While nobody likes to encounter a rude person or be on the receiving end of painful criticism, one thing is for sure … this bluntness is an honest expression of feelings.
With flattery and compliments on the other hand it becomes increasingly difficult to believe anything people say. Do they mean what they say, are they just being nice, or do they want something?
Take my neighbor for instance. The woman recently had a baby and proudly showed the infant to anyone who cared to look. Without fail, everyone admired the baby stating how cute he was, what an adorable nose he had and remarking how big he was.
Once the mother was out of earshot the baby compliments turned to criticism.
“That was the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen.”
“That baby is so fat, it’s gross.”
“Was that a nose or a beak?”
The previously admired name (Jace) was also racked over the coals. While the name was praised as original while the mother was present, once she had turned her back her audience shook their heads in disgust.
“What kind of a stupid name is Jace?”
“Is that short of Jason or something?”
“I feel sorry for that kid when he goes to school. A name like Jace is an invitation for bullying.”
The same lot often befalls authors. While the writer is present, readers praise their work, but if he or she were a fly on the wall they might hear something quite different.
From personal experience, I recently “read” a book from a woman who proudly presented me with a copy of her work. I intended to read the book start to finish, but I didn’t. Chapter 1 had so many flashbacks I didn’t know whether I was coming or going.
Chapter 2 introduced characters that I can only describe as complete nuts.
By chapter 3, I was rubbing my forehead, frowning and sighing … this wasn’t just bad writing, this was atrocious.
Naturally I can’t mention the author or the name of the book. Suffice to say it had something to do with vampires and it is the writer’s intention to turn her work into a series.
Which left me wondering, what is it with people and vampires? Do they want to jump on the bandwagon of success seeing that the “Twilight Saga” and “Vampire Diaries” are so well received?
And why a series? Do they honestly think their work is that good that people won’t get enough of their story telling? What’s wrong with writing a story, seeing how the book does, and then write a sequel?
Equally bothering is the fact that many writers give their book a title similar to a bestseller. Recently I saw a book called “Prejudice and Pride” and “Murder she writes”. I mean please, this borders on plagiarism.
As for my work, I make it a point not to ask for feedback. If someone hated the story, it’s unlikely that a reader will say so. And if someone is honest enough to criticize, I probably won’t like it. So really, what’s the point?
Perhaps the saying “If you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all” is not such a bad idea.