This is going to be a bit of a ramble. Don’t say you weren’t warned!
Thanks to my new vow to stop multi-tasking, I had to to wait until I finished a book that was really pissing me off, before starting this post. I’m not going to tell you the title. I will never name books I don’t like. Someone put a lot of work and a lot of soul into that book, and I can’t bring myself to demean something so precious to another person.
So let me talk about this in the abstract: I wanted to stop reading this book altogether at some point (at many points). The main character really pissed me off. He was one of those types that I hate – a character that is a spectator in their own lives, where all they do is react to situations, and where every other character introduced is so much more interesting, and yet someone we don’t get to follow. No, we’re left with this guy, who can’t stand up for himself, who isn’t articulate, who is a constant victim in a world where bad things just keep happening, and in response he never seems to learn or improve. He’s not attractive or intelligent or special in any way, and he doesn’t become any of these things either. He’s just a sponge – absorbing and feeling bad and then expounding on the life lessons he has learned as a sponge. The longer the amount of time I spent with this person – the more I started to actively hate him. I felt like spending time with him was wasting hours of my life, and maybe so.
However, every time I wanted to stop – I thought about the reviewers that I sent my book out to, and I kept going. I’ve tried to put a constructive spin on reviews, with this post, and here’s a follow up. I’ve sent the draft out to a good number of people – a sample. There were two reviewers in particular who I had been really looking forward to hearing from, because they were published authors; they had that aura of legitimacy: they had been published in the traditional way. They were represented by agents and a real publisher had published their books. This would be some great feedback! So I waited for their responses in happy anticipation. Then I just kept on waiting.
One of the authors could not finish the book at all. My book isn’t that long, just to be clear. But she just could not finish it. As I was reading the book which will not be named, I kept thinking – was this what it was like for her? What I’ve heard back from the reviewer is that this book is not her “type.” (I’m assuming she’s being honest here, and there’s no reason to think she would lie.) Anything that falls outside this “type,” she cannot bring herself to read, not even for a friend. What I take from this is that people have a natural range of books they will read: they have a “type.” People like blonds and Thai food, and anything else is ugly and tastes like dogfood. Human nature is what it is. I, on the other hand, am a book whore. I’ll read anything, as long as something about it piques my interest, so this was good to know.
The other reviewer? She’s a genius. Literally, a genius. She could probably put away an encyclopedia a day. So no sweat, right? Could probably jot down a few useful notes and be done with it. I never heard back from her again. I don’t understand why people say they’re going to do something – and then don’t do it. Human nature is a funny thing. I’m going to keep shuffling along. Writing is a process, and there are a lot of obstacles along the way – I just have to keep moving forward. As long as I keep moving, I will eventually get to where I want to be.