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Thread: Authors should really stop telling readers how to give reviews

  1. #3876
    practical experience, FTW Pearl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardGarfinkle View Post
    I really wish schools would stop trying to teach mind reading in literature classes.
    Sometimes a story is just a story. :shrugs:

  2. #3877
    empty-nester! shadowwalker's Avatar
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    But this whole thing of judging the author by what they write as well as how they write it has been going on for - well, forever, really, hasn't it? Authors of "risque" books ages ago were considered deviants simply because they included certain words or scenes. And look how many authors do put their personal views very strongly into their characters' voices and actions, and make no bones about it. So I don't think one can fault the reader for making some assumptions about the author; it can be carried to absurdity, of course, but I think it's just another one of those things that authors need to accept. I imagine a lot of those assumptions could be countered via interviews and blogs, etc, but that doesn't mean all readers will see them - or believe them...
    Je suis Charlie

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  3. #3878
    Whatever I did, I didn't do it. Phaeal's Avatar
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    TOTALLY OFF TOPIC, BUT MAYBE NOT:

    When I went to the Zon to see Barclay's response, the Zon helpfully recommended two products to me because I'd lately viewed Beautiful Day and The Last Original Wife:

    Thumbbuster Anti-Thumbsucking Devices
    Cuticle cream

    Brilliant, Zon, brilliant. Or are there powerful thumbsucking and damaged cuticle subtexts in the viewed novels????
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  4. #3879
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowwalker View Post
    ... I think it's just another one of those things that authors need to accept.
    I think there is a difference between understanding the inevitability of something and accepting it.
    Emily Veinglory

  5. #3880
    Clever title pending. MarkEsq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    I think there is a difference between understanding the inevitability of something and accepting it.
    Agreed. I've been lucky in that, while I've had some bad reviews, none have been overly personal (though I got a one-star on Amazon that said, "I do not know where your records show that I purchased this book. I don't know the author and do not know the characters. They could be great but don't know them.")

    But I can see if someone was making personal remarks about me based on my characters, I'd be very annoyed.

    But. I would probably vent to my wife and here, not at the reviewer.

  6. #3881
    A Gentleman of a refined age... thothguard51's Avatar
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    Its getting to the point where venting here may not even be safe anymore as certain groups and people are using screenshots in their blogs, as proof that the AW are a bunch of bullies...

    Sighhhh
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  7. #3882
    On a small world west of wonder LindaJeanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DreamWeaver View Post
    Lots of people look for subtext. Some educational systems train students to look for it. Doesn't matter if it exists or not--they still look for it.
    Many, many years ago, I read something -- can't recall the context, but I think it had something to do with examples of dramatic career change decisions.

    This particular example -- I'm not sure what her position was, but it involved finding deep and meaningful subtext in literature. She loved it. She was very good at it.

    So good at it, in fact, that she started seeing deep and meaningful subtext in yellow-page listings and newspaper ads -- which caused her to question the validity of her current work, and to eventually change careers.
    "A story told, that can't be real / yet somehow must reflect the truth we feel..." -- Black Sabbath / Ronnie James Dio

  8. #3883
    Is this thing on? Axordil's Avatar
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    But there IS deep and meaningful subtext in yellow-page listings and newspaper ads...when you survey enough of them. It's not even a deconstructionist thing. Ask Google.
    Writing without reading is like juggling without catching.

  9. #3884
    What a desolation. Alexandra Little's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thothguard51 View Post
    Its getting to the point where venting here may not even be safe anymore as certain groups and people are using screenshots in their blogs, as proof that the AW are a bunch of bullies...

    Sighhhh
    They keep using that word. I don't think it means what they think it means.

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  10. #3885
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thothguard51 View Post
    Its getting to the point where venting here may not even be safe anymore as certain groups and people are using screenshots in their blogs, as proof that the AW are a bunch of bullies...

    Sighhhh
    If it is your post and you do not want it to elsewhere (off AW) even as a screen shot, you have copyright and can send them and their ISP/host a DMCA notice.

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  11. #3886
    impostor syndrome! lilyWhite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medievalist View Post
    If it is your post and you do not want it to elsewhere (off AW) even as a screen shot, you have copyright and can send them and their ISP/host a DMCA notice.
    I highly recommend this.

    If only to see what kind of fit they throw over such "harassment".
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  12. #3887
    Inappropriately math-oriented. slhuang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lilyWhite View Post
    I highly recommend this.

    If only to see what kind of fit they throw over such "harassment".
    I'm opposed to it. I think this type of counterattack should only be used under very, very extreme circumstances, and maybe not even then.

    It's a well-accepted practice online to take screenshots as primary documentation when criticizing someone else's words. It's often the only way to maintain the primary source once someone has deleted his/her statements. I've done it. A lot of websites I read do it.

    It horrifies me that it could become common practice for people then to turn around and throw DMCA notices at the people taking screenshots.

    I've thought about this before. I think such DMCA notices should never be encouraged. AFAIK (IANAL), criticizing someone's words comes under fair use. So screenshots for the purpose of criticism is defensible in court -- but that can't stop SLAPP lawsuits brought by people with money to throw around (or the subsequent chilling effects from such lawsuits).

    If people want to take screenshots of anything I've written and criticize it, I think that's their right. It doesn't mean I'll be happy about it, and if they manage to take it too far out of context (although with a screenshot that's hard), I think I'd have a defamation claim -- and I'd *much* rather pursue that than a DMCA takedown, because I think it's the more morally valid claim here. (Not to mention that I think the DMCA is a horrible, detestable piece of legislation that should DIAF, and I feel that I as a citizen want to do all I can to lessen its scope.)

