The Best Negative Review…

 

Every author deals with them.

 

We pour our souls onto paper, and we wait for the world to react. We hope for the world to notice. We pray for a passing glance. We wait.

 

We begin to be encouraged as accolades come. We read positive reviews and examine high reader ratings, and we are thrilled. But then, it inevitably happens. We get that first negative review.

 

When I first saw the review, I was bummed. For a brief moment, I was downright sad.

 

It was a rather lengthy review, and the criticisms were heaped upon more criticisms.

 

The first criticism: my book is too “preachy.” There was the insinuation that the story contained too many life applications; too many realistic truths. The reader had wanted to be entertained without being challenged.

 

Then, the reader was annoyed by most of the characters. The characters don’t behave the way the reader wanted them to behave. The characters are a little too imperfect for the reader’s tastes.

 

The main character, Casey Evand, is too weak; too pathetic. The character struggles with victim mentality, and she doesn’t overcome her bondage as quickly or as dramatically as the reader would have preferred. Again, there was the insinuation that the character is too realistic.

 

On and on the criticisms went, and as I read, my smile broadened. For this negative feedback was among the most encouraging reviews I’ve ever received.

 

Within the lines of this rebuke, there were a few insights which I felt were helpful criticisms which I can keep in mind as I deal with the publishing of future installments, but the rest were–in the end–simply edifying. It does not seem that the reader’s intention was in any way to edify, and yet God used her words to encourage me–to remind me once again about why it is that I write.

 

My goal in writing this first installment in the series was to set the stage for the six-book saga; to deal with realities faced by many people–and many people of faith–in a truly realistic manner. There is drama, but it is cloaked in believable possibility. My writing is designed to convey truth through fiction.

 

And most wonderfully, the reader ended her critique with a rather surprising admission: she is looking forward to reading the next installment to see what happens! How cool is that?

 

I’m sure this first negative review will not be the last, just as I’m certain that not all of the negative comments to come will contain such thrilling complaints. But, for the first negative review to be such an apparently unintended encouragement is a pretty big blessing.

 

To God be the glory!

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Kelly L. Ward's books on Goodreads
The Crimson Purpose: The Calling of Casey Evand The Crimson Purpose: The Calling of Casey Evand
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