Snarkling Clean

Snarkling Clean- because you don't have to cuss to make fun of stuff. Two dedicated readers discuss romance novels- from what made us weep with joy to what made us want to poke pencils through our eyeballs.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Flame On!

This post over at Romancing the Blog (the link may not be working- the post is entitled Authors Behaving Badly) got me wondering if I should even wander into the fray. I haven't really watched the 'flame wars' intently but I have seen a few blog posts and the 1,686 comments each one seems to produce. Mostly, I've been glad that our little blog is sufficiently unimportant to have garnered any notice-we've flown in under the radar, so to speak.

As I think about the issue of reviewing books, both contents and covers, there are two sides to this. As an aspiring author, I know that I would want a gentle, if not always positive, review of my book. Of course I would. I'm human. But realistically I know that I will have a few readers that think it's an okay read; a few who think it's a keeper; a few who will think it is AWESOME and i am just FABULOUS and e-mail me back PLEEZE and just SQUEEEEE! over it. Some will think meh, it's not great but better than nothing, and a few will throw it against the wall and go on Amazon's reviews or their own blogs and write a brilliant piece of flaming snark; others will go the 'somebody actually got paid to write this drivel? My dog could barf on the keyboard and do better' route.

And you know what? That will hurt. Again, I'm human. But the great leveler of an artistic ego is praise and criticism. The trash reviews can, in a lot of cases, be lumped with the squeeing fangirls. I'm not that bad, but chances are I'm not that great, either. And as a writer, I need to understand one thing: reviews are not written for me. If I want a critique, I should pay for one from a writer who knows what she's about. A reader's review is an emotional reaction to what he or she has just read. It can give me insight if I want to look deep enough, even if the review doesn't give me a play-by-play of what did and didn't work. Besides, readers views of stories can be very subjective; sometimes all the right elements are there but it just doesn't do it for them. You can't explain that. It just happens.

As a reader, that's what my reviews are. My emotional reactions to what I've just read. And I share them with you not as a literary pundit dispensing wisdom from on high, but as a girlfriend across the kitchen table over coffee. If there's a well written character or a hero I fell in love with, I'll tell you. If something made me tear my hair out by its graying roots, I'll tell you that, too. And even though I know some poor person spent a lot of time on cover art, if I think it's hideous I'm still going to snark about it. If he wants an artistic review of his work, he can go ask an art critic. What do I know? I don't get Picasso, either.

So, to snark or not to snark? Someone once said that to successfully lampoon a work, be it book or movie or painting, one's love of the genre had to come through as well. The affection counterbalances the sarcasm. It's why Mike Meyers could shoot down the Swingin' London Sixties in the Austin Powers series. Or Mel Brooks' parodies of Westerns and B monster movies. It's why I think Smart Bi***es and Miss Snark and Mrs. Giggles and so many others work so well. We can appreciate the ridiculous and the sublime, and laugh at our addictions. As one said in a comment on this blog, "They're all horrible. Disnae matter, I love them anyway." So do I, girlfriend. So do I.


Anonymous Sharon said...

Hey, you snarked me and I didn't A. take a hit out on you B. Sob hysterically and say what a mean, hurtful bitch you are C. scour the internet for made to order voodoo dolls in your likeness D. Make an appointment with a shrink because I was having suicidal tendencies or E. swear never to write again because my fragile ego couldn't take the sarcasm.


But I DID A. enjoy the review B. laugh and appreciate the sarcastic humor (a mirror of my own lol and C. appreciate the mention not to mention the time it took you to write the review.

I'm sure there were at least 42 other things you could have been doing with your time ;)

7:31 PM  
Blogger Robyn said...

Sharon, you're my kind of woman. I wish you many headless Highlander hottie covers to lick.

8:00 PM  
Blogger Bernita said...

I love this blog.

7:43 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I agree with Sharon.

I don't care what you do, whether it be a writer, a photographer, a pawnbroker, whatever. If you have your own "business," good press is good press and bad press is good press. It's the best way to get your name out there.

So, keep it up woman!

11:14 AM  
Blogger Missie said...

We Shall OverSnaaark,
We Shall OverSna-ah-ah-rk,

Oops. Sorry.
Wrong words to the song....

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

I think it's easier to post reviews when you're not a writer. It's almost dangerous if you are, because people might seek revenge (authors behaving badly). Still, the truth is a good thing!

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Jenny said...

If I ever finally publish the book I've been working on my whole life I think I'll have to shut down the internet entirely. I so can't handle criticism and all the snarky things I've written are bound to come back and haunt me eventually.

5:49 AM  
Blogger Missie said...

I think you can write a review that is truthful but not snarky. I also think that if authors are putting their work out there, they need to realize that not everyone is going to like what they've written. It goes both ways.

No one should be mean, but we know it's going to happen. If I ever finish my ms and get published, which as it's going now, should be by the time Alison gives me my 84th grandchild, then I will want to personally go bonk anyone in the head who doesn't think that I am the most brilliant thinker since Aristotle.

But is everyone going to like it? No. Is everyone in my family or immediate circle of friends going to like it? No. Will I cry? Most definitely. But will I enjoy knowing my work is out there, that I finally finished it, and that I get to go cash my check and buy some I'MAPUBLISHEDAUTHOR hot shoes? Um, yeah. Ohhhh, yeah.

But sometimes? There is just no excuse for bad cover art...and we've got some doozies for you guys coming up. And yes, Robyn McNaggyNag, I am getting those back to you soon. Sheesh.

7:21 AM  
Blogger Robyn said...

Did I say anything?? It isn't my fault if you're starting to get nudged by your conscience. :P

9:34 AM  
Blogger December Quinn said...

I dared to suggest over there that I see the readers as my bosses, because you wouldn't call your boss names if he didn't like your work. Apparently that analogy was just wrong, wrong, wrong, and bad, because I got shot down big time over it.

It was just an analogy, guys. It was just the way I see things. Just because you would never see the readers as your bosses because you write for yourself and the readers have nothing to do with it except hopefully enjoying the finished product, doesn't mean I have to think of it in the same careful mustn't-imply-I-am_responsible-to-anyone way. Grrr.

3:08 AM  
Blogger Robyn said...

If it's worth anything, December, I got what you were trying to say. After all, if the readers didn't matter and I was writing for myself, why would I try to published at all?

6:59 AM  
Blogger Missie said...

I agree. Readers are your bosses, in that, if no one reads you, no one will ever publish you, and you don't get no paycheck. Which doesn't mean you wouldn't be an AUTHOR, it would just mean you wouldn't be a published author, just one who writes for her own enjoyment and is independently wealthy, thereby not caring a whit that she never gets paid. Any of that make sense? I thought people went off on you without cause, December, and I was yelling at the screen for you. Did you hear me?

9:42 AM  
Blogger December Quinn said...

Aw, thanks guys! You know, Missie, I did think I heard some sweet little voice being supportive, but I assumed I was just going insane. :-)

Exactly, Robyn. How lovely to be away for the weekend and come back to this!

1:49 PM  
Blogger LotionBarBunny said...


You have been tagged for BlogHer's BlogMe today. :)

7:58 AM  

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