Here are three quotes from three reviews I saw today. I wish I didn't bother reading reviews, but it's one of the ways I learn to grow as a writer. Plus, I just can't NOT read them. I'm too curious.
Here are the quotes--the biggest criticisms I saw.
For Ghostwriter: "The resolve felt forced and did not resonate as authentic. I think all I said was, “dog gone it” because I felt you had spent more than 300 pages effectively building and building and I thought missed a great C.S. Lewis opportunity."
For Out of the Devil's Mouth (which was mostly positive): "It’s here that the story briefly takes a mystical turn as the group encounters a series of seemingly supernatural obstacles. This part did not sit especially well with me and it is thankfully very brief."
And for The Watermark: "It seemed to me that these gratuitous pleas for Sheridan’s soul were thrown quite haphazardly into the book. They almost seemed like a weird sidenote."
The fact of seeing negative reviews aren't the thing--every author gets them and needs to see that reading is subjective. I'm the first to admit that I'm still learning and growing.
The problem with all of these that I have is that they're discussion this wonderful issue of faith and how it plays out.
In the first review, I missed an opportunity to share the gospel like C.S. Lewis (I told the kind gentleman who sent me his thoughts that I appreciate them but that I'm definitely not Lewis--nobody is!). The second didn't like the supernatural stuff I put in, deeming it "mystical." (to me, it was demonic, but the narrator of the story isn't a believer, so how would he know this).
The third--that hurts the most. I love my little Watermark. Oh, it's flawed. It's not that much of a story. But it's ALL about the character finding forgiveness. So this reader felt that didn't fit into the story. THAT WAS THE WHOLE STORY! At least in my mind.
Too preachy or not preachy enough.
If you introduce faith into a story, that's what you're going to get. It's disappointing, because it's hard enough to tell a good story.
But to try to resonate with another's faith (or lack of it)--that's a WHOLE other issue.
All I'm trying to do is tell a good story. I'm learning, growing, trying to get better. And I do listen to constructive criticism. I really do.
It's just hard when the criticism has to do with the area of faith. With being a Christian. Because I'm learning, growing, trying to get better in that area too.
If you create something and want to sell it to the world, then the world has every right to comment on it. I understand that. I'm thankful that the world notices. And I take every compliment and criticism to heart.
Just not TOO deeply.