March 26, 2009

how to read a review

I'm sure I'm not the only writer who "reads" a review by scanning for criticism. You find the damning sentence(s), memorize the critique, let each of your inner editors (I've decided there are a whole host of them, each with her own manic quirks) take turns weighing it for truth, accept it as fact or something less ego-shattering, and keep writing. Usually, any critique will give you something you can use to be a better writer. The rest of the review, however complimentary, feels less vital and always, ALWAYS less believable.

But it occurs to me that the positive parts of a review might be worth paying attention to (if still dangerous to actually, say, believe). You want to know what sticks with people, what moved them. What works.

I've vowed that the next review I read (assuming there is a next one), I will try and take away at least one positive thing.


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