“What other culture could have produced someone like Hemingway and not seen the joke?”
I have to be honest with you; the above quote makes me despise Vidal, but my loyalty to Ernest Hemingway makes my opinion irrelevant and unreliable. In general, I think critics have a place at the table, as long as their dissection is supported by the work. For better or worse, our online culture has given everyone a platform for expression, and that sometimes turns personal, especially because contemporary authors are so accessible.
Since the publication of my novels, I have received some touching and beautiful reader correspondence. It would be dishonest, however, if I tried to pretend it has all been pleasant. Some of the worst emails (which are mercifully few and far between) have left me quaking with anger and longing to respond in an equally venomous fashion; however, my mentors have advised me never to respond to nastiness. So what do I do? After I call off the dogs (aka, my husband, family, and best friends), and talk myself out of making a little pin doll for the offender, I write a response to the email and then delete it.
In talking with other published writers, I have learned this is a common problem, so I sought out the advice of some of my favorite authors—who just happen to be some of my co-contributors on GRAND CENTRAL (Berkley/Penguin, July 2014), an anthology of post WWII stories set at Grand Central Terminal. These writers have advice from the feisty to the Zen for dealing with unpleasant correspondence or reviews that I hope will help you once your work is public. I know it has helped me.
From Kristina McMorris, bestselling author of The Pieces We Keep:
“For me, the most helpful way of recovering from a bad review is to immediately read a slew of one-star reviews of my all-time favorite novels — because how could any sane person not love those books, right?! It quickly reminds me just how subjective reading is, and that an author’s words are responsible for only half of a reader’s experience; the other half comes from the reader’s own life, thoughts, and history.”
From Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us: [Read more…]