Friday, February 19, 2010

Ah, Those Readers

The myriad opinions of readers never cease to amuse me. Reactions to novels vary widely for two simple reasons: (1) personal taste in story and characters, and (2) personal experience. Both points are powerful, but point two is the dominant one. To a large degree, personal taste in story is built from one's past experiences. And since we've all lived different lives there's no way to please everyone.

Take a look at these excerpts from my reader reviews--all for the same book. (I'll let you figure out which one.)

This "book" is absolutely terrible. I could not even force myself to finish it.

This book has you on the edge of your seat. I loved it!

Very dissapointing (sic) book! ... drags along.

Wow! Page turning suspense.

Annoyingly dramatic with weak female characters. lack (sic) of character development.

The story is very fast paced and keeps you really interested.

Addictive read.

Grabbed me at once. If I were still teaching mystery writing, I'd require my students to read this one.

Kept hoping for a twist in the plot, something, ANYTHING.

Has a surprising twist.

This is terrific storytelling.

Exciting, intriguing, and fascinating twists.

The author chose non-traditional spellings for Kaitlan and her grandfather Darell. It was distracting.

Fast-paced and gritty. The book flows so fast some readers may overlook plot subtleties.

The obvious thrill ride really got to me. But it was the more subtle lines that got my blood pumping.

Characters have never been one of Collins' strong points. She seems especially fond of creating main characters with oatmeal for brains. [Brandilyn note: I love that last line! It's one of my favorites.]

The characterization is deep and multifaceted.

In-depth descriptions into the criminal mindset ... high octane, quick-paced storyline.

Deliciously scary, completely engrossing.

... born again Christian anti-abortion hard sell ... complete pap. [Abortion is barely mentioned. There is a character who finds herself pregnant and desperately wants the baby.]

So many opinions! And then there are those readers whose opinions are the only ones that matter. Everyone else is just ... uninformed:

I don't understand all these five-star reviews. Those people must not read a lot of suspense.

And finally I leave you with this one in its entirety, typed just as it appears.


Readers. Gotta love 'em.


Dee Yoder said...

LOL! Oh man, I HOPE I have reviews like these someday. Love the oatmeal-brained characters quote. (How do you create those? *giggle*)

Linda Rader said...

The world really is made up of many types of people. I like that you put your values and social opinions in your books. I happen to not have the same opinions you do, but that's not the point. It is that you have passion for your position and that makes characters realistic.

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Everyone has a different opinion and sometimes I have to wonder if they really did read all the book or are they thinking of a different book they read?!

Just like critiques, you cherish the good ones, use the ones that are constructive criticism and laugh while you toss the rest away!

Richard Mabry said...

We truly make ourselves vulnerable when we affix our names to words set down to be read by others. Reminds me of a quote from Dr. Samuel Johnson: "He who would earn his bread writing books must have the assurance of a duke, the wit of a courtier, and the guts of a burglar." It's certainly not a profession for sissies.
Thanks for sharing.

Levi Montgomery said...

Um, ok... I have to ask.

Who or what is a GDAD?

Barbara E Brink said...

I'm with you, Levi. Who is GDAD?
I guess that one can be totally disregarded. That's one of the rules for sending out query letters to agents. If you get their name wrong, it gets tossed in the garbage. Seems like a good rule for reviews as well. They should at least know what book they read and who wrote it.

~ Brandilyn Collins said...

Linda, what a lovely comment. Thank you so much.

Levi, I had to look at the sentence for a long time. At first I thought it was a typo. Then I realized she was referring to "Granddad."

Ron Estrada said...

Remember, these are the people who voted in the last election. Don't worry about it.

Cara Putman said...

Ah, well if it's granddad, then the book is Dark Pursuit. Enjoyable read. Though I liked Exposure more :-) But you know that. Reading the second YA book now. Really enjoying it.

~ Brandilyn Collins said...

LOL, Ron. Thanks for my laught for the day.

Anonymous said...

What flavor of oatmeal? Plain, brown sugar, apple cinnamon? :-DDDD

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hannah Y. said...

LOL, loved that last one. "Drug out"? Hmm, someone needs spell-check before they start criticizing the writer's skill. And..."oatmeal for brains"... Apparently they don't know that you've written one of the ultimate character how-to books out on the non-fiction market.

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

I didn't read this book but agree with you--it's so true you can't please everyone. Even my husband and I differ on our views sometimes when we read the same book!

Linda Glaz said...

Sure can't please everyone, can you?