Thursday, August 30, 2012

You Just Can't Please Everyone

I read two books last month that really got me thinking.

1. The first book quickly captured my attention and held on till the end.  I enjoyed the twist, I pined for the characters trials and misfortunes.  Once finished, I got onto Goodreads to see what other people thought of the novel.  I was surprised to find that the reception was quite icy - with a few exceptions, most of the comments were nasty, nit picky and perhaps unnecessarily vicious.  While I agree it wasn't the next great American novel, I thought it was very well done.

2. The second book was one whose back cover blurb had won me over.  It was one of those books that was so bad, I'm surprised I actually finished - the editing was atrocious, the characters were shallow, whiny and inconsistent (one moment they praised a certain idea, the next they shunned it, back and forth, like the author couldn't make up their mind how the characters actually felt), and the worst part - the ending was a cheat!  I think it was meant to be a twist, but turned out to be a cliche and unsatisfying way to end a story.  I was sure that Goodreads reviews would agree with me.  Once again I was surprised - most commenters were singing the book's praises.  In fact, out of over 100 reviews, I was only able to find one that agreed with my opinion - the others just didn't jive with the story.

I'm sure that you have had experiences just like this one.  I think it goes to show that there is no such thing as a perfect book.  Different stories speak to different people.  Even Harry Potter has it's haters, I'm sure.

What does that have to do with you?

For the month of August I've been encouraging you (and motivating myself) to D.E.W. - drop everything and write.  To close off the challenge, I wanted to leave you with some encouragement.

Forget the cynics.  Forget the fans.  Forget the comments and reviews.  In the end, they really don't matter.  You can't please everyone, so don't write for them.

Write for you, because you can't see your life without the written word.  That's why we make the sacrifices we do - giving up sleep or television - to breathe life into characters and build worlds, or question society.  In the end, you will have lovers of your words and haters of your words.  That's the cold hard facts.

But more importantly, if you truly feel the calling to be a writer, you will be happy.

So write on, my friends, write on!

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