Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Wrath – Rage, hatred, anger.

For most writers, wrath comes after you're finished your masterpiece, or at least the first draft. You've poured your heart and soul into your creation, it is a reflection of you, a part of you. So imagine what it feels like when you start getting those rejection letters from agents and publishers? Your first reaction is one of abject disappointment, which is normal, but soon that can make way for uncontrollable anger, rage, hatred... wrath!

It's all too similar a tale when it comes to someone editing your work, especially if it comes back with more notes and corrections than original words. Then finally there's the reviewer, it's easy to get angry at them, whether they be knowledgable bookworms or Internet trolls, when they criticise your work it can be hard to not get wound up, especially when their comments feel unfair.

It pays to stay calm though, for so many reasons. You don't want to burn your bridges with any agents or publishers, you may still want to work with them in the future. Remember that all agents and publishers are looking at your work from a commercial point of view, the recommendations they make may be geared towards making your novel more mass-market, have a wider appeal. That isn't necessarily what's best for your novel, but you have to ask how determined you are to keep that bizarre character nobody can relate to, or that rhyming couplet sentence structure nobody else seems to like!

Similarly there's no point in moaning at your editor, if anything you should be grateful to have found all these contentious issues before publication. Most of the time the wrath comes from not having established clear boundaries and working practices with your editor before sending them the draft.

When it comes to negative reviews, there's really two ways to deal with them. If their comments and criticism is warranted, and deep down you'll know, use it as an opportunity to improve. If it's just the random blithering of an idiot, why worry, you know you would ignore that review when looking for your next book, so it's safe to assume most others will too. Even if someone says something about you or your work that is factually and demonstrably incorrect, there's very little value in an online flame war.

You'll be surprised how often your fans will fight your corner, if you've written something that someone likes they will go to incredible lengths to justify their fandom.

Unfair criticism of your work is part of being an author, a creator. You put your work out into the wild and it becomes public property, to be loved or despised as the world sees fit. If you're truly happy with what you have written, no rejection letters, overzealous edits or stingy reviewers should be able to get you down. If you struggle with the wrath swelling inside you, try killing them with kindness. Thank them for their honest critique and wish them luck in finding a book they will enjoy.

“The views expressed in this article do not represent those of mjmeads.com and any inference to books or authors past or present is purely coincidental.”

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