Nope, not my kind of book. Vvveeerrryyy long, too many twists & pretentious writing. The last 20 pages were the only redeeming factor of this book.
Yes, it had to happen, didn't it? If we write a novel and don't expect someone to dislike it, we're either naive, overconfident or have completely lost touch with reality.
Still, my entire morning was ruined by this young lady's review.
I'm not writing this to discredit her. Believe it or not, I messaged her and told her that I felt sorry that she didn't find THE GAZE to her liking, and I thanked her for her honest opinion.
Did it bother me?
Of course it bothered me, it bothered me so much that I knew the only way to get past it, was for me to blog about it, so here I am.
Those of you out there writing your novels know how much of ourselves goes onto the page, particularly when we write from the heart. So, I'm fairly positive I will find some sympathy among you, but this is by no means a pity party, it's an opportunity to reassess and learn.
While writing GAZE, I realized no two people read anything the same way. No one interprets a passage equally, and everyone gets their own personal connection to a story they read, which varies from person to person. We are all so different, and our life experience has much to do with our likes and dislikes. In other words, we'd be foolish to believe we can please every single person out there.
This person's words have brought my feet back on the ground before I floated away in a cloud of overconfidence, thinking I totally know what I'm doing. I realize I may have much more to learn and I look forward to the challenge. I wish I understood what she means by the pretentious part.
She's got me there...
And of course, I'm glad to have found some redemption in those twenty pages, according to her. I'm glad I didn't waste all her time.
One of the chief complaints I've received about GAZE is its length. 488 pages seem to be way too much for many people to handle. Not one of those people will ever know that I cut the story like a bush explorer blazing a new trail, and yet, it turned into a large body of work nonetheless. I will never apologize for it, of course, because the next leading comment I've seen is "I didn't want it to end".
I'm not about to hand over my book with a label NOT FOR IMPATIENT READERS. The same way I've taken a chance in writing a novel, a reader takes a chance in reading it.
My duty as a writer is to the content of the novel first and foremost. When the book is done, I lay it out on the chopping block knowing that the chances of success are 50/50 at best. People will like it or they won't.
I've taken great, immeasurable comfort from the fact that several people I've come to admire have pulled the axe away, and praised the novel, allowing me to believe I did all right.
Those of you out there writing your first novel, keep in mind that there will be days like these. You have to respect the opinions of your readers, and understand that their beliefs and attitudes are the result of their own life experience, and if what you wrote failed to touch those parts of them, the connection is simply not going to happen, no matter what you write.
Writing a novel is about taking risks. You may offend some readers, yet you may inspire others, and you may accomplish this with that same body of work, those same words read through different minds. It's fascinating, if you think about it. A bad review is not the end of the world. It certainly is not the end of my world.
This BAD review has grounded me and kept me humble in my perception of myself as an author, despite the cold shiver of agonizing disappointment that coursed through me when I first read it. I'm trying to face it and absorb its impact then it's gone, and it's on to expect the next review, hoping that proverbial axe doesn't fall onto my novel.
I feel much better after sharing this experience. That's what this is, an expeirience, a part of the entire process, and I've chosen to aknowledge it and with that done, I'm moving on to write the next novel that will either find praise by those who make a connection or it will be just another pretentious passage in the eyes of someone who may inevitably care enough about to give it a BAD review.
And I welcome it...
Javier A. Robayo