I love 1 star reviews. No, I don’t love getting them, I love reading them. I can’t help myself. I’ll go to browse some possible book selections, and I just have to see what those 1 star (and sometimes 2 star) comments are all about. Sometimes they give me insight into what went wrong in a novel. There are articulate, well written 1 star reviews that clearly point out flaws, plot holes, abysmal style, absolute lack of proofreading. Then there are the scathing rants. It’s the rants I love the best. More fun than late night TV and a barrel of monkeys in a giant blender. Some of the most entertaining to date:
The erotica novel reader who summed up her hatred of a book as “smut”, claiming it was shockingly sexually explicit. Yes, dear reader, that’s why there is a bold, all caps notation in the description saying THIS NOVEL IS SEXUALLY EXPLICIT AND ONLY FOR READERS OVER THE AGE OF 18. To be quite honest, if I’d bought it and it wasn’t “smut” I would have been livid.
The epic fantasy novel that was castigated for not being historically accurate. Clearly this reader missed the “fantasy” part of the description.
“These vampires are not sexy.” No. That would be because they are in a horror novel. If only the reader had left her e-mail address I could have pointed her in the direction of some lovely vampire erotica.
There were two spelling mistakes in a 400 page novel. Clearly no one proofread the thing. Someone should be flogged.
The author needs to go to church more often and is obviously destined for the fifth circle of hell for writing about serial killers/werewolves/women who wear pants. Which makes me wonder about the reader of said sacrilegious books.
What’s the best 1 star review you’ve ever read? Please share!
The short story had decent prose, interesting plot, and a neat twist to the ending, but I just didn’t buy it. I mean, I paid money for the story, but I found the plot premise and, more importantly, the main characters’ motivations lacking. I hovered on the edge of suspended disbelief, but just couldn’t make it over the fence. The story centered on a (fictional) immensely popular reality show featuring actual death. Yes, humans for centuries have relished gladiatorial contests. There are many books and movies where convicted criminals play a deadly game for survival (and parole), or where “others,” (aliens, outcasts, people of different races, nationalities, etc.) are forced to fight to the death. In one, the criminals have committed atrocities that eliminate compassion for their plight. They deserve it. In the other, the very outcast nature of the fighters, and human prejudice put them in the same category as the criminals. But in this story, the combatants were not all willing, or even aware, and they certainly were not on equal footing. This reality show had an experienced serial killer, stalking and murdering random citizens as a nation watched enthusiastically.
How in the hell did we get to there? That’s the question I needed the story to answer. How did our society get to the point where we would gleefully watch a psychotic killer butcher defenseless civilians – even children? I think the author intended the reader to believe that, over time, violent video games and other entertainment desensitized us to the point where we enjoyed watching murder. That’s a good premise, but the story never put it forward. I was left to wonder how we got from here to there. Continue reading →
Sometimes it happens. You’ve got a main character, maybe your protagonist, who for some reason or another is alone. Maybe they’re bitter and disillusioned, avoiding human contact. Maybe something causes others to shun them. Maybe they’re trapped in a prison cell, chained to a wall, alone. Either way, this can cause difficulties in a story. How does a writer move the action forward, reveal information when there is no one around for dialogue?
Without dialogue, your pages looks like a Henry James novel, block after block of unrelenting text. Well written dialogue helps a writer avoid the dreaded info dump by allowing a character to reveal pieces of his past to a stranger, educate a friend on a vital piece of background for the plot, or cement a relationship with commonalities. It’s the interaction between people that brings them to live and keeps the reader from being bogged down in mental ramblings and reminiscences of a protagonist or omniscient narrator. But what to do when there is no one to dialogue with? Continue reading →
I belong to a writer’s research group on Yahoo, hosted by the fabulous Rayne Hall (I reviewed her book here). Even when I don’t have an open question for the group, or the topic isn’t one I can contribute knowledge to, I still read the posts. That’s how I came across the following story, courtesy of Pedar Bloom.
An author had asked about details concerning rat hunting, and Pedar posted a true tale so amazing that I repeatedly pulled it up on my smart phone and read it to people. Everyone loved it. Thanks Pedar, for letting me share:
Imagine thousands of these. . .
“My wife’s cousins used to hunt rats for bounty. Their city had a problem with
rats in the sewers and paid per rat killed. They were given access to the sewer
system, vests, hard hats like miners wear with a flash light in them, and were
otherwise expected to bring their own gear.
The first time they went they brought 22 caliber repeating rifles. They entered
at the access point. The access point was about two blocks from where the big
rat colony was, and was used because it gave the hunters a way in and out away from
the main colony. They could hear the rats down the pipe even two blocks
away. Continue reading →
In my previous post, I discussed the biological factors around romantic love – specifically surrounding sexual desire and attachment. In psychology, there are typically three concepts that come to play in romantic love: Attachment, Sex, and Caregiving. Today I’m going to discuss how early experiences in attachment can color behaviors in romance.
CHILDHOOD ATTACHMENT EXPERIENCES
Attachment has always been primarily known as the bond between an infant and a caregiver – usually a parent. In the late 80’s, psychologists began to apply this attachment theory to sexual, adult relationships. Continue reading →