Topic: Reviews that I hate

Well, John, since it's just you and me, I feel empowered to be totally honest.

I hate reviews that start out: I liked your (novel, poem, short story). It reminds me of my (novel, poem, short story). And then they proceed to tell you the entire plot of their (novel, poem, short story) where it was published and if it wasn't published where they hope to publish it and when.

That's it. Review over. Nothing to tell me how to improve my work, nothing to let me know what worked in the piece and what did not, nothing about why they like or didn't like it. Just them crowing about THEIR work. I'm sure it's to lure me into reading their stuff, but honestly, when I get a review like that, I thank them and NEVER look at their stuff.

Bottom line: A review is not an advertisement for your work. It's to help the writer improve their work. If you can't check your ego at the door, don't review, period.

dags smile

Re: Reviews that I hate

Indeed. I feel your pain, dags. I've probably been guilty of referencing my own shite whilst doing a review here and there but I think I'm pretty good about concentrating on the author's work and conscientiously trying to get a good read and thus give a useful critique. And that's the lesson for everybody out there. You can be harsh with your assessment of another writer's efforts as long as you put in a comparable effort to read and reckon their prose. We all get lazy and/or disinterested and feel like we're suffering fools just to accumulate points and whatnot but, if you approach it like it's your honorable duty...

I dunno. What I'm most guilty of, as a reviewer, is that I'll go balls out to express my impressions about a fellow writer's first impression on me and then (if I don't receive an equitable level of passion/dispassion in response, if I don't "feel" a certain correspondent dynamic, that is) I'll forget all about that person after chapter one. I'll just move on to the next big wannabe writer who, I'm hoping, will wanna engage with me more intimately. That sounds a bit needy of me, of course, but I think developing relationships and exchanging ideas and sharing perspectives with other writers is what this website should be all about. And, furthermore, we can afford to be picky when choosing with whom we wish to parry, thrust, and hug. Especially since we're all paying to play here.

On the other hand, and if you're convinced you're writing a bestseller and nobody can tell you otherwise... Well, what was the point of joining up in the first place? I understand that experiencing, first hand, John Hamler's particular brand of condescension is a thrilling and fulfilling rite of passage in its own right, but... Is it really worth $50 a year?

Just kidding. Kinda.

At any rate, I think we can all rate for ourselves the value of the missives we exchange and thusly act accordingly.

Good talk, dags. Hopefully some of the other members will be able to chime in, too. I extended an invitation to everyone with "my connection" status, but apparently there's a limited number of forum groups a single writer can belong to. You actually have to drop one to join another. I dunno. Hang with me.

Re: Reviews that I hate

John, your reviews helped me a lot.
I don't know if I'm just not in your orbit of intellect or if you are over thinking your part as a reviewer. I don't think it's necessary to go 'balls out' when telling another writer how you feel about what they've written. Besides, that sounds painful. I say 'sounds' because not having balls I am not qualified to say for certain.
When I review, I come at it as a reader. I tell the writer what I read so they can ascertain if their story is being communicated in the way they meant. Sometimes I have to tell them I am confused by what I read and what to add or omit to make themselves clearer. Then my job is done.
Their response really doesn't matter because it's a one way street, you can't reply, and are encouraged to take it private if you care to do so. Exchanging personal information is not something I gravitate toward, so unless the writer is just plain rude, I'm probably not going to give it a second thought.
I'm not judging you, John. And I really don't think you're being needy. My generation's fear of intimacy created online relationships and passed them down to you. You were raised with the ability to contact anyone in the world at any time, and it's quiet natural for you to seek companionship.

smile

Re: Reviews that I hate

And let's not forget the so-called 'in-line' reviews that'll garner around 2 credits (or more), with the required 5 comments in the first 3 paragraphs and a quick 'great stuff' bullshit general comment.

And how about those reviewers that'll call the author on his/her 'run-on' sentences while they are (technically) not, but seem to bother the reviewer because they (the sentences) contain more words than, say, 'One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish'?

It used to be quite different here, but that was some ten, eleven, twelve years back. You'd get a considerable stack of critiques, and, perhaps even more importantly, people actually reciprocated.

5 (edited by dagny 2021-08-27 17:55:38)

Re: Reviews that I hate

It used to be quite different here, but that was some ten, eleven, twelve years back. You'd get a considerable stack of critiques, and, perhaps even more importantly, people actually reciprocated.

