Lessons from My Reading

M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April 3 My Worst Writing Fear -- Greg Dragon





Greg Dragon hails from sunny South Florida and has worked in the creative field for several years. He has written extensively on the web with articles on gaming and lifestyle improvement and continues to do so on several websites. You can learn more about him at his website, Facebook, and TwitterHe blogs at GoodReads.

Taking Criticism As A Writer

A good friend of mine read Anstractor in it’s entirety and pulled me to the side. He said “I’m gonna write up my thoughts on your book and give it to you but remember that I’m an ass, so don’t take it personally.” His comment made me laugh because he knew that I could take criticism but felt the need to say that anyway. What could he possibly say that would make him feel the need to remind me of how much of an ass he was? Well, perhaps he had dinged an author before and in turn saw the damage that his words had caused. I told him to give it his best shot, I’ll take what I can away from it, and turn my nose up at the subjective bits.

The reason he warned me about his critique is due to the personal nature of writing. We all love praise but the negative remarks take a lot of getting used to. Many people seem to get damaged from criticism and will even quit no matter how much the positives prove that they probably shouldn’t. Once you reveal your writing to the world you are subjected to some of the harshest opinions that you can take, many coming from people that have an agenda. Some of it you can use to improve, much of it just feels like a personal jab. When people ask me what was the hardest part about writing a book, I often forget that it’s the endgame. You have to market it and deal with what other people think.

If you are reading this and thinking about doing your own book, criticism is something that you have to be ready for. I have seen so many authors respond angrily to their one-stars on Amazon, creating whole blogs to address their “haters” and walking around with a chip on their shoulder all because of critics. You have to prep for the bad that comes along with the good. Many of your friends and family will offer great support and feedback, but in the back of your mind you will discount it. You want to hear what “the masses” feel, and even if the vast majority loves your book to death, the one-star ninja that questioned your writing style will get under your skin. You have to be ready for that and you have to be honest with yourself about how ready for it you truly are.

After a few weeks of reviews both in-person and online I was practically over it with Anstractor. I love my book, love my story, and love writing, but negativity moved me to a place of wanting to just press on. You go from defensive to accepting to just saying “ya add it to the growing list of complaints”, deciding whether you will learn from it, or just chalk it up to people with opinions. Regardless of what you do, you will react one way or the other. I thought that I was bulletproof but it got to me in the worst way after the second month of marketing. It will get to you, but how will you react?

I look at the seasoned experts in writing and the jaw of steel they all seem to have and it reminds me that they were tempered through the fire too. So when you write, and I hope you still do write, make sure that you are ready for the criticism once it goes public. I was a blogger before I wrote Anstractor so I had been charred, burnt, and baked by trolls in preparation for this. It still was not enough preparation to deal with negativity from strangers… even with the enormous support that I do have. For a new writer looking to be successful at authorship, I will tell you that it can hurt but just remember that everyone’s a critic, and everyone isn’t necessarily nice, and/or supportive. Weather the storm, improve, and don’t quit.
 
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Anstractor Vestalia
A Sci-Fi Romance


Born an outcast, raised a soldier, and chosen as a savior. Rafian VCA is humanity's only hope against a vicious new race of predators aimed at taking over the galaxy of Anstractor. In Anstractor: Vestalia, the first book by author Greg Dragon, the planet of Vestalia has been completely taken over by the Geralos. After losing their home and being forced into space, the revengeful Marines of Vestalia decide to take the fight back to the Geralos and win their planet back.


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