November 29th, 2009


Rosemary and reviews for the end of November.

The reviews continue to crop up here and there (and if you haven't written a review on Goodreads or Amazon yet, please consider that as my Christmas present). We're about to hit December, and hence the tail-end of 2009, so here is a quick collection of the best of the last little stretch of time:

Over on Michelle's Book Blog, the eponymous Michelle says "I loved this book!" and "I have never been so blown away by a book's prologue as I was with Rosemary and Rue." I win! And you win at review, Michelle!

The Sacramento Book Review, meanwhile, says "Author Seanan McGuire bursts through the gates of fantastical romance with this incredible first novel." Also, "Rosemary and Rue is a fast paced ride through the streets, parks, and cliffs of San Francisco, lifting the covers to reveal that which lies unseen. An incredible mix of action, mystery, fairy, urban fantasy, and just a smidgen of romance artfully woven into a story impossible to put down." You'll excuse me while I dance.

Finally for today, Ravings of a Textual Deviant is doing thirty books in thirty days, and Rosemary and Rue was book number twenty-nine. The review says, helpfully, "Like the main character, the novel is continually striking a balance between the urban and the fantasy, and it's a good balancing act." Also, there's another Jim Butcher comparison (and since I'd love to have his readership, I'm okay with that.)

So that's it for today—whee!

Thoughts on Writing #38: It Isn't Good Just Because It's Bad.

Hello, and welcome to the thirty-seventh essay in my accidental series of essays on the art, craft, and process of writing. We're almost done; the series will eventually be fifty essays long, all of them based around my original set of fifty thoughts on writing. Because the list of thoughts was written in no particular order, the essays are addressing the various components of the writing life in no particular order, and will eventually cover just about everything. Spooky. Here's today's thought:

Thoughts on Writing #38: It Isn't Good Just Because It's Bad.

You may remember that the previous essay, number thirty-seven, was all about hype, and not believing everything that you hear. Now, I'm going to contradict myself a bit, because I said in that essay that there was no such thing as bad hype. Which I still hold that to be technically correct, I'm going to use the word "hype" to describe the flip-side of the "believing too much good press" problem, because it's easier. Today's thought expands to:

At the same time, don't sit around telling yourself how horrible you are, and don't let a few bad reviews shatter your sense of self. Look at the negative feedback as critically as you can, and if everyone is saying the same things, try to figure out whether that's something you can fix—and whether it's something you're willing to fix. I'm not going to stop writing horror just because there will always be people who hate horror. At the same time, if multiple horror reviewers are going "zombies, you're doin' it wrong," I should probably reassess. Don't buy the bad hype any more unreservedly than you buy the good.

It is human nature to believe the bad more than we believe the good. It is hammered into us, practically from birth, that listening to the bad makes us "responsive to criticism" and "realistic," while listening to the good makes us "vain" and "self-absorbed." So how do we find the balance between the two without losing our minds or sinking into the mire? Where is the line between buying our own press and becoming lost in the negativity? You're going to need to remember everything you know about balance and not believing everything you hear, and the sooner you start, the better. Let's take a good look at bad press, what purpose it serves, and how to keep yourself from falling under its sway. Ready? Good. Let's begin.

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