One-Stars for the New Year

Hi folks! I received my first two single star reviews in rapid succession. You might think I would be upset about it, but I’m not. As with most Renewal downsides, I’m surprised that it took this long.  Along with all the other feedback, this just goes into the massive learning experience that comprises the process of discovering how to write.

The first reviewer, on Renewal 1, seems most annoyed by the gentleness of my apocalypse and the lack of character struggle. Of course, most of the internal (and external) struggle happens later in the story, and this particular reviewer has only read the first two parts. As for the cooperation of my characters and relative ease of the apocalypse, well, that’s one of the essential things that I’m saying. If we work together, we can get by. If not, we’ve got a mess. I’m sure we can all look around and see very concrete examples of how that idea plays out in our world. It was a deliberate choice I made, and I’m grateful that so many of you want to believe in the power of good people working together.

The second reviewer says that the writing is good, but the serial nature of the story is choppy, which seems to warrant a single star. Okay. I reserve single star reviews for stories that make me downright angry that I wasted my time reading them, but then for me, that’s incredibly rare. Maybe I’m too nice. In any case, this particular gripe is a moot point since I’ve long since decided that the serial release method is more trouble than it’s worth.

As always, I appreciate all the feedback. Everything you tell me goes into my consideration of how I should proceed, and whether it comes with one star or five, it helps me become the writer I want to be. Thank you One-Star Reviewers, and Happy New Year.

10 thoughts on “One-Stars for the New Year”

  1. No matter what peoples,I still love your work,I’m getting expressing ,on what I want to say,I still find, it doesn’t come out right,bottom line,I like your writing the best!!!!!,I’d tell you every day but I don’t want to be a pest,and you if ever your books ,become in paperback,id be the first to buy them,

  2. “the gentleness of my apocalypse and the lack of character struggle” Are you kidding me? They were well prepared mentally and made a series of correct choices. As for”writing is good, but the serial nature of the story is choppy, which seems to warrant a single star.” What the heck do they mean by “choppy”? The pieces fit together seamlessly.

    Keep doing what you are doing! As I’ve said before, you write them and I’ll read them.


  3. I have rarely ever given 1 start reviews myself. Some people are just a pain in the neck. I love your books and have a growing circle of people here in AZ who feel the same as I do. Keep up the good work.

  4. Thanks for the support and encouragement, you guys. I appreciate it. I really wasn’t worried about it. I haven’t seen a book yet that didn’t have a few one-stars. The real fascination for me is in the range of responses. Some people’s bargain is another’s ripoff, etc. Since you like my work, I’m happy to report that I have been deliberately *not* trying to learn too much about writing, in the textbook sense. I don’t want to change the voice or style of the Renewal story on you. After I release Promise, though, I intend to dive into some learning. I’ve had a collection of how-to-write books sitting on my shelf for years. Most of it, what little I actually read, was meaningless without the experience of actually writing for effect. After 2011, I think I could actually get through a book on punctuation and have it mean something.

    In the meantime, I am paying very close attention to learning from the perspective of my own writing, and I think it’s paying off. I’ll let you be the ultimate judges. Thanks again for being there.

    • One-starred reviews are good because we learn from our mistakes, right? The story itself is definitely 5 stars; the way it’s told (present and past) is definitely 5 stars. The punctuation (or lack therof, at times) and missing words here and there is 3.5 stars (consider having several proof readers in the future), but the story was so gripping (gentleness? lack of character struggle? … really???) that I didn’t mind the few extra commas, the handful of missing commas and words, and the wrong word (their vs there, etc.) that jumped out now and then.

      I really, really, really look forward to the sequals.

  5. I didn’t think it was choppy at all and liked the sequels – I read them one after the other because I didn’t start reading them until all 10 were out. I read for enjoyment and a book gets 5 stars if I read it until 3 AM because I can’t stop. I liked your characters and they were developed well. The style reminded me of Stephen King without all the weird supernatural stuff. I especially liked the end when we started meeting the characters in present time that were spoken about in the past. Then the two timelines met up and resolved the story. I do want more, however, as I fell in love with the characters. Maybe even some characters from the past could show up again somehow. Anyway, good luck and I’m looking forward to more.

  6. Jim, I downloaded all 10 of your chapters of Revival and am just starting on #8. I think that your work is well done and very intertaining. And that is after all what fiction is all about. I enjoy survival type fiction and yours hits the spot. You could use a little more in the way of editing but all in all I like the content. I must say that you and I are on the same page as for as self relience goes and less outside intervention in our lives. I think if we all HAD TO DO more for ourselves we would be much better prepaired for what ever life has in store for us. Thanks for your work. I am enjoying it alot. Terry

  7. Thank you for reading my story. I appreciate the kind words, Terry. It has been almost exactly a year since I sat down to write the first part of Renewal. I had no idea what I was doing at the time. I just couldn’t wait any longer to start saying something about what I see in the world. You are absolutely right about the editing, and I have put an enormous amount of time (and others’ time) into writing better and cleaner prose. I still wake up every day and marvel at the fact that I am writing and people are reading what I write. I am grateful.


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