Willem--
You and I remember the old site differently. When I joined ten years ago, while some of my reviews were helpful, a good number of them were as I described in my first post. Then there were the 'Christmas newsletter' reviews that began with a sentence telling me how good my work was before going into what was going on in their lives. After that was the 'health update' reviews. Then I had reviews that were hyper-critical of my work because I was friends with someone they were friends with and they were jealous because that friend reviewed me more or mentioned me in the forums. It was like I was back in high school.

I learned quickly who to trust, I had four people reading every chapter of my novel and giving me good honest feed back. The reviewers that reviewed my stuff with non-reviews got a thank you and a return review because I needed the points. And even then, I got called out in the forums for not elaborating more in my thank yous. It seemed thank you was not enough for the non-reviews I got.

For me, the old site was a toxic brew of people who'd known each other a long time and made it tough for a new author serious about their craft to feel accepted. I like the way the main group forum is run now. By not allowing name calling and off the rails arguments to continue for months the rabble-rousers have dropped off the site. The environment now is much more conducive to nurturing, not discouraging, the amateur writer.
dags smile

6 (edited by Willem Robart 2021-08-27 18:47:44)

Re: Reviews that I hate

Howdy, dags!

I hear you, but can't really comment other than to say I'm talking about  '08 and '09. I know the exact years, because I quit writing in May of '09, immediately after our youngest son passed away. Came back last year (under a different pseudonym) when my muse returned. And, yes, I had (and have again) some very excellent reviewers--people who actually read books, I'm sure. But back then you were guaranteed reciprocation. I know several former members I 'met' and exchanged critiques with during those days who've hit the big time since, some of whom (still) have my name in the Author's Notes.

Stay safe!

Ben

Re: Reviews that I hate

The reciprocation thing is key. I think. It's not that I'm starved for comradery, it's more a feeling I get when I look to the west and feel like some writers are reticent to being open and open-minded after receiving a review from me. The reviews I personally receive are always cherished by me. No matter how shallow or self-serving they may be.

On the contrary, it's the reviews I GIVE that I demand compensation for.

Like I said already, if you're talented enough (JD Salinger-esque) that you can compose your prose without any fear of feedback from or engagement with your fellow literati, totally certain that your wordsmithing is above the fray...

Well, joining a website like this seems to me to be a redundant exercise. The "toxic brew" Dagny bemoans is exactly what life itself is all about, I'm afraid. THIS TOO SHALL PASS has always been my credo because I know damn well my talent for giving offense is equally balanced by other people's talent for TAKING offense. I'm an anti-capitalist at heart but when you're dealing with the arts or athletics or aesthetics or politics (and other public ventures) it's a dog eat dog world. A world where merit recognizes merit and rewards the bold with recognition. Sure, you can pick and choose who to trust and whose words to abide, but (even without balls) you shouldn't shy away from putting on a jock strap and getting in the scrum in order to stand your ground.

Or, even better, stand back to have your mind changed and your perspective grounded. If not your balls, spayed.

Perhaps my own personal perspective is inherently toxic, though. Dagny and I, for example, have been in the wars -one on one- a few times over the years and I've probably rubbed her the wrong way more often than the right. I've since forgotten exactly where I overstepped and failed to apologize and acknowledge my missteps, but the point is we're still here. On shaky ground, yes, but still on speaking terms. On TNBW. Because, above all, we both love the craft of literature and wanna promote it.

Right, dags?

Cheers

John

Re: Reviews that I hate

The "toxic brew" Dagny bemoans is exactly what life itself is all about, I'm afraid.

No, it's not John. This site is not a reflection of real life unless life is all about nurturing the fledgling writer. This site was set up to help writers find their own writing voices and being encouraged by other writers to exercise that voice. Instead I found an online community of writers who couldn't put their personal baggage aside long enough to give one meaningful review. I felt it with my own novel, people wanted me to change names, get rid of characters and pair Boston up with Nichole, instead of Chip.And that was just the plot. Next I had one review telling me to omit a certain word, and when I did, I got another review telling me to put the word back in. It was writing a novel by committee after a while, taking me further and further away from my vision of what my novel would be like. That's when I decided to pay attention to only a handful of people, writers who had no interest in taking over my novel, but every intention of making my novel a reality.

