Forgive Me Father, I Have Sinned – Twilight or New Dawn? Introducing Michelle Brooks.

DAY TWO

Forgive me, father, for I have sinned. I am guilty of a most heinous crime. A crime against literature.

I’ve read and liked Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight.

Okay, if you’re a regular here you’ll know I have eclectic tastes in reading, and am happy to say on record, yet again, that Enid Blyton is my favourite writer of all time. But that’s a kids’ thing, right? A throwback to my childhood. We’re allowed to acknowledge our childhood heroes. Just not too loudly.

But Twilight? As in Steph Meyer’s Twilight?

Didn’t  Stephen King say, on record, that Stephenie Meyer was “not very good”?

God has spoken!  Who am I to disagree?

That was back in 2009. And I was appalled then that someone like King would make such a comment publicly.

King is a hugely influential figure in modern literature. And of course, he’s entitled to his viewpoint. If Stephen King thinks Steph Meyer is a bad writer then that’s fine. Good and bad writing are subjective concepts. It’s all about personal opinion. But to publicly slam Stephenie Meyer in that way…

Luckily for Steph’ she by then had her loyal readership and rode out the storm. Even so, it’s safe to say the comments King made were enormously damaging to her professionally, not to mention hurtful personally. This wasn’t just some anonymous reviewer on Amazon who paid their money and didn’t like the book. This was one of the biggest writers on the planet saying another successful author was crap. What was he thinking of?

With influence comes responsibility. Should any of us now struggling for a tentative foothold on the publishing ladder ever one day get to King’s exalted status, please bear that in mind.

The opinions of mega-sellers like Stephen King can make or break someone’s career. A less well-established writer than Meyer could have been sunk without trace.

Of course there will be some among you thinking, the world would be a better place if King had sunk Meyer’s career. No Twilight. No Edward and Bella. Bliss!

But that misses the point. Stephenie Meyer wasn’t writing for you.

Bizarrely Stephen King actually understood that point perfectly. Which just makes his comments about Stephenie Meyer all the more incomprehensible.

In King’s own words:

“In the case of Stephenie Meyer, it’s very clear that she’s writing to a whole generation of girls and opening up kind of a safe joining of love and sex in those books.

It’s exciting and it’s thrilling and it’s not particularly threatening because they’re not overtly sexual. A lot of the physical side of it is conveyed in things like the vampire will touch her forearm or run a hand over skin, and she just flushes all hot and cold. And for girls, that’s a shorthand for all the feelings that they’re not ready to deal with yet.”

Now that, surely, is a perfect analysis of Stephenie’s achievements with Twilight. That she wrote for her target audience.

No, Meyer is not Shakespeare, Tolstoy or Emerson. But then nor is Stephen King.

James Patterson

King went on to slam James Patterson as “a terrible writer” before adding “but he’s very, very successful. People are attracted by the stories, by the pace.”

Oh those stupid, mindless, idiotic readers, letting themselves be attracted by a fast-paced thriller. What were they thinking of? A nice dose of Dostoyevsky will soon cure them of that!

But leaving aside why a writer of King’s stature would want to go on record and attack fellow writers in that way, let’s return briefly to faeries and Twilight before moving on to my guest.

Faeries? Even the most Meyer-resistant among you will be aware that Twilight was about vampires, not faeries. In fact, not even proper vampires. Weren’t these sparkly, twinkling vampires or some such crazy nonsense that must have had Bram Stoker turning in his grave?

Enter, stage right, Aprilynne Pike.

Aprilynne, of course, is the NY Times Best Selling author who writes YA stories about, you guessed it, faeries. She dealt with the infamous Twilight-twinkling-vampires with this wonderful explanation for the uninitiated.

I’m using Twilight as an example here, because the sparkleyness is something I often hear mocked. But it didn’t used to be. Back before Edward Cullen became a household name, people would talk about Twilight in a reasonable tone of voice. I often heard people comment about how they thought it was fascinating how she (Meyer) could make her vampires sparkle and have a perfectly reasonable explanation for it. Their skin is a rock-like substance. It has facets and reflects the sun. Of course!