    Just my two cents. Sorry for the derail.

    ETA: Apologies for the U.S.-centric viewpoint -- I'm sure this can be generalized to some non-USA-ian places if they have equivalent laws, but I'm only familiar with the U.S. versions.

  13. #3888
    empty-nester! shadowwalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medievalist View Post
    If it is your post and you do not want it to elsewhere (off AW) even as a screen shot, you have copyright and can send them and their ISP/host a DMCA notice.
    Couldn't that mean the deletion of a few posts here, as well? Particularly in this thread? (Can't remember now if actual screenshots were posted here or just links to them )
    Je suis Charlie

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  14. #3889
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowwalker View Post
    Couldn't that mean the deletion of a few posts here, as well? Particularly in this thread? (Can't remember now if actual screenshots were posted here or just links to them )
    We always comply with properly executed DMCA notices.

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  15. #3890
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slhuang View Post
    I'm opposed to it. I think this type of counterattack should only be used under very, very extreme circumstances, and maybe not even then.
    I'm not a fan of the DMCA, and I am a fan of safe harbors for legitimate uses.

    I am noticing sites using cropped screen shots to deliberately distort the context of the contents, and thus change the interpretation.

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  16. #3891
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    I'm curious what everyone thinks of this one. This is Scott Lynch responding to a critic. I'm not sure where the original source is; I just happened across this link on my fb feed.

    http://fuckyeahscifiwomenofcolour.tu...-critic-of-the

  17. #3892
    needed a good laugh today Anaquana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoBird View Post
    I'm curious what everyone thinks of this one. This is Scott Lynch responding to a critic. I'm not sure where the original source is; I just happened across this link on my fb feed.

    http://fuckyeahscifiwomenofcolour.tu...-critic-of-the

    Ahhh... that's an oldie! I remember reading that years ago on LiveJournal.

    *searches for the post in question*

    Yep, it was back in 2005.
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  18. #3893
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoBird View Post
    I'm curious what everyone thinks of this one. This is Scott Lynch responding to a critic. I'm not sure where the original source is; I just happened across this link on my fb feed.

    http://fuckyeahscifiwomenofcolour.tu...-critic-of-the
    What's interesting about this, is Lynch moves very quickly from the specific to the general.

    Wendig (Blessed be his Name) almost gets there, but then Doesn't Quite Make It.

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  19. #3894
    practical experience, FTW Invincibility's Avatar
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    A sexist email diatribe is a bit different from a review, I think.

  20. #3895
    Inappropriately math-oriented. slhuang's Avatar
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    Yes, as Invincibility said, I think this falls more under "hate mail." Which feels like an entirely different thing, to me. In that case, it's not a review for other readers, it's a diatribe specifically intended to be mean to the author.

    And even so:

    Quote Originally Posted by Medievalist View Post
    What's interesting about this, is Lynch moves very quickly from the specific to the general.

    Wendig (Blessed be his Name) almost gets there, but then Doesn't Quite Make It.
    Agreed. I personally found Lynch's takedowns here quite delightful, and I think for me, the difference in emotional reaction had a lot to do with how valid and useful I felt the criticism was (and conversely, how actively harmful in a societal sense the criticism was). Saying a book had a lot of obscenity and therefore one didn't enjoy it? Valid, and not terribly harmful. Saying that women and POC are getting their cooties all over fantasy? Not valid, in my book, and VERY harmful.

    In Wendig's case, if he had quoted the "what is it about token gay people line" only and gone off on it in a general way, I personally don't think I would have minded. YMMV, of course.

  21. #3896
    practical experience, FTW Dreity's Avatar
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    Yeah, I have a really hard time shaking my finger at Lynch in this case. The whole "But realism! Every pre-industrial man must be a racist, sexist piece of crap!" thing is bothering me more and more, and obviously he's angry about it too. I think it shows in the response too, that his anger is focused on a viewpoint and not a particular person.

    I've yet to read anything by him, even after several glowing recommendations by readers and authors I admire. (My TBR pile is pret-ty- tall right now.) After hearing about Drakasha though, I think I'm sold.

  22. #3897
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anaquana View Post
    Ahhh... that's an oldie! I remember reading that years ago on LiveJournal.

    *searches for the post in question*

    Yep, it was back in 2005.
    Really good find on the original source. Thank you.

    This being a response to an email as opposed to a response on a review changes my impression. That difference carries a lot of weight with me.

    I haven't read The Lies of Locke Lamora, but I've heard great things. I've had three friends recommend it to me in the last twenty-four hours; oddly, each recommendation came via different, unconnected channels. I'll have to pick up a copy the next time I'm out.
    Last edited by JoBird; 07-12-2013 at 02:04 PM.

  23. #3898
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    Reviews are not for the author. If you send the author an email (or post to his blog) saying "UR books suck!!!!" that's pretty explicitly for the author, and inviting a response.

  24. #3899
    They've been very bad, Mr Flibble Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    That takedown could only have been better if he'd mentioned all the real life female pirates who controlled crews and generally scared the crap out of law abiding citizens with their awesomeness.

    But I'm probably biased -- and that's the thing, for me. I know if he was getting frothy about something I disagreed with, obviously I'd think it was more of a mistake....




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  25. #3900
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl View Post
    Sometimes a story is just a story. :shrugs:
    Yes, it came whole from thin air, without any input from the author's conscious or subconscious mind....

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