Lyn Gala

One writer's journal through one version of reality

The Joy of Bad Reviews

2 Comments


ImageAs I’m struggling to decide which project to work on, I’ve come to a decision. I want some people to dislike my books.

Yep, I’ve decided that I value some of my bad reviews.  I want bellyaching.  I want complaints.

Because there are people out there that I don’t want to like me. If I please them, I seriously need to worry about what I’m doing in my stories.  For example, I keep getting complaints that there’s too much plot in my story. “Where’s the porn?” they ask.

Maybe this is because I am gay, but I get really kind of grossed out by the suggestion that gay people have sex all the time. Vin and Dylan are perfectly happy having lots of sex, at least before the drama with Gary, but that’s because they’re young and horny.  Miguel and Nikolai are older and crabbier. Nikolai is Jewish and still has a gut-deep dislike of “wasting” his seed, and Miguel… well, he’s Miguel. He’s not a very physical man.  And don’t even start with Vinnie and Charleston.  They’re running from a serial rapist. They are not going to take a break to boff in the bathroom.

If I am ever tempted to have characters catch a quickie while running from a murderer, I hope someone takes a pair of scissors to my internet landline.

So all those people who complain that they want more sex… I’m okay with them complaining.  I really am.  Go on and gripe because I don’t want to write a book you like because you seem to be suggesting you would like pure porn. Sex is not the center of my life or the lives of my characters.

I am also unimpressed with complaints that the characters don’t say the “L” word.  I’ve had people claim to love me.  In my life, I’ve had too many tell me that love me, and it never ends well.  It has not ended well multiple times. People who say the words impress me less than people to act in a way that shows a deep and abiding love.

Vin may not proclaim his love, but he puts up with awkward family dinners, invites Dylan into his life and business, and protects Dylan from everyone—including his family. Those are the actions of a man in love. He doesn’t have to say the words.  One day he may, but he knows that acting in a way that is supportive and loving—acting that way consistently and over a long period of time—is far more important than any words whispered in a lover’s ear.

Now, I am not saying I’m perfect.  In hindsight, I wish I could make Long, Lonely Howl disappear.  I tried too hard to break the trope of “mates” and the story is just a little awkward.  I think the huge problems I was having in real life spilled into my writing.

I adore my Desert World books, but I do think the first one needs a stronger edit. I left things in there because I loved them, but I think I loved the world too much and that encouraged me to wallow in it.

I also think Insistent Hunger needed about six more chapters to smooth out that ending, but I was so disappointed in the sales from Blowback (one of my hands-down favorites) that I think I gave up on the story (they were for the same publisher).

So, if you dislike those books for those reasons, I’m likely to cringe and slink off to my corner because I know I screwed those up. Hell, you should see the shit I have on my hard drive because I can write pure and utter crap the likes of which you have never seen… I hope.  Seriously, for your sake I hope you’ve never been forced to read dreck as bad as some of my half-done monsters.

However, if you want to gripe about having a plot or having gay people who occasionally have a day without sex, then I’m going to do a jig.  Woo Hoo!  I didn’t write the book you wanted.  That’s okay, because I wrote the book I wanted.  Well, usually.  Sometimes I just do screw up.  The reviews that point out those mistakes really hurt.

But some bad reviews amuse me.  Go me!  I wrote something that didn’t meet someone’s expectations

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Author: lyngala

Lyn Gala started writing in the back of her science notebook in third grade and hasn't stopped since. Westerns starring men with shady pasts gave way to science fiction with questionable protagonists which eventually gave in to any story with a morally ambiguous character. Even the purest heroes have pain and loss and darkness in their hearts, and that's where she likes to find her stories. Her characters seek to better themselves and find the happy ending (or happier anyway), but it's writing the struggle that inspires her muse. When she isn't writing, Lyn Gala teaches history part time in New Mexico and constantly prays for that one big breakout novel that will let her leave the classroom behind forever. She loves teaching, but she loves writing more.

2 thoughts on “The Joy of Bad Reviews

  1. I’m afraid that I have to like your books for the reasons that others complain. I like that you are plot heavy, your characters don’t say love all the time, and that you take chances in your books. The day you throw in a quickie in the middle of a life threatening emergency is the day that I’ll start complaining. 🙂 Keep up the good work.

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