A friend bought a novel of mine, which is a nice thing - always good to have friends support you in your creative endeavors. I never ask such things as, "Well did you like it?" because this is the surest way to get false praise. And I have had criticism of the book, to be sure, not the fatal kind - simply noting a few things I could have done better, phrases better turned. After all, there's never been a perfect novel written, certainly not by me.
But this friend, after a week or so, informed me he just couldn't finish the book - it was just too unrealistic.
The book toyed with a lack of realism in places - by design. So, ever willing to learn something from a reader's perspective, I asked him to tell me what so disturbed him. As it turns out, my sins were - and this is arguable in the extreme - a possible misplacing of technology by a couple of years. We've exchanged e-mails three times over this, and he's adamant that this supposed misplacement, which constitutes some six words in the text, is too big a flaw to make the book worthy of reading.
What's my lesson in this? First, while there's false praise, there's false criticism as well. Too, writers have to be discriminating in their assimilation of reader criticism. Some readers are astute, others puff themselves up by playing gotcha with all aspect of life. Still, his comments - and we remain friends - will make me do even more not to allow this sort of wedge into readers' perceptions of my writing.
Causes Bob Mustin Supports
Native American culture. Education. Creative writing.