Don’t Tell A Novelist to Rewrite Their Novel: It’s Their Dream Not Yours

By: Linda M. Crate

Linda M. Crate

Linda M. Crate

I am a writer. It is my passion, my love, and my favorite skill set so to speak. I have been writing since I was thirteen years old. I started with poetry. To date I have many poems and short stories published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. I also have a few reviews and articles scattered about in various places.

I have been writing novels since I was sixteen.

So you can’t imagine how pleased I was when Ravenswood Publishing published my novel Blood & Magic in March 2015. It was pretty exciting for me since I have always been the shy little wallflower with a dream ever since I was a kid. It put a stop to the naysayers that told me that I was never going to achieve my dreams.

Recently my novel Dragons & Magic was published (October 1st, 2015). It’s the second novel in my Magic Series in which there will be seven books total.

However, Monday I received an email that left me in a sea of paralyzing self-loathing and self-doubt. It was a review that my editor forwarded me from a review site where the reviewer claimed that my writing style wasn’t to their taste and was too flowery and that crippled the narrative rather than helped it and that I needed to rewrite the book, that the story may get better but they just couldn’t get that far; but I had an interesting story. Um, thanks?

Telling someone who has spent months, hours, and years working on her novels that she needs to rewrite the novel once it gets published is so narcissistic and entitled that I don’t know how I’m supposed to react. I’m a mixture of both crushed and very angry.

It is very fine and well not to like someone’s book, don’t get me wrong. I know my novels won’t be to everyone’s taste for taste is subjective. However, it is the first input my publisher and I are getting of my novel. You pretty much just spit in my face and told me that I suck and I should give up my dream.

Now I’m terrified of losing my contract and that the other five books I have planned for this series won’t see the light of day.

It’s not okay to tell someone to give up their dream or that they need to rewrite their novel. What it tells me is that this person has never had a dream of writing. I sincerely hope they don’t. Because for someone to stomp so heavily on my dreams is an indicator that they are not a very kind person.

My only regret is the review site didn’t give me the name of this person. I would love to know whose music, writing, or art I shouldn’t support in the future.

It is perfectly okay to tell someone that you don’t like their book or offer constructive criticism as long as it’s constructive. However, to tell someone to rewrite their book is extremely crass and rude in my humble opinion. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but words do matter and how you use them does matter.

As I keep writing these books, I have the hopes that my contract will remain. However, it’s hard for me to hold onto this hope and be happy when these negative thoughts keep swirling around in my head.

There are plenty of books I haven’t liked, but I never left reviews. You know why? Because I believe in people and I believe that people should follow their hearts and their dreams. I am just disheartened that someone would be so cruel as to spit in the face of mine.

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6 responses to “Don’t Tell A Novelist to Rewrite Their Novel: It’s Their Dream Not Yours

  1. This is such a thoughtful post and I loved reading it. I agree with everything you said that it is your dream. I have to congratulate you on being published by raven wood in the first place though! That is incredible. You have written an incredible post by the way and I have to tell you that I love your blog!

  2. Keep the dream alive. Keep on turning it into reality. Writing a book is a laudable achievement. Remember, the best authors have received hurtful reviews. I certainly have. Roll with the punches and keep on writing. If you got it published, it means that some people loved it, and saw its worth. Try to ignore the review. Not so easy, but it’s not worth getting pulled down by their lack of civility. All the best.

    • Eric, thank you for that. It really means a lot to me to know that you would take time out of your day to support me. I don’t intend on giving up on my dream and I hope my publisher will continue to believe in me, as well. Thank you very much!

  3. I wouldn’t let it get to you. You don’t write for others; you write because it pleases you. A publisher who believes in your writing will stand by you and your work regardless. One snotty review says nothing about your work. Decorative writing has a place too, and perhaps the reviewer meant your style was too decorative: some call that purple prose. If that’s the case you can consider it, or ignore it. Also, as you move further ahead and publish more bad reviews will come even if you are brilliant. D. H. Lawrence was tried for pornographic literature, and now we know how great he is. I hope your publisher stood by you. With all dreams, bullshit still accumulates, and the more success you have the more likely you will attract it. Write on!

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