I know that it might seem mean to be so ruthless to other writers. Shouldn’t I sympathize with them?
Of course I sympathize with them. Which is why I’m a little ruthless. When I read others’ novels and pick them apart for things that I like or dislike, it gives me insight into my own novel that I’m working on. Currently, I have 386 pages of a somewhat cohesive final product. But that’s not good enough. I want something that people will enjoy. I want to create a book that when people review it, they will say,
“Wow, that was really good!”
“It kept me on the edge of my seat!”
“I wanted them to get together and when they finally did, it didn’t disappoint!”
“The twist at the end blew my mind!”
I want to create characters so vibrant that there is no question as to their background, their motivation, or their desires. I want a setting so rich that people wish they could pick up their home and move there. I want a plot so tight that readers aren’t left guessing or wondering about that tiny little detail that I forgot. (Because I haven’t forgotten anything.)
They say that in order to be a good musician, you should regularly and deeply immerse yourself in listening to quality literature, crappy recordings, and everything in between. The more you study, the greater tools you have in your toolbox. If you want to be a jazz musician, listen to jazz. If you want to be a specialist in baroque lyric soprano arias, then listen to Baroque opera! But still occasionally listen to other genres to deepen your toolbox. The concept is simple.
It applies to writing too. I want to be a good writer. No—a great one. I want to be a great female writer. I want to be a great YA novelist. I want to be a stunning representation of what a person can accomplish when they put their mind to something. So I read female writers and I ready great YA novels.
So, ruthless or not, those reviews are nothing compared to how scrupulous I am with my own novel. Currently, in my own rating system, I’ve given my own book a 2.75. I’m pretty tough on myself.
Because I deserve it.
So keep on writing, writers!