As for you and I, John, the only quarrel I ever have with you is how you portray women in your stories. Describing women in misogynous slang with words like filthy in front of it, made me stop reading whatever came after. Now, I assume you don't want to alienate half the world's population, the half, I might add, that actually reads, and that is why I am so hard on you about it.

Other than that, we're good. smile

Re: Reviews that I hate

HA. Well, you do make some excellent points, dags. Per usual. In retort I would just like to say that I didn't invent "misogynous slang" and that the characters I oftentimes write about are indeed misogynists. Some of them are downright evil, in fact. Some of them are simply ignorant. And yet others are self-aware of their inherent misogyny and just don't care. Whether fictional or real, empathetic or sociopathic, misogynists and racists and misanthropists abound. In both fiction and reality. Both next door and next to the self-help section of the bookstore. As an author you simply can't worry about alienating a section of the population whilst creating a character or narrative.

In other words, assholes make for more compelling protagonists.

But not always. For every Han Solo there's a Harry Potter, after all. I'm only trying to defend my specific brand of anti-hero. You do you, dags. I only ask that you don't conflate the two with the author him/herself. Unless the author him/herself wants to go ahead and out him/herself.

For instance... JK Rowling is apparently okay with being branded a homophobic elitist. John Hamler, in kind, is okay with branding himself an irreverent and irreligious fool. Which is why I started this particular forum in the first place. To spark some conflicting/conflicted conversation. So far, so good. Except, unfortunately, it's just you and me so far. sad

Cheers

John

10 (edited by spear-shake 2021-08-30 12:38:37)

Re: Reviews that I hate

Well, let me take that last line as a direct invitation to butt into the conversation big_smile

When it comes to misogynous and otherwise eff'd-up characters, I absolutely agree that an author shouldn't hesitate to dive head-first into those waters. That's where all the big fish is to be found. And I don't think I've come across many people who have a problem with it as long as the author is aware of it. Because that awareness is reflected in the writing. It's more the case of unconscious bias that can lead to pitchfork-wielding mobs knocking on your door. An author's job is to be aware of the tone of his/her every word, and bias, of any kind, blinds them to it. Writers start revealing things without knowing it and readers can sense what belongs to the story and what belongs to the author. That's why, it seems to me, a writer like Stieg Larsson could write about horrific violence against women without anyone having a problem with it (at least as far as I'm aware of). On the flip side, all another man has to write is 'she was imperfect, but not really *wink wink*' and the whole world descends on him. And it should.

But since this is a group for a bit of conflicted conversation, let me take things a bit further. I want to see what you think about some of the things that have been bouncing around my head for a while.

We all know that the list of misogynistic writers is long and disturbing. I don't think anyone disputes that, unless they themselves belong to that category.

Everyone's talking about how men write women and given how that writing has historically impacted culture, it's no wonder. But no one seems to be talking about the bigger picture: both genders are blinded to the other side by the roles society has given them and it interferes with the quality of writing produced by both men and women.

The other day I was talking to my girlfriend and she said, ''Society expects men to be strong, and women to be perfect.'' And when men write women as perfect, women have a problem with it. They point out the imperfections of their own male characters as proof of their own objectivity. And fair enough.

But when's the last time a woman's written a male character who wasn't strong? See, women will write wildly imperfect male characters, but no matter how low they fall, most of the time these male characters have a strong sense of purpose in life and/or an ability/skill that is unquestionable to the reader even if the character doubts it. Everywhere I go I find women who fantasize about male fictional characters but can't find a single man who can relate to them. So how guilty are women of exercising the same fantasies in fiction that they accuse men of? Women's fantasies are just a bit more complex; men go looking for naked pictures and women go reading Fifty Shades of Gray.

In closing, I'd like to say that this isn't some counter-attack in the Battle of the Sexes. I love reading female authors because it's as though someone took my perspective and moved it two feet to the left. And having been blessed with a strong sense of purpose in life, I've always been able to relate to the characters. But the number of men I've seen turn away from those same stories because they found them unrealistic fantasies with no grounding in the real world, is staggering. Same way women turn away from perfect female characters.

As a writer, I have that same gigantic blind-spot and the more I read the works of others, the more I see I'm not the only one, and I can't help but wonder how I can better bridge the gap between the two perspectives to make my work more... integrated, shall we say?

