescence.
Don’t worry: No critics were killed or injured during the writing of this diatribe. But they may become a victim of random violence in my next book.