Aside from explaining the sparkle, Aprilynne makes the significant point that “people would talk about Twilight in a reasonable tone of voice.” Stephen King, you have a lot to answer for…

Okay, so now you all know why Steph’s vampires sparkle, let’s get back to the broader subject of YA fantasy.

Or let’s not.

Literally having just written the above part of this post I decide to solicit the opinion of my green room guest, Michelle Brooks, on Steph Meyer and Twilight.

Yes, I know you’re thinking, Who the hell is Michelle Brooks? Who cares what she thinks?

Well bear with me. I promise you that, while you may never have heard of Michelle Brooks before now, she is one of the big names in YA for the future. Hard to imagine now, but there was a time when no-one had heard of Steph Meyer, or JK Rowling. Or even Stephen King.

But for now, just bear in mind that Michelle is an indie author with a debut novel, still learning the ropes. A full-time mom with  a full-time job struggling to be an author in her spare time. So when I emailed Michelle late last night asking if she had read Twilight and could she give an off the cuff response, I expected a quick “yeah, it’s okay” or “no, wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole” reply.

Here’s Michelle on Twilight:

I love to read. I love to read all kinds of things … fiction, current events (highly source-dependent), cutting-edge science, the magazines sitting in the doctor’s office, the Sunday paper (parts of it, in any case), my kids’ homework, lyrics to songs … and, yes, I thoroughly and absolutely enjoyed Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. For that matter, I also enjoyed The Host.

Does it bother me that sometimes Ms. Meyers seems to get a bad rap? God, no.  Does everybody like any one given thing on the face of the planet? Sure wouldn’t hold my breath, there’s bound to be somebody who doesn’t like that kind of weather, that pair of shoes, that public figure … or that book. Does that mean I would have written Twilight exactly the same way Ms. Meyers did? Of course not … but neither would I have written The Raven, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Hobbit, Dracula, Peter Pan, The Odyssey…  the same way those masters among men wrote them. So, they can rest easy … no turning in their graves over little old me.

That’s the fantastic thing about storytellers though, they get to share their story, their words, their world, exactly the way they choose. And we, as readers, get to choose which stories may interest us, which ones to read. Sometimes we’re right, and happily so. But, sometimes we find ourselves fifty or a hundred pages into a book and realize that… boy, were we wrong. For whatever reason we would rather clean the commode than pick up that book that everyone else is raving about to read one more page.

What I’ve noticed though, is that I can pick that same book up a few months, or decades, later and relate to it in a completely different way. Kind of like eggplant … used to hate it, now I love it. Did it change? Of course not – it’s still aubergine (a high-brow take on purple), it’s still a little slippery going down, and it’s still low on the list of the world’s favorite veggies. It didn’t change, I did.

So, back to Stephenie Meyers. Some people love her. Some not so much. But, then some people love Stephen King, others not so much. Stephenie may not be the most character-focused YA author out there, but she is a consummate plot-driven storyteller. She also has an innate sense of delivering that story in a voice YA readers suck down like a double-scoop ice cream cone on a hot summer day.

I think the best compliment for any author, aside from reaching their target audience in a way no one could possibly dispute, would be knowing that future authors dreamed of following in their footsteps.

Well, Ms. Meyers, listen up … I steer pretty much to my own paths, not so much by choice, but just because I tend to start moving and then figure out where I’m heading. But, one day, many, many days from this day, when Bone Dressing is all grown up, if it is one tenth as well read and well received as Twilight … you could color me a thousand shades of happy!

Here’s to Bella, Edward, Twilight and Stephenie Meyers! Long live YA!

How do I  follow that?!
And Michelle hasn’t even started on her post yet!
But before we get back to the mysterious Ms Brooks, let me bring in M.E. Summer, who had a great blog post recently entitled Why I Write YA.

There are various excellent YA authors mentioned, but here to focus on something M.E. herself said, which perfectly sums up the appeal of YA to its target audience.

As a teenager, your options are by definition limited by your station. You are (generally speaking) loved, but you’re also caged. You’re considered sub-human by your own society.

