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Over on the Whatever, John Scalzi is being very much, well, John Scalzi. While I was reading this entry, I said to my husband, hey! I want to do this!

And, before something like sanity, or at least dignity, could take hold, Mr. Scalzi closed his post with: A challenge to other authors with blogs, LiveJournals and etc: Post your one-star (or otherwise negative) Amazon reviews, if you have them, and you probably do. Oh, go on. Own your one-star reviews, man. And then, you know. Get past them. If you're lucky, some of them might actually be fun to read.

My husband Thomas said: People will feel they should praise your work to compensate for the negativity of those reviews. Which is sort of beside the point of the exercise, and if you do this, you will make me feel very, very, very guilty.

For the record: I don't really care about the one star reviews. If they have a point, I generally wince and take a mental note not to mess up so badly the next time. If they have no point, I think they're kind of funny. The West bad reviews are less inherently funny because I often can't tell if they have a point or not (but when I am having this dilemma, I remember the Starlog review for Broken Crown, in which the reviewer very perceptively noted that you will either love the book for the level of detail and cultural tapestry, or you will loathe it for the same reason. Which reminded me that in some cases, what people hate is the book I did try to write, as opposed to the obvious failure of the attempt to write the book I tried to write. If that makes sense.)

Amazon 1 Star reviews :DCollapse )

Comments

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fyrna
Apr. 28th, 2008 07:47 am (UTC)
"Ms. West/Sagura writes well and her sentences are well-constructed, but she skips all over the place without explanations for the reader so it is impossible to follow the story."

The reviewer's got a point there. You write very well even at the sentence level. ;)

Two of my friends gave up reading The Broken Crown, probably for similar reasons to this reviewer. There's a lot of characters, a lot of details, no obvious connections or plotline driving forward, and more maneuvering than action. It's very different from the typical sword & sorcery type of fantasy.

Personally I found the book intriguing and couldn't figure out why it wasn't a bestseller, but as one of your reviewers said, it seems to be a love-it/hate-it thing. :) I wouldn't be surprised if the same goes for your writing style. It's very poetic. Both the plot-style and the prose-style in the series are very intricate.

I do remember there being some scenes where I could read the text, and it all sounded very pretty, but I couldn't figure out what actually happened. This wasn't a problem for me in most scenes, but I definitely remember the first scene with Kallandras confused me: I couldn't tell what was metaphor and what was fact -- in a fantasy setting, what would obviously be a metaphor in a historical setting can, actually, be a literal description of what's happening. I also remember the description in a handful of other scenes in the series (I forget which scenes) danced around what was going on, and I wasn't clever enough to figure out what happenings the prose was dancing around...

I suppose I should introduce myself. I'm a fan of your writing. :D I haven't read anything beyond the Sun Sword cycle yet; I got hooked by the prologue in The Broken Crown. I think your writing is beautiful. Your books restored my faith in fantasy as a genre worth reading after enough English classes made me critical of the types of books I used to read. ^^;;;

I also go by three different names depending on context, but they are less obviously related than yours are. (The contexts are correspondingly more different.. I use a different screen name in technical circles than I do in artistic ones.)
msagara
Apr. 28th, 2008 07:52 am (UTC)
I suppose I should introduce myself. I'm a fan of your writing. :D I haven't read anything beyond the Sun Sword cycle yet; I got hooked by the prologue in The Broken Crown. I think your writing is beautiful. Your books restored my faith in fantasy as a genre worth reading after enough English classes made me critical of the types of books I used to read. ^^;;;

Thank you :D. Although I often wonder if we do ourselves favours by becoming more critical because it seems to me that in the end, all it means is we find less that we love (something similar happened to me, vis a vis classes).

I also go by three different names depending on context, but they are less obviously related than yours are. (The contexts are correspondingly more different.. I use a different screen name in technical circles than I do in artistic ones.)

Do the three different names get confused, or do you keep them separate enough on-line/off-line that there's no blur?
fyrna
Apr. 28th, 2008 08:17 am (UTC)
There was no blur for years, but then I got too deeply involved in the technical stuff and had to start using my legal/offline name there, too. So now in technical circles some people know me primarily (or only) by my screen name, a few people use both equally, and those who met me offline first use mainly my legal name. @_@

I used to have different personalities associated with my names, but that distinction is mostly gone. Partly as a function of meeting previously online-only people offline, and partly as a function of growing older. E.g. I'm no longer striving to keep technical people from realizing I'm a 15-year-old girl, because I'm no longer a 15-year-old girl. :)
kywmccabe
Apr. 29th, 2008 07:23 pm (UTC)
LKH
Heh- that review praising LKH made me laugh- especially since that author's work is usually about the same worth of year old dung. I've even given her some really nasty reviews on Amazon myself- how could she possibly compare or hope that your work would ever stoop to LKH's level?! lol.
msagara
Apr. 29th, 2008 08:08 pm (UTC)
Re: LKH
Heh- that review praising LKH made me laugh- especially since that author's work is usually about the same worth of year old dung.

I feel compelled to point out that as her books are NYT #1 bestsellers, she's doing something that clearly works for her readers; there's probably less crossover between our readerships though =/.
(Anonymous)
Feb. 1st, 2009 08:49 pm (UTC)
One star reviews
Having read all your CAST novels and eagerly awating the next. IE My copies of your books have been read so many times they are getting very worn around the edges. Also I picked up the first Cast book used and promptly went out and bought the seond one new the next day. As a writer trying to be published myself, I find that no matter what story you try and write you cannot please everyone. For my novel on ancient Egypt, Between Harm, I have been told by different people that there isn't enough detail in it or too much. The women at the book store I buy your stories from are slightly surprised because the stories as flagged as romance/fantasy novels and not something a guy would normally like. I tell them a good story doesn't just appeal to women or men. I see also you are a fan of Robin Mckinley. She is one of my favourites also. Look forward to picking up the new Cast Novel as soon as its available. Which is was sooner.
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