Cheers,
Jurij

11 (edited by dagny 2021-08-31 04:03:55)

Re: Reviews that I hate

In other words, assholes make for more compelling protagonists.
John,
First, you have a choice on the kind of characters you write. To me it seems you lean toward the misogynist asshole type. You say they are compelling protagonists. Well, I'd hate to see what your antagonists look like. The first rule in writing any character is that they change in the course of the story. How many times did Han Solo go back to save his companions when he had a clear shot of getting away alone? That wasn't in his nature at the beginning of Star Wars. A more recent Star Wars example: When the Mandalorian is shackled with Baby Yoda, he tries in vain to get rid of him. Then during the course of the story he becomes Baby Yoda's care taker, losing everything, including his ship, to save him. Another personal example, Boston starts out as a lone wolf FBI agent who refuses to work with a partner. He's anti-social married to his job. He oversees his mother's care, but considers her a obligation. He has separated himself from his mother so completely he calls her by her first name. By the end of the book he not only has a partner, he's reestablished a relationship with his mother.

I don't see that kind of growth in your characters.

As an author you simply can't worry about alienating a section of the population whilst creating a character or narrative.

If that's the way you feel, you'll only be writing for a narrow section of the population, like The National Coalition for Men.
(https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate … -supremacy)

I can see you are rigorous in your defense of continuing to write men who hate women and use them only to satisfy their sexual needs. I gave up a long time ago trying to get you to see society has moved on from the fifties attitudes toward women. We even have a woman vice president now, AND although she didn't win, a woman presidential candidate got more votes than a man in 2016.

dags smile

PS Thank you for giving us a place to vent and discuss ideas relevant to our writing. This is much more fun than ruminating on whether to leave or take out the word 'and' in ad nauseam. smile)

12 (edited by dagny 2021-08-30 19:20:13)

Re: Reviews that I hate

I've come across many people who have a problem with it as long as the author is aware of it. Because that awareness is reflected in the writing. It's more the case of unconscious bias that can lead to pitchfork-wielding mobs knocking on your door. An author's job is to be aware of the tone of his/her every word, and bias, of any kind, blinds them to it. Writers start revealing things without knowing it and readers can sense what belongs to the story and what belongs to the author...That's why, it seems to me, a writer like Stieg Larsson could write about horrific violence against women without anyone having a problem with it (at least as far as I'm aware of)

Jurij,
What a clear definition author intrusion. I didn't learn about that until I got on this site and a writer pointed out to me. I had a few left leaning political views that seeped into my writing. They would just appear out of nowhere and have nothing to do with the plot. I don't think I need to explain to you why Stieg Larsson wrote those scenes, but just to clarify your point: he did that so no one would be sympathetic to the men when the girl fucked them up. lol

Everyone's talking about how men write women and given how that writing has historically impacted culture, it's no wonder.

This reminded me of Jack Nicholson's character in As Good As It Gets when he's asked how he writes women: I think of a man and I take away reason and accountability. When I first heard that, even though I laughed, it was true picture of how some men see women.

The other day I was talking to my girlfriend and she said, ''Society expects men to be strong, and women to be perfect.''

First, SMART GIRLFRIEND! Someone, a non-famous female, once said, "All the men I fall in love with are fictitious." And that pretty much sums up my love life!
But as for the rest , I am guilty of that in my novel. My main characters are attractive, and the men are strong, while only one of the women is perfect. In the next novel in the series, I am going to try and show a more human side to my male characters, however I don't know how to get around not making the men handsome and the women beautiful. It seems to me that no one wants to read about an ugly character unless they bloom into a beauty at the end. I think we have to remind ourselves we are writing fiction, and if we wanted to reflect real life we would write non-fiction.

See, women will write wildly imperfect male characters, but no matter how low they fall, most of the time these male characters have a strong sense of purpose in life and/or an ability/skill that is unquestionable to the reader even if the character doubts it.

JK Rowling under the name of Robert Galbraith writes a character named Cormoran Strike who is a one legged Iraq war vet PI who is an emotional trainwreck but has the uncanny ability to solve crimes the police can't. While I gave my protagonist a lot of emotional baggage, it's nothing compared to Strike, whose childhood and recent break up with his long time girlfriend drips off of every sentence. I love JK Rowling, but to read her Strike novels is like trying to swim through mud. The only reason I stay with them is the murders are meticulously planned and I, having read many, many crime and mystery novels, never guess who the murderer is.
So, while it maybe true women turn away from the strong silent type of man, there are women like me who stick with it because the underlying plot is so good. 

