Looking at review pressure points in a different light.

I never had a review blog, but I did write normal reviews on goodreads and was quite vocal. I don’t review anymore because I guess on this side of the writing, I’ve changed my perspective.

From my experience with reviewing, there are a number of pressure points that can boil blood.  This is my take now that I’m behind the wheel. These might be Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance pressure points, but some are relevant to all genres. This list isn’t exhaustive.

TSTL – Too stupid to live.

Well I changed this one to ‘ too stubborn to listen’  for Mae, my protagonist.  This is when you feel the character is making reckless and uninformed decisions, endangering their safety. Characters do some pretty stupid things. When you write, you need to take them on a journey or they’re all just sitting around in an impenetrable box shooting the breeze. And although the breeze might turn quite rancid after awhile as they start sharing breath, the story would be more interesting if you get them out there into the action. I think the key here is growth.

Growth

Okay, this one hasn’t changed for me. I love growth. I love to watch a sitcom where one minute you are shaking your fist at an idiot, and the next you are crying because they figured out that no-one tolerates a selfish hater. I can be easily manipulated by good writing. Where it happens is important to me though. I like characters to grow within the book. I won’t wait 2-3 books.

Love triangles

Sometimes they just appear. They don’t bother me anymore because what I thought was contrived, is sometimes a coincidence, and sometimes there’s more than one member of the opposite sex hanging around that’s single.  What does bug me though, is when the protagonist manipulates her loyal subjects who in turn morph into sulking morons when they don’t get attention. But I don’t review anymore. So I’ll shush.

Cliffhangers

I thought these only existed to entice the reader to continue the series. What I’ve realised is that you write until you feel the story is ready to end.

Mary-Sue

This one still confuses me but I love it when people rant about it. I think this is when a protagonist is deemed uninteresting,  but the love interest runs around like a headless looney to be with her anyway. Or is it when ten headless loonies want to be with her? Or do they whine about how boring they are – I don’t even have to infer it – but they suddenly become the most interesting person to the most amazing person and there is no reason? Is it when you feel the writer wishes they were the protagonist?

I can probably tolerate anyone as long as they don’t have loads of adoring fans who pass out with awe when they walk past. And I have to see that romantic connection. I get it when she’s sassy, and he’s sassy and together they are the Sassinators, but when there is only a physical attraction and there is loads of whine involved, I’m out. Wine involved? Count me back in.

Okay, I just did some research. This needs its own post. Could be fun.

Interesting Protagonist.

This is probably more of a pressure point for UF and PNR since most of it is written in first person pov. There is nowhere to hide. I used to wonder, “Why don’t writers make the protag interesting? A real fire-cracker?” They may not want to, they may want the story to shine, they may not think they are uninteresting. Also, I read a book with an over the top  fire-cracker once and wow that was exhausting. Maybe not to the writer though. *shrugs*

What are your reviewing pressure points and have they changed? Did you change your perspective on reviewing when you started to write?

*deletes goodreads reviews*

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12 thoughts on “Looking at review pressure points in a different light.

  1. 100% I find that I tend to be more critical than before I started writing full time. Also I try to look for where they are pulling their material from. Thought provoking post, I like it

    • Interesting to see the other perspective. When I was being overly critical of my own writing I read a blog that suggested that if I’m less critical of others work, I may be less critical of my own. It made me think anyway. I was a fairly critical reviewer though :S

  2. I’m not a writer, but I’ve noticed that my reviews (and book tastes) have changed a lot since I’ve been on Goodreads. It’s no surprise that we probably have similar pressure points, Lorelle. Those love triangles bother me to no end, but I have run into a few that I liked and were actually necessary to the story. In those cases, the woman didn’t lead on both men or play them against each other.

    I always think of Mary Sues as just too perfect. They are perfect at everything and also a bit naive. I guess all that leads to a boring character. It’s hard to have growth (something else I like to see) in a character who’s already perfect.

    Surprisingly, I don’t mind cliffhangers. Well, if the book cuts off in the middle of a scene, I’ll be a bit upset. I also like to have at least some of the plot lines wrapped up within the book (i.e., the murder mystery solved, etc.), but I do like those story arcs that keep us coming back for more.

    It’s all so subjective though. Even books I absolutely adore have 1-star and 2-star reviews. And the reverse also applies. I’ve ended up not finishing books that people have raved about. I just don’t get what they see in those books, but that must mean I’m not the target demographic for those books. That’s why authors need to write for themselves. They will end up attracting the readers who appreciate that style.

    • The way they deal with the love triangle is key. It just doesn’t seem to bother a lot of people. I want to get inside their brains…. I read that Mary Sue’s are also the writer’s idealised self. I guess I’d love to be Mae, but her choices and her behaviour is not mine. I think that’s how I keep an emotional connection to her though, by making her familiar. I think you’re right about cliffhangers – they can’t end mid scene – the book needs to feel complete in some way. I guess with regards to your last point, as much as I will always stick to my style, if there are few who appreciate my style, then you and I are going to have nothing more than our tantalising emails about grammar and hyphens to discuss lol. I know what you mean. I’m not being defeatist..I’m not!

  3. Before I published, I never reviewed. I now write occasional reviews for books I’ve enjoyed because, on the receiving end, I’ve come to appreciate the power of positive affirmation. If I think something’s good, I want to talk about it!

    • I love that you review when you want to say something positive! I was often too vocal when I was upset with a series. I believe reviewing helped me with my own writing only because I’m so obsessed with how people view work. It will be my downfall if I’m not careful..

  4. I don’t write, I blog, there’s a difference. Hehe But, you bring up some interesting points. There’s a fine line between reviewing and ranting; it’s important to be able to tell the difference.

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