Having to deal within the confines of that situation is rich story fodder, and (as long as you-the-author don’t blow it) you can earn your protagonist an almost instant feeling of kinship from the reader. Everyone knows what it’s like to struggle against a repressive regime at least to some extent, because no matter how permissive your parents were, you still couldn’t drive until you were 16.

So you-the-teenager are stuck on the cusp of adulthood with everyone still telling you what you can and can’t do, and you have to deal with it. You have to put up with the frustration of it and swallow your objections and learn how to bargain. You’re essentially powerless, disenfranchised in even the most literal sense. As a YA author, I get to work with that. I get to play with characters already at a disadvantage. This means the stakes are automatically higher, because teens have to work that much harder to achieve their goals.

I like writing about teens, because I like how cagey they have to be, how observant and opportunistic, just to get a ride to the mall. I like how vulnerable they have to stay in order to keep their lives in order and their loved ones happy. They’re the ultimate martyrs, really, and oh, how I love to sacrifice them on the altar of…er, *cough* I mean, bring to light the inner depths they’re capable of when the shit really hits the fan.

Not to steal her entire article here, but one final comment from M.E. before I send her back to her own blog.

YA is a powerful genre, one which invites all our richest, most daring ideas, one that is accepting of all our whimsies and what-ifs, one that challenges us to grow up before our time and yet be strong enough to hold onto our innocence and belief in magic. No other genre can say that. Not one.

Now if that doesn’t have you rushing out to buy some YA fantasy, nothing will.

BTW, did anyone else notice the uncanny likeness between twentieth century James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause and twenty-first century Robert Pattinson (Edward Cullen) in Twilight?

~

But what to read if you do decide to give modern YA a try?

I would no longer recommend Twilight, simply because you now know the secret of the sparkle, and you will never free yourself from the preconceptions unfairly built up around Steph’s work thanks to people like Stephen King, who really should know better.

And supposing you wanted to try out YA but preferred to give vampires a miss? There’s just so much YA out there now. Where to start?

Luckily for you I’ve been separating the wheat from the chaff on your behalf and have come across two, count ‘em, two exceptional new indie-published YA authors.

One of those is my guest here today, Michelle Brooks. The other will be helping me wrap up at the end of the month. But in order to introduce the first properly I need to introduce the second.

Megg Jensen

So say hello first to Megg Jensen. Megg will be revealing all later in the month, so be sure to stick around for that. But for now, just to say Megg is author of a YA fantasy called Anathema.

It’s nothing like Twilight, in that it isn’t about vampires.

It opens with a fourteen year old slave girl about to be branded on her fifteenth birthday. Hooked? Me too.

As soon as I read it I dug up all the dirt I could on Megg, discovered her real name, and blackmailed her into joining me on MWi. She was a must-have guest.  So make sure you’re not busy the day her guest post goes live!

Then I came across another new YA writer, the afore-mentioned Michelle. I forget now exactly how I stumbled upon her debut novel, Bone Dressing, but I remember being grabbed by the premise. A seventeen year old girl rebel who hangs around graveyards on stormy nights and doesn’t make it to eighteen.

So I checked it out, decided it looked interesting and downloaded it to my Kindle to sit with the other gazillion books I hope to live long enough to one day read.

As always, I read a few lines to help me judge if I would prioritise it or put it in the archives for some distant future retrieval. Next thing you know I had read the first chapter and was rearranging the rest of my day to make more reading time.

M.E. Summer said above:

As a teenager, your options are by definition limited by your station. You are (generally speaking) loved, but you’re also caged. You’re considered sub-human by your own society.

Michelle Brooks has read that same script.

I commented on M.E.s blog that

“…while ‘child protection’ plays so obsessive a role in modern western society, and sexual, physical and emotional abuse are being confronted and, hopefully stopped, children and teenagers still rarely are respected. But if you don’t respect children, tweens and teens you can never successfully write for them.”

And this is what lies at the heart of the appeal of Michelle’s Bone Dressing.

Respect.

Michelle knows and respects her target audience. But she also goes much further, and simultaneously writes  for an adult audience, managing that almost impossible juggling act without once dropping the ball.

Don’tcha just hate people who can multi-task?!

Ostensibly Michelle’s novel Bone Dressing is a YA paranormal fantasy about a seventeen year old girl who never makes eighteen.

