Letting Caustic Comments Go

Saturday, February 22, 2020
It never fails. If your book gets ten great reviews on Amazon and one stinker – which one do you feel the need to reread again and again? The stinker. “What did he mean by that? Did he even read the book?”

Or you’re feeling great about the progress that you’ve made on your novel/site/memoir/essay, and then you get a rejection with a scathing comment. “Undeveloped voice. I expected more.” Or it could be a simple, “liked it but not enough.” Date night with your significant other? Ruined. All you seem to be able to do is wallow.

Next time you get smacked down by a negative review or a simple rejection letter, remember that world heritage sites and natural wonders get cheeky negative comments all the time. That’s right, not even Stonehenge is good enough for some people. Here are some of my favorite snarky comments.

"My advice, if you want to see Stonehenge, is to look on the internet. What a lot of fuss about a few old stones!"

“Yes it might hold your interest for a second or two…until you realise that at about the same time 2000 miles away, the Great Pyramids were being built. Look at a picture of Stonehenge then book a flight to Egypt.”

But before you book that flight, you might want to check out the reviews of those pyramids. Not so great after all!

“It’s all lies I can tell you in seconds how it’s built there isn’t a wonder…It’s blocks on top of blocks. The only good thing about the Sphinx is it’s right next to a McDonalds.”

That’s right. The only salvation for this trip to Egypt was a McDonalds. Think about it. And yet no one had cordoned off either of these tourist destinations.

Mt. Fuji? The path up has nice scenery but the mountain itself is nothing special, the path zig zags and the toilets are really dirty. Mountains not your thing? Then maybe you’d prefer a canyon. But not the so-called Grand Canyon. “5 hour drive for a hole in the ground. Disappointing.” Fortunately, the park service hasn’t found the shovels or the dirt to fill the canyon back in.

Perhaps my favorite is this description of a Northern Lights tour in Iceland. “A cold and damp two hours waiting for the gases in the upper atmosphere to be ionized. No toilet. No food or drink. You would think a big company like this could control the elements.”

So the next time you get a disappointing response to your manuscript or book, just remember that even the Grand Canyon gets bad reviews. For all you know this person just had a really bad day because the Sphinx McDonalds was out of McNuggets.

Like the Northern Lights, so much in the writing world is out of our control. Fix yourself a nice hot drink, put your feet up and thank the heavens above that you aren’t the one who just got chastised for not cleaning the toilets on Mt. Fuji.

Sue Bradford Edwards' is the author of over 25 books for young readers.  To find out more about her writing, visit her blog, One Writer's Journey.  Sue is also the instructor for  Research: Prepping to Write Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults. The next session begins  March 2nd, 2020. 


Sioux Roslawski said...

Sue--Great post--a snort-worthy one *, and perfectly timed. I just got a 2nd rejection on my (full) manuscript this week. (Sigh.)

I've been to Iceland, and unfortunately, I was not there at the right time of the year to see the Northern Lights, but I still thought it was one of the magical places I've ever been... a tie with the Grand Canyon and southern France.

You can't fix stupid.

* I snorted with laughter over some of the (sadly) true comments people made. I once read that at Key West (known for their sunsets) someone asked, "When is the next sunset tonight?" Sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction...

Sioux Roslawski said...

Ooops. It's too early, and I have not had any tea yet. I meant Iceland is one of the MOST magical places I've ever been.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Whenever I get a comment that sets me off, I try to remember the course evaluations one of the professors I worked for got. He wore "too much brown and green." This woman was seriously offended because otherwise he was a very good professor.

Renee Roberson said...

Sue, where on earth did these snarky comments about these places come from? Trip Advisor? It makes me seriously concerned for the state of our world! My son and I recently had a laugh because he wrote a narrative essay for language arts class, and after I went over it with my red pen, he took it to school for a peer review. His classmate marked him down for "weird grammar and mechanics." We both laughed, because we knew it was fine, and if that was the only thing criticized, he must have done a pretty good job. (Got himself an A on it, by the way).

I hear ya, though. I'm the worst about taking negative comments so much more seriously than any nice "thank you" letters that come to me via e-mail or "snail mail." I wish I could rewire my brain differently.

Cathy C. Hall said...

This. Made. My. Day. Hahahahhaha! Thanks, Sue, it really is all about perspective, right?

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

I think we should write random snarky comments and put them in a jar. Then when you are asked your opinion on something, just pull out a comment.

It really is.

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