As a writer, I have that same gigantic blind-spot and the more I read the works of others, the more I see I'm not the only one, and I can't help but wonder how I can better bridge the gap between the two perspectives to make my work more... integrated, shall we say?

Good attitude! I enjoyed reading your post, feel free to butt in at any time!

dags smile

Re: Reviews that I hate

Great stuff, dags. And thanks for butting in spear-shake. You're both making me re-think my position in different ways. Although that implies I ever took a position in the first place. The soft hypocrisy of perspective is what dagny alluded to and, unfortunately, readers will indeed read into the author's personal character by way of his characters' narrative arcs. Unfortunately, all I have is a masculine perspective and, yes... Perhaps it usually comes off as unusually toxic. I still contend that I myself am not a misogynist (at heart) but maybe I've been so goddamned steeped in locker room culture over my lifetime I can't really see the forest for the trees anymore.

Or something like that.

If you consider, for instance, Donald Trump and Andrew Cuomo and countless other scandalized public figures' nonchalant sexism as patriarchal evil worthy of cancellation...? Well, I couldn't agree more. And yet I'll turn around and largely laugh it off in my fictional ventures. Therefore, I do indeed have some serious work to do. Because the ability to change, as y'all say, is probably THE most compelling attribute of any fictional protagonist/antagonist.

And why is that? Because most consumers of fiction are women. And because, I believe, what most women desire most in life is a magical ability to take a bad boy and CHANGE him into a good man. And a family man, at that.

That's the kind of challenge that most compels the feminine body and soul. To tame, rather than destroy, the virile dragon. Measuring his manhood whilst taking measures to manipulate him. An inherent prince is not a worthy project, after all. Girls would much rather seduce and re-wire an inherently swarthy scoundrel. That's a noble purpose, of course, and the reason why Disney princesses still stimulate the imaginations of both boys and girls to this day. No matter how WOKE we're all supposed to be in the 21st century.

That same desire to save and inevitably elevate dysfunctional muliebrity does not exist, however.  Not at the same level, anyway. Fictitious whores with hearts of gold aren't nearly as prevalent as soft-hearted savages are. But perhaps that's just been baked into human perception by two millennia of patrilineal history. And, perhaps, I've lost my train of thought all of a suddenly...

HA. I dunno. Keep this equivocal thing going without me. For the shite we're shoveling here is actually quite important, I think. smile

Cheers

14 (edited by dagny 2021-08-31 04:41:20)

Re: Reviews that I hate

And why is that? Because most consumers of fiction are women. And because, I believe, what most women desire most in life is a magical ability to take a bad boy and CHANGE him into a good man. And a family man, at that.

John--
All I have to say to that is: if that were true, there would only be one story told over and over again. That of a woman trying to change a man. That's it.

You're more intelligent than that, boyo.

Characters change because if they didn't the story would be boring. It has nothing to do with the gender of the character.

And since you don't know all the women in the world you can not say with any degree of certainty what they want. To say that ALL women want is to manipulate a man into coupling with them in a family unit is a broad sweeping generalization not worthy of your intellect. (Not to mention it omits lesbians) In other words, John, you know better.

Which makes me wonder if you aren't a bit of a manipulator yourself. wink

Re: Reviews that I hate

Okay, dags. Yes, I'm generalizing. Yes, I'm a bit of a gaslighter. And yes, I know better. I'm trying to encourage some debate is all. When ruffling feathers, somebody's gotta play the heel, after all. And I'm more than willing and capable. But you also have to do better than simply admonishing me. That's what this forum is all about. It's what any congress should be all about. I say something controversial (perhaps even irrational) and you retort. We then compartmentalize, compromise, and contextualize until we reach detente.

For instance, how does Boston navigate the preconceived notions of his suspects and part-players, both usual and unusual? Surely, he's not some enlightened being sent from on-high simply tolerating the frailties and prejudices of humanity whilst getting to the bottom of a murder mystery. From time to time he's gonna have to suffer the effects of the conflicted hearts and minds he's trying to affect in order to dig out the truth and will thus end up being affected now matter how effective his investigation ends up being.