Actually it’s a fantastic coming-of-age study about teen rebellion and rite of passage that, despite the paranormal fantasy element, has overtones of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher In the Rye. It’s that good.

And it’s the first of a series of seven!

No wonder then that I immediately contacted Michelle and begged her to come and be my guest on MWi.

And got no response.

I was gutted. Supposing someone else “discovered” her first?!!!

I emailed the afore-mentioned Megg Jensen saying,

“I’m really excited by the new generation of YA fantasy, and there is just so much new talent appearing now the indie writers are bypassing the gatekeepers and bringing their works direct to readers.

Have to mention Michelle Brooks’ Bone Dressing. Extraordinary quality. Have tried to grab her for a guest post but I think she’s convinced I’m a stalker or something. If by any chance she’s in your circle of contacts please beg her to come and guest for me!

Seriously, Bone Dressing and Anathema are two of the best YA fantasy novels I’ve read in a very long time.”

In fact Megg didn’t know Michelle (Girls, I highly recommend you two get together and exchange notes!) and it seemed I had blown it.

And yes, I am a stalker. But only part-time.

Then, out of the blue, a last second reprieve. Michelle finally answered my email, expressing surprise at my enthusiasm for her novel.

I wrote back, paraphrasing Simon Cowell:

“Michelle, what I really love about coming across ‘new’ writers like you is that you simply have no idea how good you are.”

At which point it’s time to hand over to the lady herself. Uncut and uncensored. Not that there’s anything to censor, of course.

I gather this is Michelle’s first guest post. You can almost feel the stage-fright and the self-doubt as she puts herself under the spotlight.

If this was The X-Factor, Michelle would be that terrified first-timer stepping nervously onto the stage in front of a crowd of indifferent on-lookers. Another deluded wannabe?

The deafening silence before the cue, and the music starts. The first few notes of the song emerge and the audience sits back, wide-eyed and open-mouthed.

It’s like that reading Michelle’s guest post. It starts off good and just gets better and better. As for her book…

Michelle Brooks, unknown writer and future mega-star, the stage is all yours:

I am a writer. I am a writer. I am a writer… I still find myself practicing the words, reciting them to myself in the mirror, hoping they’ll fit a little more comfortably around my shoulders … maybe not feel quite so much like I’m wearing someone else’s coat. Perhaps I could even convince those words to slip inside and roost, for just a bit in any case. That would be nice …

So, when I opened an e-mail from this guy named Mark, who wrote, asking with all the charm of a thousand sunsets for me to do a guest post on his website, saying simply, “You’re a writer. Write! :-),” (smiley face and all) I was thrilled to hear someone else’s voice rattling around in my head, saying those very same words … that I am a writer … I am a writer …

And then I was scared shitless he’d find out it was all just one big joke … that I’m not really a writer, I’m just me … who happens to be writing today …

But, not only was Mark calling me a writer, he wanted to know how I had managed to get from “there” to “here”, from not a writer to being a writer. As a matter of fact, he had a whole list of very specific questions for me. Questions like, how, exactly, had I become, more specifically, an Indie writer? How had I made my little book trailer? Would this be my only genre to write in? What writers influenced me? And, how on earth did I know Syd had seven books in her, or that I had them in me, for that matter?

And … the funny thing was … I realized all the answers to his questions were running around in my head, ninety-to-nothing, trying to body-slam their way out of my skull!

So, let’s pretend for a moment that I am a writer. How and why did I choose the Indie route? Let’s do the why first. That one’s pretty simple. Painful perhaps, but simple. Absolutely, positively no one on the face of the earth that I could find was willing to represent me or Bone Dressing in the traditional publishing arena.

That’s not to say I regret trying, absolutely not. I learned a lot about how much writing means to me, how much Bone Dressing means to me, and how much it means for me to write in my own voice, not some watered-down, half-somebody-else voice. The words I keep, and the ones I toss for that matter, are mine, they are as much a part of me as my left cheek or my right toe.

