Saturday, May 5, 2007

An Attack of Ego

I am feeling dirty today. No, not in a good way.

I got a review for one of my stories and it was so-so.

I suppose I should suck it up and either act like it doesn't matter or take the criticism and use it to my advantage, but I don't feel like it. I feel like going to the local liquory (yes, that's a new word), investing in a little pre-mixed Cuervo margarita and using bad language to describe whoever doesn't like my writing.

I have mixed feelings about this review.

Part of me feels like I should be grateful that someone reviewed it. After all, I've sold several copies online and no one has returned to the site to post their comments on it. Though, I can't blame them, I rarely do that myself. Unless it's something I'm giving 5 stars or it was a horrible waste of time, I don't often feel a compulsion to tell other people what I think of a story. I suppose I should also feel flattered that the owner of the site reviewed it since she doesn't review stories very often.

But, I'm kind of offended. Not because I can't take criticism. I can. After a few deep breaths and a long analyzation of the exact wording of the comments. I take it and either agree or disagree. I see the points of the reviewer (whether I agree or not) and I try to store up the useful info for next time. But, it's fucking hard. I want everyone to like everything I do. I want them to glow about it. I want them to tell me it was one of the best things they've ever read and they can't wait to buy everything I've got in print.

'Tis not the case.

What makes it worse for me is that I posted an early version of this story elsewhere (before I decided to publish it). The people there loved it, but that may be because 1. they know me and at the time I was posting stories there frequently and 2. they are more personally invested in the story because the main character is based on someone they like. Regardless of the amount of praise the story received, at the time I was just happy it wasn't being completely ignored.

Which brings me to my ego dilemma. I try to tell myself I don't like or want false praise, nor do I solicit it. I genuinely want readers to like what I'm putting out there or tell me their concerns if they're unhappy with it. But, it's hard to take when someone sees something you don't. I disagree with the reviewer on several technical points, but I know her comments were subjective. I shouldn't be upset because it doesn't appear to be personal. (Though I do wonder why the second book I submitted was never reviewed. Was the first really that bad?) I want to take the words of the former readers over this one reviewer because most of them liked it (and I've also got the word of another reviewer who enjoyed it). I want to believe my writing has improved in the 2 years since I wrote that story. I want to think that nothing "fell short" in the execution department and that this writer simply didn't like my storyline. (I am tempted to only quote the positive parts of the review. Is that dishonest?)

*sigh* I also want an M&Ms M-azing bar right now. Or two.

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