And even then, after all that... What good is the truth, once discovered, if no one is willing or able to accept it?

Philosophically we've got a lotta ground to cover and uncover. If, that is, we deem the effort worthwhile.

Cool, right?

Cheers

16 (edited by seescorpiowrite 2021-09-01 06:14:27)

Re: Reviews that I hate

Well, let's see, John Hamler has written a few reviews that I hated. But not really. He engaged my senses so I liked it.  Sometimes he has this tone that he knows better than me because he's written more or served more time or he's older than me (probably by like 2 months)... but that's just because he truly thinks he's helping. He actually wants me to get better at my craft, even if he wants to squeeze my tits as he's doing it. And he always signs off with cheers.  Which is so lame. Because he probably says "skol" or just farts.  Or makes fart noises while cupping his left arm under his right hairy stinky armpit. Gross.

I have had two authors go off on me after MY review. So, apparently, I fall in the category of reviews I hate.

I definitely leave positive feedback as well as some things to think about that sparked questions in my mind as I was reading... But a few individuals did not care for my harsh tongue.  I did go back to repair the relationship and requested the person give me some specific items to look for as I read their work.  That way, my review could be tailored to what that person was looking for.   Are you looking for a grammar mark up or a rating scale of evocation of feelings whist reading or something a little in between but sugar coated?  As I always say, "Know your personnel, Sister."  That's copywrited by Carrie 2021. So don't steal it and make bumper stickers and other swag out of my brilliance, Bitches.

Maybe TNBW could prompt us in the pre posting blurb... not what draft the piece is... but what specifically we are looking for from our reviewers.  IDK just a thought.

Really my mind is elsewhere as I have court tomorrow as I am petitioning for some custody adjustments with my children.  I think I'll start a new thread because I have to write my thoughts for the judge anyways and I think it's helpful if I'm writing objectively to you guys rather than sobbing emotionally in some notebook.

So feel free to read or delete or comment or send me good vibes.

Carrie, The Cinderella of the Group:)
I like the word Cinderella as it represents a beautiful hardworking woman who comes from behind and gives a big double middle finger in the air to all the doubters and haters.  Booyah!

Re: Reviews that I hate

I don't think I need to explain to you why Stieg Larsson wrote those scenes, but just to clarify your point: he did that so no one would be sympathetic to the men when the girl fucked them up. lol
Dags,
sure he did, but there was more to it than that. Everyone knew he wished to raise awareness about violence against women, and that changed the tone of the scenes. In the show Game of Thrones, the writers had Ramsay Bolton rape Sansa Stark because they were setting up Ramsay to be eaten by his own hounds on Sansa's orders. And people had a problem with it. So what's the difference?

JK Rowling under the name of Robert Galbraith writes a character named Cormoran Strike who is a one-legged Iraq war vet PI who is an emotional trainwreck but has the uncanny ability to solve crimes the police can't.

See, this is the exact proof of what I mean. The man's a wreck in every sense of the word, but then he has ''the uncanny ability to solve crimes''. And that's all the matters. John Hamler is right; if you wrote about an ugly whore with a heart of gold, it'd be much, much harder to get it done, because she's much farther from perfection than Cormoran Strike is from strength.

It seems to me that no one wants to read about an ugly character unless they bloom into a beauty at the end. I think we have to remind ourselves we are writing fiction, and if we wanted to reflect real life we would write non-fiction.

That certainly made me reconsider my positions. Perhaps I've internalized women's complaints about men being unable to write female characters. Or maybe the idea that there might be a perspective I'm not privy to offends me as a writer. And that's made me very nervous when crafting characters, as if making them strong might somehow make them unrealistic when that's not the problem at all. If the character didn't have a skill, ability, or some semblance of strength, they wouldn't be worth writing about. So it's really just about making them believable, even if they can move planets with their minds.

Huh. Okay, much-delayed realization completed. Actually takes the edge off, which is nice.

Unfortunately, all I have is a masculine perspective and, yes... Perhaps it usually comes off as unusually toxic.