As for the how, that one’s pretty simple, too. And ever so much less painful! After spending countless months in pursuit of an agent, an article was thrust in my direction by my aunt who had run across it in the local paper. She was one of the sweetest, most supportive guinea pigs to read Bone Dressing before it was all nice and shiny, and she knew what a difficult time I was having trying to get it published.

Well, the article was about a little lady named Amanda Hocking, perhaps you’ve heard about her, along with the rest of the free world? I was riveted. Better than that though, I was completely and positively motivated.

I’ve never been afraid of the path less travelled, and had wondered about self-publishing in the past, but simply hadn’t given it much thought, or credit for that matter. That one article changed my outlook and my strategy overnight … God bless Aunt Dianne!

Now, how did I make that trailer? Well, like I said, I’m not afraid of learning new things, going different places … even if that means I don’t know quite where I’ll end up. I basically figure that if something can be done, by anyone, then there’s no reason why, if I put forth the same amount of effort (even less, if I pay attention and learn from their mistakes), I can’t do the same or better…

So, I saw a book trailer, or thirty … I do my research, ALWAYS. I did manage to pull off a PhD in genetics, after all. Then I grabbed the Photoshop program that had been sitting patiently on the shelf collecting dust for two years, waiting for the day I’d make time to learn it … and I learned it. At least, I learned it well enough to do what I needed to do. Then I found out where to get pictures I wanted and could use, I discovered Fotolia for that. After I edited each and every picture to fit a general storyline for Bone Dressing, I had to find a program to make the movie. Instead of Adobe Illustrator, I went with Windows Live Movie Maker for basic simplicity and ease of use. I played around with that until I had the timing and words the way I wanted, then added the music, and presto-change-o, I had a book trailer!

Will this, young adult paranormal urban fantasy, be my only genre? God, I hope not! I’ve got a non-fiction book in the works that is utterly and completely NOT young adult by any stretch of the imagination. So, I’m working on a pen-name. Funny how the non-fiction is what will demand a pen name … might tell you a bit about my life right there!

What writers influenced me? Oh, my! I went to Poe Elementary, so Edgar has to top the list. But, while I don’t have as much time to read as I’d like, especially these days, I have read and do still read quite a bit. Masters Shakespeare and Tolkien have their place, as do J.M. Barrie, J.K. Rowling, and more recently, Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton and Lora Leigh.

But, honestly, Jim Morrison, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ernest Thayer, Robert Frost, Eugene Field, Evanescence, Bram Stoker, and a whole slew of others share equal billing, as well. I think it’s great that we are such diverse creatures, and it’s wonderful that so many people have had the profound ability to be so prolific.

As for the seven books, a few years back I had one really bad nightmare of a day. But, even nightmares have their happy endings if you let them, and mine ended with a little dream called Bone Dressing. The story just fell into place in my head that night … all seven books worth, each with its own message, but each hinging on the others as well. A sort of, “there and back again” tale, to steal a phrase from Tolkien. After that, there was a lot, really a lot, of research. I researched names, places, symbols, animals, things I won’t mention yet … everything. Now, it’s all there, all in place just waiting for me to write it.

And so, we’ve come back full circle to where we began. I am a writer … I am … so now I guess I’d better get busy and write!

“With all the charm of a thousand sunsets…” Is it just me or was that the best sentence in the whole blog? 🙂

Michelle identified Robert Frost in her influences, and of course alluded to his most famous poem.

It’s the perfect note on which to end.

There’s no such thing as an original story anymore.

Whatever your genre, whatever your plot, it’s been done before. Sorry, but it’s true.

So if you want to compete in the Amazon jungle and stand out among the million other books available, you have to give your novel added value. You need to take the road less travelled by.

Your book has to have the x-factor. Something that will make it stand out from the crowd.

Today’s guest understood that and has produced something that doesn’t just stand out – it is outstanding.

Michelle has taken the best from the author and books she admires, including Stephenie Meyer, and produced her own unique brand. Bone Dressing is definitely not Twilight. But it is a promising new dawn for an exceptional debut novelist.

If Simon Cowell ever produced The X-Factor for new writers,  Michelle Brooks and Bone Dressing would be in the final.


