Hey guys. I feel like I have been neglecting you as of late. It’s the job; it pretty much sucks away every waking second of my life. But tonight I have a moment, and I thought I would share something I’ve been thinking about for a while. I want to open a discussion on various things I’ve learned over the last year or so as a published author. It’s sort of amazing how much things change. Today’s topic–reviews.
What have I learned about reviews? Frankly, that I don’t know how to use them at all. I had always assumed that reviews would be really helpful in improving my writing. After all, if somebody doesn’t like what you do, you can improve it right? But it doesn’t actually work that way. The reality is that since writing is an art and not a science, reviews don’t really tell you anything other than some people like the book and some people don’t. Take these statements from a few different reviews of The Void.
The characters are well-developed, complex, easy to identify with, and drive the plot admirably. (I appreciated the strong but still-human female captain in a sci-fi/horror thriller written with a depth far greater than usual … and enjoyed slowly uncovering the characters’ respective demons.)
His characters parade by in a nameless, faceless row all in the same voice.
The Void is one of the best horror novels that I’ve read this year, hands down. It is a vast improvement on That Which Should Not Be and firmly establishes Brett Talley as an author to watch out for in the future.
The Void is hands down one of the most disappointing follow up novels I’ve read in a long time. That Which Should Not Be had great monsters, good and evil, and all the other dark, sinister elements Lovecraft was famous for in his day. The Void has none of that.
Seriously, what can you do with all that? These reviews aren’t just in conflict; they directly contradict one another. The lesson I’ve learned is that there’s not much constructive you can do with a review. Take the good and enjoy it. Leave the bad behind. Your sanity won’t survive otherwise.