As a writer, and a recently published one, I am walking the fine line between love and hate. Yes, I am a romance author, but I am not talking about romance per se, I am talking about writing.
It is nearly impossible to please everyone all of the time. Even popular authors such as JK Rowling, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Laurel Hamilton, Nora Roberts, etc. have a percentage of negative reviews.
Is it possible to reduce the number of negative responses to a novel?
Perhaps. Perhaps not.
For example, I’ll take a WIP of mine about a vampire who wakes up with amnesia. Some might assume this is impossible and not read further. Others might wonder how can this be and will read more.
Let’s take another example, Harry Potter. He uses whatever he can to fight Voldemort and save his friends. Many see him as a hero and a perfect friend. Others think he is a rebel, who refuses to accept authority, is manipulative and a liar.
How about a classic? Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Many readers love this story and call it one of the great literature works of all time. Others think Elizabeth Bennet is too sarcastic, that Mr. Darcy is a bore and lazy, and overall propagates manipulation in relationships.
So if the hero is lenient to the heroine, this can be seen as he is easily manipulated or kind. If the heroine takes something that’s hers, even though the reader or hero doesn’t know it, she can either be seen as a thief or taking back what’s hers.
If the heroine puts up too much of a fight with the hero then she’s in danger of being labeled rude. However, if she gives in too quickly than she’s thought of as wimpy or unbelievable. If she refuses to listen to the hero because she knows better she can be perceived ranging anywhere from refreshing to obstinate.
Even a kiss isn’t safe. If the hero grabs the heroine and kisses her forcefully, it can be seen as either exciting or too aggressive.
So what is a writer to do? The best we can…and know we cannot please everyone. Add softness to a rough character, season with spice to a mild heroine. Just be aware of too much compromise and the characters may become neurotic.
But no matter what we do, someone somewhere will not like our story, characters, or anything about our novel…and that’s ok. Everyone’s perceptions are different. As a writer, don’t get discouraged about a negative review or comment. Instead try to see it from their angle and improve for the next story. But don’t dwell on it because it’s impossible to please everyone.
If you get depressed, read the 1 and 2 star reviews of famous authors. The write the best novel you can, and fall in love with the characters, not the reviewers. Write. Write to prove the negative people wrong, write for those who love your stories, write for yourself.
How do you feel as a writer to get negative reviews? Or as a reader, is there a story that you hate or love that your opinion is the minority?