John--
that's BS, really. You can have male characters with that perspective. It's not a problem, as long as the female characters are more than fantasies concocted by those same locker-room guys. That's when the entire thing stops being believable (and that's important, as I learned above, hehe). Now, it's true that since most readers are women, they might decide they don't like reading stuff like that for an array of reasons. But that doesn't mean it's bad writing. And when it comes to readers and character development, I think it's important to look at it from a more personal perspective. People like character development because there's a cathartic element to it; they enjoy seeing it in fictional characters because it's much more straightforward than in real life, where development is so slow you rarely notice it on a day-to-day basis.

Re: Reviews that I hate

And I'm more than willing and capable. But you also have to do better than simply admonishing me. That's what this forum is all about. It's what any congress should be all about. I say something controversial (perhaps even irrational) and you retort. We then compartmentalize, compromise, and contextualize until we reach detente.
John--
I did more than admonish you in the previous posts. I gave you examples that blew away your straw man arguments. But in the last post the argument you presented was so ridiculous that I concluded you were playing devil's advocate. I like to discuss things with people who have the courage of their convictions enough to defend their position. I don't like to discuss things with people who abandon their position then try to lure me down another rabbit hole entirely.

For instance, how does Boston navigate the preconceived notions of his suspects and part-players, both usual and unusual? Surely, he's not some enlightened being sent from on-high simply tolerating the frailties and prejudices of humanity whilst getting to the bottom of a murder mystery. From time to time he's gonna have to suffer the effects of the conflicted hearts and minds he's trying to affect in order to dig out the truth and will thus end up being affected now matter how effective his investigation ends up being.
To understand mystery writing you have to READ mysteries. The Maltese Falcon is a good example of what you are alluding to and an excellent read. 

And even then, after all that... What good is the truth, once discovered, if no one is willing or able to accept it?
All Boston does is collect evidence for prosecuting the guilty party. It's up to a jury to consider the evidence and bring in a verdict. From Boston's view point, he's done his job when he's arrested the bad guy and turned over the evidence. It's pretty black and white. Being the writer, the mover of icebergs as Hemingway put it, I can decide if the jury accepts the evidence or not. In other words, in my story, I decide what is truth and what is not.

I know what you're trying to do, John. You want me to get angry and really let you have it. You'll have to look elsewhere. And using Boston to get to me is an exercise in futility. After more than 2000 reviews of that novel on this site, I've read every criticism a reviewer can throw out. I stopped defending my work around review 900 and started thanking reviewers for their opinions.

smile

Re: Reviews that I hate

I'm sorry, dags. I DO have courage in my convictions but I also don't mean to domineer or manipulate you into lashing out hysterically. And I'm not trying to leave you just enough rope to hang yourself whilst riding my high horse into the sunset or whatever you think it is I'm trying to do. All I'm saying is that not all perspectives are pure. That those shades of gray, 50 or more, are real (both factual and fictional) and far more interesting than the set in stone/black and white/good vs. evil themes, memes, and characters that Walt Disney or Dashiell Hammett concocted. Boston may be a by-the-book, just the facts ma'am, type of cop. But surely he gets touched with sentiment from time to time; whether or not those sentiments are genuine or devised. The Maltese Falcon, after all, was painted black in order to hide its true virtue. Was it not?

And, Carrie? I'm sorry, too. I know I can be condescending. My S.O. accuses of me this all the time, actually. I'll literally press pause during a movie or tv show or even a song on the radio and ask her: "Did you understand that reference?" She gets mad. So then I'll say, "What? So you'd rather remain blissfully ignorant than let me inform you a little bit and perhaps deepen your appreciation for the..." I can't even get the whole sentence out before she throws up her hands and turns a cold shoulder. It must be my delivery because my intentions are, honestly, pure.  I think I just gotta resist the urge to constantly demonstrate my rapacious wit. People just don't appreciate it as much as I think they oughta. smile

And thanks, spear-shake. I think. I mean, I THINK you understand where I'm coming from with my largely dismissive and misinformed attitude towards feminine concerns. It's hard to write from the female perspective because it naturally doesn't come natural to me as a thoroughly virile son of a beer-swilling shotgun. smile But I'm open and willing to get better.

Cheers, y'all

John

Re: Reviews that I hate

John--
You don't remember that Boston was infatuated with the murder suspect who happened to be married to the sheriff he had to work with to solve the crime, or that his mother's illness had driven him not only thousands of miles away from her but believing delirium from a lung infection was really schizophrenia, the very mental disorder his mother had.  So, yeah he was 'touched by sentiment' by which I think you mean 'emotion.' But he's always been true to his career, chasing bad guys, and doesn't let his emotions get in the way.

