Friday, April 1, 2011

Just the Facts, Ma'am

Hello again!

I have an addendum to my previous post that I want to share with you. In scanning through my Facebook updates I noticed an interesting note entry from an author. Of course, curiosity tweaked, I checked it out. I'm glad I did. Why? Because she illustrated one of the points I made in The Rapunzel Affect

The most important component of meeting that responsibility is to respect the author and her/his work and be as factual, professional and courteous as you can be. There should not be any attacks on the author by making personal references that try to connect the faults in the story with perceived faults in the person. That's ludicrous and unacceptable behavior.

How fortuitous that she wrote about this very subject. I asked her if I could use her quote but I forgot to ask if I could use her name. Since I didn't ask, I can't use it but her words make the point beautifully.

"... When you want to criticize someone's writing, don't say "S/he writes like English is not her/his second language." It is very insulting to those of us who are non-native speakers/writers. IMHO, I don't make glaring mistakes, and false modesty aside, I'm good at English - and this is true for many other non-English authors out there. So without meaning to offend anyone, please consider this when you leave bad reviews."

I would never have come up with this example because opinions like that never cross my mind. I usually blame mistakes on bad editing. When I'm in a rush or in chat I become typo-queen - I can type 80 mistakes a minute. *grin* So for a reviewer to infer that the author herself/himself is faulty and that's why the writing is as it is, well, that steams me. Saddens me too. I want to give reviewers like that an injection of compassion and intelligence with a side dose of the professionalism they lack.

Yes, I understand that reviews are opinions.
However I believe that they are supposed to be opinions on the book/story itself: what it contains, what it tries to say, and whether or not it succeeded. Those are the only 'facts' from a reviewer that readers should see.

Can anyone share other examples of things to avoid in a review?
I would enjoy seeing your input.

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