Thursday, July 4, 2013

Should Authors Review Other Authors? by Leanne Dyck

Rake over a book—paragraph by paragraph, word by word. Given such close study any book’s flaws will become evident. Maybe that’s why the Internet is full of bad book reviews.

Is there such a thing as a perfect book? Is writing a perfect book the goal? Is it even possible?

Kristen Lamb asked:  Is it fair for authors to review other authors? She explained that as authors we are uniquely equipped to peek behind the curtain. We can dissect and spread out the guts of the book for every reader to view. Is this our duty?

I don’t think so.

Possibly because of my background (I’m dyslexic), I see my role not simply as an author but also as an advocate for literacy. We should encourage others to read. It’s our mission to venture into bookstores and report back about our amazing reading adventures.

My reading time is valuable. So I’m rather ruthless when I encounter what I consider to be a poorly written book. I don’t continue to read it. How could I review a book I haven't finished reading--why would I?

If a book captures my imagination—inspires, enlightens, captivates—I’m willing to overlook minor flaws. I want to focus on the positive and so that’s what I do.

In her book The Right to Write, Julia Cameron reveals that she doesn’t point out the flaws in another writers writing. Instead she focuses on the positive—and in doing so the writing improves.

If I’m thrilled by a book’s plot... 
If a book is peopled with captivating characters...
If I’m charmed by prose...
that’s what I rave about.

Authors shouldn't write reviews; we should write raves.

Here's an interesting article I found:  What is the Purpose of Criticism? What I found interesting was the explanation of the different kinds of criticism. 'Objective criticism focuses on the work of art and seeks to analyze it in terms of observable features... The subjective critic is less interested in analyzing the work of art than in expressing his personal reaction to it... In relativist, or historical, criticism, the work of art is analyzed in relation to the author's life and the social conditions of his period... The theoretical critic emphasizes the importance of general rules and values rather than the qualities of any particular work.'
Sharing my author journey...
This week, as well as continuing to work on my non-fiction manuscript, I was given a gift. My muse nudged me awake by whispering a story in my ear. I polished it and sent it off to my writers' group. The relationship between artist and muse is magical. : )
Oh, yes, and...

Trincomali Community Art Council's
9th Annual Summer Group Show
Opening night
Friday, July 5th
Doors open at 5 p.m.

I will be one of the writers reading from their work. I hope you can attend.

I thought that was it. I thought I had shared all my news. But my husband just brought the mail home and... and...

I have two short stories in the recent issue of Icelandic Connection

Next post:  Please welcome author Julia Emerson