Saturday, March 24, 2007


I am preparing to teach a course at a local technical college, and while the longest paper those students will write is a research project with a suggested length of two to four pages, this will be the first time I have evaluated student writing since I published my books. Having basked in the praises of some wonderful reviews and been skewered by others, I will find it a bit more challenging to write those comments this time. What is wrong will still be wrong, but having the experience of dealing with reviewers will make me more sensitive to the emotional side of criticism, I am sure.

One of the reviewers who shredded Trinity (and me, of course) claims to be an award-winning author, but on her website, she acknowledges that she won her prize in middle school. That same site offers free “exerpts” from her works— no kidding. Sometime I’ll publish the link to her “jack of all trades” site, but this post is actually supposed to be serious, and y’all would be laughing when you returned to my post.

Any rebuttal to a bad review is considered bad form for the author, but reading one (and knowing that others are reading it) is worse than any other aspect of publishing. In an article published in P&W this author acknowledges the pain of a bad review, which is quite real, I do assure you.

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At Apr 1, 2007, 9:32:00 PM, Blogger Sun Singer said...

Many reviewers love books they can shred. This allows them to ramp up the best of their Don Rickles/Oscar Wilde prose and create marvelous zingers at the author's expense. Perhaps that's tempting when a famous author starts acting too much of the celeb and churns out schlock work. Otherwise, it's hard to justify. I heard via the town rumor mill that you were going to be teaching this course. Brave lady! I've taught this one, at a college long ago and far away, and really disliked having to tell the hopeful student with the well-intentioned essay that I had seen better writing in the directions that come with toilet paper. (Okay, okay, I never said that.)

At Apr 3, 2007, 7:26:00 AM, Blogger Pamela J. Dodd said...

Hi Malcolm!

This teaching assignment came to me in an odd way, but I have two teenagers, so a bit of extra cash might come in handy for prom dresses and so forth.

Since it is at technical college, they emphasize work related writing, and I am actually looking forward to helping them with that. It is just the nature of writing that in order to make stuff better, you have to identify what is wrong!


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