I have been writing for the last couple days, way too cold out there for me lol. Oddly, my thoughts keep going back to things I have faced because of my writing. Most of the results have been a whopping smile of happiness and accomplishment. Yet, there are few downers that have affected me, probably more than I should let them. The dark side of writing are the negatives from readers.
Yup, reviews, they are the bane for me as an author. People say I shouldn't take them to heart, but then of course I do. A review from a reader that enjoyed the story and characters warms my heart like nothing else. So, it stands to reason that a bad review cuts me to the quick. And I do take in what is said, I have fixed errors that were pointed out, those that I could fix.
Yes, you see, not all errors are so easily fixed. It has taken me a while to understand this part of my writing. Let me explain.
I started writing in my early 20's I am now in my early 60's :) Savage Destiny was my very first book that I finished. Next came my time travels with Stargazer as the first then Darling', Dream Lover, Timeless Love and the rest. The one thing that has happened over the years of writing is that my writing has evolved. To write is to learn. As an author I have learned many things; aspect of learning to write has led to changes. Change is good, but it has also made my writing style grow and yes, different.
Change has not been just in my writing, but there have also been changes in the audience that I write for. I used to write my historical and time travel books to be well over 100,000 words. A thick long book that took you days or weeks to read :) this was what the readers wanted. Now, the world is much faster and most people do not want a book that takes more than one or two nights to finish. For any author it means that you listen to the readers and you have to adjust your writing to fit that requirement in the market. As an author I needed to learn how to write short stories and trim my words.
So, I did change and most the changes have been very good. My style of writing also developed and continues to grow. The world around us is a very big part of our lives and this holds true to an art like writing. I still research my story for the time and setting of the story. My characters reflect the era their lives exist in. Yet, I find how I write is different than I first wrote.
I said earlier that I did fix words and obvious errors that a reader pointed out. What I can't fix is the writing style as my style has evolved. Because of these changes I can't go back and change how the story was written. Even if I did rewrite the entire book to correct the grammar flaws or some of the story, it would become a different story, and I won't destroy them. And most of my readers love them as I do and their comments tell me how much my story means to them.
I will say that one thing I have found offensive in a review is the fact a reader forgets that the stories are "fiction." I have and will continue to write the story that my characters give me, even the bad parts of life that befalls any of them. Even in fiction life can be cruel or things my change for a character. A character might have to suffer an evil act to achieve the love they are trying to find. They are stories and I write what I see, feel, hear and smell, I write their story.
But, I have found that a couple parts of my writing that changed I do not like. One is writing for the length or quick read. I am just not comfortable chopping my stories down. I also have decided that I do not care for the graphic sexual aspects. Oh I love a sensual love scene and passion rules :) but the words of our modern day that go into such intimate details are just not heart stopping or as loving as what we used to call 'Purple Prose'.
What this all comes down to is this: To my readers, don't stop writing reviews, they really are important to an author. Please don't think I don't take what you say to heart because I most certainly do. I know you may not know I can't make all the fixes, but those that I can I will. And I am going to write the story as I used to write them... for me, because I am my worse critic.
Author and lover of the story.