Monday, September 14, 2015

The Writer's Constant Companion...Doubt.

I just found my very first one star review for Aphrodite's War. I wasn't hurt or angry. Not at first. I was godsmacked and shocked. The reviewer hated it. Loathed it. Would give it zero stars if she could. She made it twenty percent in before giving up on it.

She was rather vague, but I figured out a few reasons why she didn't like it. She didn't like the multiple POVs, I'm guessing, and didn't like my voice. I also guessing the sex scene between Ares and Strife turned her off. She also found a glaring mistake in the way I portrayed the relationship between Aphrodite and Hermes--definitely my fault.

The part that hurt was how she said it seemed like a bad knock off of a series she'd already read. She didn't say which author or series, so I've got no idea who she's talking about. It bothers me because I try to write original material, and HATE the idea that I may have copied someone else. I wouldn't have written the book if I'd known. Why would I regurgitate something that's already been done?

Now I'm working on a novella based in the time of the Funnelbeakers. I'm six chapters in, and I realize that despite my research, I know very little about them. I went to write about a feast, and discovered I don't know what they eat. I googled it, but I'm shaken with the idea that I might be wrong, and my novella will be filled with holes and inaccuracies. I tell myself I'm not writing a historical document, that my readers are more interested in the story, but shouldn't I be as authentic as possible?

I wasn't going to blog about this incident at all, but it's giving me Writer's Block. I'm afraid to write.

My friend Kathy pointed out that this is a rite of passage for a writer, and she's right. EVERYONE gets bad reviews, no one is that good that everyone loves them. My friend Delvina told me this one star is validating. One can't have only four and five star reviews all the time, because they look 'planted'. She's right. I think I'd be suspicious too if every single review I saw for a book ranted about how great it was. This blogger probably did me a little favor with her blunt honesty. Actually, I appreciate her honesty. Strangely glad she didn't fake anything, even if it stings.

So I'm venting here, on my blog. Now that I have it off my chest, I'm going to write that feast scene. I'm going to describe the fire-roasted deer, pig and mallard. I'm going to comment on the rich bowls of barley and carrot and the charred crabapples and hazelnuts. They're going to drink copious amounts of beer from clay bowls made by Agneta. I WILL keep writing. After all, this is just the first draft. I can always fix it later.


  1. That's the spirit! You're writing for your fans, not reviewers.

    When you're researching, try YouTube as well. You never know what you'll find there.

    Good luck with the new novel!

  2. Be proud of your talent, I envy it. You have provided hours of pleasure to many readers. Keep up your work and follow your dreams!

  3. Be proud of your talent, I envy it. You have provided hours of pleasure to many readers. Keep up your work and follow your dreams!

    1. You rock, Kevin. If there's anyone I write FOR, it's people like you <3 Thanks for having my back.

  4. Ms. Milward, I've recently discovered your blog and due to the creativeness I encountered, I immediately purchased both your novels. A dear friend recommended you and believes in your talent. After reading your work I couldn't agree more. Never let another interrupt your passion, and your passion for the art of story telling is immense. Be the woman you are destined to be and I look forward to your next price if literature to appear for your ever growing fan base. Thanks for sharing your creativity with those if us who dream of having a talent like yours. I am nominating your first book, Thoeba as a potential book for our reading circle. Thank you for your courage and perseverance. A Floridian fan

    1. Thanks Floridian fan!

      I appreciate the comment AND your readership. Give our dear friend a (((hug))) for me <3