The Maltese Falcon, after all, was painted black in order to hide its true virtue. Was it not?
I don't think you've seen the movie. I think you've just heard about it.
That movie was about a PI and his loyalty to his partner. Miles Archer is killed at the beginning of the movie, and finding his killer is Sam Spade's main goal. The Maltese Falcon is a necessary side story because introduces Sam to Brigid O'Shaughnessy, the murderer of Miles. Brigid is knee deep in hunting the Maltese Falcon with two other treasure hunters, and asks Sam to help her. Sam falls in love with Brigid but in the end turns her in for murdering Miles. He was loyal to his partner, giving up the woman he loved. 
As I remember you posted:
Surely, he's not some enlightened being sent from on-high simply tolerating the frailties and prejudices of humanity whilst getting to the bottom of a murder mystery. From time to time he's gonna have to suffer the effects of the conflicted hearts and minds he's trying to affect in order to dig out the truth and will thus end up being affected now matter how effective his investigation ends up being.
Which immediately reminded me of The Maltese Falcon. 

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Re: Reviews that I hate

True enough, dags. I only "know" of the Maltese Falcon and all of the infamous ULTERIOR motives it's famous for. See, I haven't actually read it. I did see the film, years ago, but I don't really recall it.  Even though I'm a big Bogart fan.

And yet I don't think my personal ignorance changes my point all that much. I'm still the most contemptible man that God ever made (when I wanna be, that is) and I still think that a stereotype only becomes a stereotype because an essential truth resides behind it.

Cheers

John

22 (edited by dagny 2021-09-06 02:49:14)

Re: Reviews that I hate

I'm still the most contemptible man that God ever made (when I wanna be, that is

You remind me of the patient I nicknamed ' naked guy' because he took off his clothes as soon as I got there and lounged around buck naked until bedtime. He would ask me every night if he was the strangest patient I'd had and my answer was always no, and I would regale him with tales of past clients who were stranger. He was disappointed when I didn't agree with him that he was strange.

Likewise, I can think of a few more contemptible people than you. In fact you are mildly contemptible at best. (go to an alt right chat room to see truly contemptible people) To me you are just a person who speaks his mind regardless of who you hurt.

Naked guy was also an accomplished pilot with his own plane and had worked all over the middle east as a security consultant. I told him I thought it might be better if he were known for his accomplishments, than to be known as sleazy naked guy.

You are an accomplished drummer and a pretty good wordsmith. Wouldn't you rather be known for your accomplishments than as slightly rude contemptible guy?

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Re: Reviews that I hate

I'm not bothered, dags. Because I know damn well I'm not REALLY bothering you. We're just arguing on the internet about semantics and whatnot. Thing is... You flirt with dangerous territory when you encourage estranged individuals to make a mark on this world they aren't actually capable of making. More often than not they end up leaving a stain. If I can't change things for the better with my septic rhetoric, I'll simply do my best to do no harm. If that makes any sense.

Re: Reviews that I hate

John Hamler wrote:

I'm not bothered, dags. Because I know damn well I'm not REALLY bothering you. We're just arguing on the internet about semantics and whatnot. Thing is... You flirt with dangerous territory when you encourage estranged individuals to make a mark on this world they aren't actually capable of making. More often than not they end up leaving a stain. If I can't change things for the better with my septic rhetoric, I'll simply do my best to do no harm. If that makes any sense.

John,
Make a mark? Naked guy was dying of throat cancer and just lost his wife. The only mark he was going to make was in the dirt when they buried him. I was just trying to get him to understand he didn't have to impress anyone by being that guy who shocked people by taking off their clothes. In other words, I wanted him to keep his clothes on during my shift.

I can't believe you're serious about 'septic rhetoric' making things better, Hilter tried that and it did not end well. On the other hand non-septic rhetoric fueled the civil rights movement and got equal rights for people of color. So...do no harm. Yeah, like that's going to happen. You'll never change, John. If you think a sentence, no matter how shocking or how hurtful it might be, will cement your image in someone's brain, you're going to write it. All I am  saying is that there are better ways to be remembered.

smile

Re: Reviews that I hate

The subject of this thread has become moot. The number of reviews has dwindled to practically zero.