Monday, August 26, 2013

Fanning the Flames and When to Douse Them

Actors have fans.
Movies have fans.
Games of sport have fans.
Sometimes, fans of sports are rather rabid in their enthusiasm. Same goes for bands and other music groups. Fans at concerts can be so wild as to rival sports buffs.

Authors and books have fans too, although I'm not aware of riots being caused by a favorite author speaking at a Barnes and Noble.
That would be something to see.

Then again, I guess fans of movies made from books do tend to exhibit things a bit ... different than most.

Fans of a book or book series have taken it a step further and it's more in an intellectual vein.

Fan Fiction

Fan Fiction has its place. It is one of the highest of praises for an author. It means that the world the author has built has made such an impact on its readers that they want to stay immersed in that world. And they go so far as to write stories within that imaginary place with all its rules and wonders, and share it with others. That can be a very good thing.

It does not, however, have a place in writing a review.

What do I mean?

It means that a reviewer should not ever ever do any of these things:

Rewrite parts of the book by offering examples of how it "should" have been done.
Rate the book down because the author didn't write it the way you felt she/he should have.

That is not, has not nor ever should be part of writing a review. Period.
A review is an opinion of what is written. Anything else falls into the realm of Fan Fiction.

I realize that it may be hard to resist.

I also realize that a reviewer who does so on their own personal blog, Facebook journal, Live Journal or Word Press account has the right to do anything they want.

This blog is dedicated to the reviewer that contributes to professional review sites. Those sites usually have a reputation, style and format that does not accept shades of Fan Fiction. Remember what I wrote in my past post, Be Good To Me,
"My advice? Before you review for a site, check with the site owners or, if they have it, the list of criteria or FAQs that might provide information about the tone or style of their reviews and what they look for.
Read some of their published reviews and get a feel for what they typically accept."

If the review site lends itself to adventures in mixed reviewing - mashing opinion with fan fiction- then you've found a home for your review. However, most sites I'm aware of do not accept that style.

I realize it's human nature to want to correct a percieved wrong, and that includes the wording or direction in a story. But the only person that can re-write a story is the person who wrote it in the first place - the author.

Please keep that in mind the next time you are tempted to think, "I can do it better."
You can't in your review.
But you can if you wrote your own fan fiction.
Or, better yet, your OWN book, complete with your own rules, wonders and characters.

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