Two Posts– One Day

Well, as you can tell from my other post, I’m not having much of a day. Discovered another review of my story, Retribution, and this one is harsh.

I tell new writers all the time to have thick skin– that it’s very important in this business. I’ve been told bad things about my writing in the past. I don’t know a writer who hasn’t. I’ve also won a bunch of writing awards and even published here and there. I’ve been told excellent things about my writing.

A very close friend of mine once said, “I just don’t want my work to be mediocre.” She and I have the same feelings. (Her writing is anything but, btw) I want to write fabulous stuff that wows people. What writer doesn’t?

Retribution was my version of a sort of contemporary Poe introspective piece. I knew it was heavy on descriptive passages– did it that way on purpose. I still don’t think the story sucks. And that’s unusual for me– my writing is hardly ever good enough for me. Remember that whole perfectionist thing I talked about? But this kind of reaction can still sting…

“Following “Beauty Is,” we have a humorous interview with horror author Graham Masterton and an overview of recent horror/splatter video games, but I’m not at liberty to mention these. Therefore I will regretfully move on to “Retribution” by Rinda Elliott. “Retribution” has an intriguing premise—a pathological criminal finds himself bothered by icky emotions and [shudder] conscience—but does not run with it. Instead, the short story contains mostly summarized chunks of the criminal’s sociopathic past and his stirrings of feeling. “Retribution” falls flat because it tells, rather than shows.”

The really amusing part of this was I originally did plan to “run” with that story– it was supposed to be longer but I just liked the way it first came out. Another unusual thing for me.

Ah well, on to the next challenge.


About Rinda Elliott

Writer.I love unusual stories and credit growing up in a family of curious life-lovers who moved all over the country. Books and movies full of fantasy, science fiction and romance kept us amused, especially in some of the stranger places. For years, I tried to separate my darker side with my humorous and romantic one. I published short fiction, but things really started happening when I gave in and mixed it up. When not lost in fiction, I love making wine, collecting music, gaming and spending time with my husband and two children. I’m represented by Miriam Kriss of the Irene Goodman Agency.
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11 Responses to Two Posts– One Day

  1. Betty S says:

    Ignore these crazy people.
    You will never please everyone.
    Focus on pleasing yourself. Every one who thinks and feels like you will agree with you and like it, too. Those who don’t, don’t matter anyway.

    If you write for the critics, you aren’t writing for yourself and the readers who love what you do, and in doing that you will lose your best audience.

    Stay true to yourself.

  2. Dana Pollard says:

    What Betty said.

    And I hate that whole show don’t tell crap. Every blasted book on the shelf at a book store, or libarary, is packed full of telling.

  3. The real irony is I’ve taught on show don’t tell, been told I make an excellent judge because I “show” writers how not to tell. LOL!

    I do know the difference but I wanted the story that way. This reviewer actually said something worse later that got to me. Used the words cannot instead of did not in a way I wouldn’t have. But hey, it’s her review.

    I was a little upset yesterday, but I’ll snap back. I have got to get used to this sort of thing because I have no intention of quitting.

    I’ll keep reminding myself that this story won a pretty huge category in a contest. 🙂

    Thanks for the kind words!

  4. X. Dell says:

    My experience with critics (music, writing, etc.) has been mostly positive, but I often don’t like their praise as much as I despise their pans. After all, who are they to judge my work, positively or negatively?

    Literary critics have a rather extensive history of just not getting the genius behind the works that they condemn, and the greatest authors have gone through that (as I’m sure you know).

    The real measure of how you write depends on how well you fill the need of people who would like to read you. When I get a break in schedule, I plan on reading “Retribution” mostly because I like what I see in your writing–for whatever reason I do–and want to see more.

    I note how other posters respond to you, and over time I think that this could be a truer test of mettle.

    Besides, I’ll bet good money there’s a positive review out there somewhere.

    Meanwhile, there’s something I always told my music students that applies here: if they don’t like your story, tell them to write their own g-d-mn story, or shut the #%$@! up:-)

  5. No positive reviews yet, but I have received good responses. The editor loved it and that’s good enough for now.

    All over it. Yesterday was just one of those days when you’re so tired and emotionally worn, you question your chosen career. If I’m not mistaken, a lot of writers do this.

    Thanks for the uplifting words and I really hope you like Retribution. It is pretty different.

  6. Rose says:

    You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time. You write the way that you do and if people don’t like it, let it run like water off duck’s back. For every one person that hates it there will be two who love it. In this line of work like any, everyone wants to be a critique and the sad part is some are in no place to critique. My free advice for

  7. Thanks for the kind words, Rose. I followed you back and see you’re a blog nut like myself. (g)

    I have received way more good responses with my work, so I’m cool. It’s funny how we can hook on to that one or two negative responses, isn’t it?

    I like to share the good and the bad here for new writers… or even old ones like myself who still need to remember it’s like this for all of us. Okay, most of us.

  8. Looks like some readers are disagreeing with that reviewer in Tangent’s remark section.

    Maybe I wasn’t the only one who felt it was meanspirited. Her review of another story in that magazine, one I liked very much by Jason Sizemore, was just plain ugly.

  9. (((Rinda))) on the harsh review.

  10. I’m really cool with it now, but thanks. Hugs area always welcome.

    But I’m snoopy dancing over a comparison I got to Lovecraft and Poe. Somebody got it!

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