A Tad Sensitive, Huh?

NMost writers are a bit sensitive . . . vulnerable . . . defensive . . . protective about their work. I can’t tell you how many people liken tough criticism of their writing to being told that their baby is ugly. I was that way for probably the first fifty or sixty books, but I pretty much got over it after that.

However . . . I got a complaint from a reader about one of my recent books. She didn’t like it, not one bit — not the hero, the heroine, the plot, the writing, nothing.

That part didn’t bother me, beyond making me stick out my tongue at the computer. Yes, I am so grown up.

The part that really did get to me was her comment that the “grammar and punctuation was real bad all thru the book.”

I pride myself on knowing proper grammar and punctuation. I should; when I was in school, they started teaching them in third grade and didn’t stop until eleventh. I may not remember all the proper names, but I know when it’s right (based on the rules that reigned back then) and I know when the rules can be broken for style or should be broken for clarity. I don’t easily accept correction in those areas of writing unless you’ve got a style manual to back you up. And to be criticized with bad grammar and misspelled words . . . I’m pretty sure my blood pressure redlined.

Then the eruption subsided and the reality of the situation set in: she told me my baby was ugly, and all that upset me was the addition that “oh, by the way, her clothes are ugly, too.”

Yep, I think I’m a tad sensitive.


9 thoughts on “A Tad Sensitive, Huh?

  1. My comment to the person complaining to you is, “Pfffttttt!!!!” Perhaps SHE should learn the rules before making statements like that to someone who has written over 80 excellent books AND won the RITA.

    That’s my 2 cents worth, anyway.

    • I decided I’ll cut some slack to people who don’t write for a living. When it’s just regular writing, okay, but I do expect professional writers to be more polished. (One of our local restaurants has tables with ads on them, and I was pointing out all the mistakes to Bob the other night — “delete that apostrophe, move that comma, spell that right.” LOL)

    • It took a long time to get here. The first couple non-fan letters I got in my career actually made me cry, and they could send me into a funk for a week. But I’ve finally managed to really believe what people always tell you: it’s one person’s opinion. And we’re all entitled to our opinion.

      I just always figured that even if a person disliked my books, they could appreciate the fact that everything was spelled properly, commas were in their places, usage was consistent . . . Guess I was wrong.

    • When I got my first copy edit from Silhouette way, way back, those little red marks on the pages bothered me. I studied the changes the copy editor made, figured out why, and made it my goal to have ONE page (out of 325 or so) in the next book without a red mark on it. Then I wanted ten pages, and so on. I learned house style from the copy editors, along with a few other things, and have always appreciated the lesson.

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