Saturday, January 14, 2012

By Yourself.

Currently I am writing "Behind the Pain" the prequel for "Behind the Hood." And right now I'm going through a stage wondering whether it is all worth it due to certain circumstances. Off course I will soldier on and publish it as I'm obligated to now, plus I love writing about these characters. But, often as a self-published author I feel stranded, by myself without anyone telling me that I'm doing the right thing with my stories. I'm sure many other writers feel the same way. Yes, there are sites like and that can connect you to other writers who can help, but those sites can often confuse you when some people say everything is great and then you get a couple that chop down your confidence telling you the opposite. And often the people that chop you down don't give you a proper reason why, just give you a bad rating, but fail to point out the areas why it got this mark. And when they add that the story is well-written, you're left scratching your head and saying, "What the hell?" And, it's not just these sites that may confuse writers, because I've seen many books (even famous ones) getting 5 star reviews, which are set in such stark contrast to a bunch of 1 star reviews.

Of course everyone has different tastes, but still, how do you progress in a story when you're unsure if you're going down the right track? I'm lucky in relation to one thing: I have found a person, a fellow writer that I trust to be utterly honest with me. She read my first draft of "Behind the Pain" (the first 3 chapters) and said it was too similar to "Behind the Hood," so I rewrote it and the second version she liked, saying it was different enough to distinguish it from the first book.

Therefore, as a writer I think the most important thing is to find that one person who you know will be utterly honest with you, and not spin you a line of rubbish. Because, believe me, I have come across people that will tell you how wonderful something is just to save your feelings. But, those people don't realise that they are only doing your writing career damage and wasting your time.

Anyway, writers keep going and don't give up. I know it can be hard at times, but hopefully one day it'll all be worth it.


  1. Totally understand where you're at, Marita. The blind leading the blind is a bit of a risk with YWO and Autho. Within a few months members become 'veterans' and feel qualified to criticise in ways that can be very discouraging. I was that soldier.
    You've probably read it but, if you haven't, this might give you a needed laugh:


  2. I certainly hope that you believe me when I reviewed your book. I was honest and to the point, and gave you my honest opinion. I also hope you get past the reviewers, as some people review my work because they dont like me! They give it one star to simply be nasty and hurt the score. I now ignore them, successfully. There's no such a thing as bad press, so you must look at it from a different perspective. Hang in there and keep writing. Nothing that's good is easy.

    1. Your review was very nice. Thank you. I haven't had any bad reviews on "Behind the Hood" (knock on wood that my luck stays that way). My issue today was in regards to youwriteon. It's a place where authors/writers are supposed to help each other, but unfortunately you get the occassional lazy reviewer who gives the bare minumum so they can get their credit and get their book assigned. But, those people just do damage to the system and waste other people's time and patience. Also, when people go on youwriteon they need to take everyone's words with a grain of salt because if they don't stories can be destroyed. I know my YA fantasy died on the site because at that point I took everyone's advice far too seriously. But, by the time I came to put "Behind the Hood" on there I realised that and the story progressed enough to be published. I just have to keep that in mind for "Behind the Pain," which at the moment seems to be going down the route of Edgy YA. A story will take you where it wants to go :)

      Mark, aka Ruby, totally agree with you. I'll check out your post.

    2. you should consider starting your own writing group. every week you are given someones work, usually a chapter or two only. and give it serious reading and review then you give back notes.

      people you know and trust will give solid feedback while not being a douchebag :)

      like having a sea of trust worthy editors. well, include one douchebag, to spice it up

    3. That's a good idea, however, when people give me their work I'm always worried about hurting their feelings as people treat their books like babies. I understand this as "Behind the Hood" took over a year to write.

      I get offered a lot of free books, which I don't really have the time to read. I try to, but I'm writing two books at once, plus have other responsibilities. Plus, in the past I've had some people who have gotten upset with me because I've been honest in my reviews. So, I'm a bit wary about reviewing, even more so since I've had friends who have had vindictive reviews.

      However, if I do start a writers' group on here I would prefer people that understand my position and that I will not lie to pander egos. I'll give real reviews, with pointers on what I think needs to be altered. I've had nasty and very harsh reviews on my drafts before, not the finished book. A good majority have been helpful, regardless of being harsh. With the exception of maybe three reviews, I haven't been offended, no matter how harsh they were. I just used their suggestions to better my writing. The ones that did offend me: 1) A racist one, 2) A person that thought New Zealand was all rainbows and sunshine, and that New Zealand couldn't possibly have these social problems. They were also annoyed I was mixing US and UK terms (which New Zealanders do). Obviously, this person was not a New Zealander and has never been to New Zealand, 3) Another one thought the characters should be nicer, lol, and in my opinion she wanted me to put a shine on things, which would have made it totally unrealistic. She also didn't like the good guy couriering drugs. I think she wanted things black and white, with no grey areas. You're either good or bad, not in between with no flaws. That's not realistic. She totally missed the point. My character, Nike, was put into a problematic position and didn't know how to support his family. At the age of 18 many people make mistakes.

      Anyway, let me know what you think. Do you write?

      Luckily, those reviewers of the draft were the exceptions.