How to get honest feedback.

A close friend had a birthday recently. I gave her a print copy of one of my pen name novels. I didn’t mention that I wrote it. I thought she would either figure it out, or I’d just let her know when she told me later how much she loved it.

Well, she really did not love it. Didn’t even like it. She asked if it was one of those “DIY things”. She didn’ t like one of the main characters. She didn’t finish the book, she didn’t even get very far through it.

Huh. And I thought I’d written something that was compelling and engaging with strong characters. My first readers enjoyed it, but then, they knew it was written by me.

I have to remind myself that taste plays a big part in someone’s reading – despite being someone who reads some thrillers, my friend is probably not part of my target audience. I guess I might also need some training in the art of giving. Maybe next time I’ll just a get her a voucher.

Passing Storm

The host of low pressure systems that converged and threatened to plunge us into weather chaos has come to nothing. The forecast lacked optimism, but the day is filled with it. We were washed and dried, overnight; the city is beginning to sparkle with a crisp mid-summer glow and the air is clear and fresh. The sun flashed up first thing, announcing its arrival with fiery beams racing through the horizon’s clouds. Calm and quiet, though the wind is building.

Necrotic City

It is January. Again. The same as last year. The sun is throwing its crepuscular light down across the city that seems, as always at this time, like some weathered, necrotic cluster of empty buildings and streets. The populace has decamped to the beaches and campgrounds for a week or two, to immerse within this tiny sliver of summer, before returning to workplaces for the full brunt of summer’s onslaught at January’s end and, most likely, through most of February. The city seems so peaceful now. Once the university year begins, and work, for most, returns to that regular routine, I’ll be seeing the crazy antics of drivers and pedestrians, of kids with little to do, of the Friday and Saturday evening drunkards creating something akin to a pre-dawn zombie apocalypse as they traipse home along my street kicking in fences and hurling bottles. Right now, though, the calm and peace is welcome.

The heart of marking …

My posts here have dried up a little, but I’ll be back soon, ranting and reviewing and linking. Marking is one of the funest things I do, but it’s something I do in my free-time, so somethings fall by the wayside. Mostly no TV, no movies, little of my own creative writing and pretty much no blogging. Part of my goal this year was to blog at least four times a week, but with a couple of hiatuses, that’s perhaps been a little less.

Still, grading papers is cool and it’s a good way to engage with other writers in a different way to the blog. I’m around three quarters of the way through now, with a deadline of Friday next week, so after that I should be back and adding to the morass that is the world of blogging once more.