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  1. My personal feelings about Twilight aside, I agree that Stephen King’s public slamming of Stephanie Meyers was… inappropriate. I have no problem with readers slamming books. It’s another matter entirely for a high profile writer like King to do so. Like my mamma always said, “If you can’t say something nice, shut yer pie hole.”

    Actually, now I think on it, that was my dad. 🙂

    Which is why I’ve gone back looking at all my book reviews on Goodreads to make sure I haven’t been too nasty. 🙂 It was ok when I was just a reader, but as an author I don’t think it’s right. I will be honest, but in the nicest possible way. 🙂 And if it’s truly aweful, I’ll just pretend it doesn’t exist. Because it’s my opinion only and while as a reader I have every right to my opinion, it’s a whole ‘nother ballpark now that I am an author. Though, granted, I don’t have anything like King’s influence. It’s just… to me, it’s just doing the right thing.

    As for the interview… Thanks for sharing, Michelle! Bone Dressing sounds like a great read. Will definitely check it out. 🙂

    • Well said, Shea’s mum, dad or anyone else who echoes those sentiments.

      Hopefully you’ve not been too nasty in the past either, Shea.

      We often get very unpleasant reviews (luckily our five stars more than balance them) but we wonder what drives a person to go out of their way to denigrate someone else’s work, often at a very personal level.

      My favourite one star is someone who said our book was so bad they only finished it to see if it could get any worse. 🙂 What kind of person reads a 120,000 word novel from start to finish if it’s so very bad?

      Good luck with your own book too, btw.

      • I went back, and fortunately they weren’t too bad. lol Of course, I’ve always been sure to comment ONLY on the writing, not on the author personally. 🙂 I also always pointed out things I did like about the books.

        Wow! That’s a crazy review. Who does that? lol

        Thanks. I need all the luck I can get! 🙂

  2. As writers we are the sum total of our experiences and our reading, and we aspire to creativity rather than originality. Bone Dressing certainly earns that description, and I hope you enjoy great success!

    • I’m sure Michelle will go on to astound all those agents who either didn’t bother looking too closely or decided the market wasn’t right for yet another unknown name.

      I suspect the latter.

      In six months time, Michelle, those same agents will be clamouring outside your door.

      And the really grteat thing is, if you had signed up with an agency, your book would be sat there awaiting a publisher, and a year or so later finally seeing the light of day.

      And chances are when it was published I would never have found it.

      Vive la e-pub revolution!

  3. As a reader, I didn’t enjoy the Twilight series…I forced myself to read it because as a WRITER I wanted to know how she did it…how she managed so expertly to hit her market and her audience. I learned a lot from the series. I think every writer has a responsibility–especially the SKs of the world–to show an appreciation for market. Should they voice their READER opinion? Hellz ya. I bet if ole SK had said SM was a great writer, no one would complain…they’d use it as a marketing ploy.

    Tough line to walk, i suppose

    • Thea, how could you not like Twilight. Were you never fifteen?

      Reading from a professional prospective, as writer rather than reader, is a difficult one.

      When I started out I made a point of reading successful authors that had no immediate appeal. It helped introduce me to new genres and find some great writers I would otherwise have ignored.

      Unless you have your niche and a guaranteed following and don’t care any more then all writers should read what’s selling. Because the key word is selling.

      It’s the best-seller list that counts if you want to earn a living at thia game. Making the best writers list is something else altogether.

      • Mark:

        I laugh. yes. I do. My best friend loved the series, and I’m not dissing Twilight, not in the least. i think it’s amazing that one author can so perfectly hit her market. I admire that. I just didn’t like it. but I m not a romance reader atall.

        I love YA. Loved HP and Graceling and a few others. I read just about anything. And as i said. I read the series…well most. I would never diss the writer or the writing simply because of a subjective thing like, ‘like’. It’s the beuaty of genre and style. We all love something different and for different reasons.

        great discussion!

  4. I completely agree with Shea’s comment. I was brought up on the same saying and it has stuck with me through life. Even more so now that I’m an author and one, who until recently, received next to no reviews. Now, I’m starting to get one almost daily and I sit at my pc with my hands in front of my eyes peeking through my fingers:-)

    I’m getting to the point where I’m not sure I want to look anymore, not wanting to tempt fate. Self-doubt is always knocking on my door and I wonder how I’ll react if someone slams my writing into the ground with contempt, as I’ve read on other author’s reviews and cringed for them. Would I ever put fingers to keyboard again? I’m hoping my skin’s not that thin 🙂

    I only leave a good review for books I enjoy, if I don’t enjoy it, I don’t leave a review.

    I am bemused, also, at why SK would say such things about other authors. What point would there be other than to be hurtful? I loved Twilight and Host. SM is an amazing storyteller and gave me the inspiration to write YA (not about vampires, though:-)).

    I’m really enjoying these posts and will definitely check out Bone Dressing. Thanks Mark

    • One thing putting up material at a site like Youwriteon teaches you is how to ignore the occasional sucky review; just remember that for every person who didn’t like your work five did. Democracy in action!

    • Thanks, Alison.

      Gerry McCullough has a lovely guest post here (see archives) called Becoming A Rhino which with will no doubt strike a chord with you.

      Inevitably you will get smeone who will not just hate your book but will decide their sole purpose in life is to tell everyone how bad it is.

      This from our reviews: “An awful book, really bad basic writing, ridiculous and unbelievable plot and character actions, flat characterisation, full of cliches. I only finished it to find out what happened, should have guessed that the ending would be absurd.”

      Not a single example to suggest the reviewer had actually read it. Or even bought it!

      By the time this review had come in we had solf fifty thousand and had over ninety five star reviews, so it was amusing rather than hurtful.

      Had it been one of our first reviews it would have been very painful, I’m sure.

      • Thanks, Mark. I will check out that post Becoming a Rhino. Thanks, also for sharing that review. That was just plain nasty, there’s no need for that.

        Anne labels them nicely. I always did love the term troglodyte LOL!

  5. I agree that Mr. King was creepy about this. But then creepy is kind of his thing, isn’t it? Maybe he was having one of his evil clown days.

    I also am aware of the truth of your last reply. Trolls randomly give one-star bad reviews to books they’ve never read just because they’re trolls. They’re like the idiots who comment on news stories of murders and always blame the victim for not carrying a gun (especially if the victim is under 2 yrs old.) Probably Troglodytes living in Mom’s basement when they’re 52. And unfortunately, we can’t do much unless the review is overtly offensive and we can get Amazon to take it down.

    Thanks for inviting Michelle here today.

  6. Thanks, Anne. I shall forever imagine those reviewers as trolls hereon. 🙂

    To everyone else, watch out for Anne R.A. herself in the green room tomorrow, if internet access my end permits.

    Rest assured she won’t get an easy ride like Michelle!

    • Delorfinde
    • June 9th, 2011

    I love what you say about respecting teenagers. I hate the way people think that teenagers’ books are second best – like they have to dumb everything down so that we can understand it. That’s not true. We’ve got brains. Give us a bit of credit – we can deal with the stuff you can deal with, and probably more.

    • Thanks for that, Delorfinde. Just make sure that in ten years time you yourself still remember what it was like to be a teenager.

      You are hereby appointed the official MWi spokesperson on behalf of the repressed teens of the world!

      • I don’t know about you, but this repressed teen read The Lord of The Rings in junior high, and was reading hard sci-fi by Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, etc, in high school–although my favorite two books from my senior year were Beauty, by Robin McKinley, and The Princess Bride. I wasn’t reading “juvenile fiction”; I found it boring.

  7. @George. I loved Asimov and was reading the Robot trilogy before i was ten. And Arhiur C Clarke, etc. Alongside Enid Blyton et al. No limits!

    I think you have a point. Back in the twentieth century there was some excellent literature for children and for adults, but “teen fition” as it was then called was often very uninspiring.

    Mainly because, as per Delorfinde, it talked down to the reader.

    Which is why I love the new wave of teen fiction, now called YA, like Michelle’s Bone Dressing, Ben White’s Charlotte Powers, and Megg Jensen’s Anathema.

    And then there’s that great new book by Marion G Harmon, Artemis Shows Astra How To Do It. Well worth checking it out. I think it may also be known as Wearing The Cape.

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