Five Ways to Triumph Over Really Rotten Book Reviews

Criticism hurts. Especially public criticism. But let’s be frank here, shall we? Public criticism is part of the writer’s life. Bad reviews happen all the time, and learning how to survive the pain is part of the game.

Here are a few tips on how to deal constructively with every writer’s nightmare – critics who give us bad, bad, really bad reviews:

by Pamela Jane

You know the feeling—the shock, the shattering pain, the sick sensation in the pit of your stomach. A reviewer has just demolished your book and you feel stunned, attacked, and ashamed.

Make no mistake; you have just been very publicly humiliated.

“Newspapers last forever! I will regret this forever!” the famous movie star, Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) cries in Notting Hill when the paparazzi snap photos of her and William Thacker, half-dressed. Thacker (Hugh Grant) responds by asking her for a “normal amount of perspective.”

But those were newspapers. One can imagine them yellowing, burning or, as Thacker suggests, lining waste paper bins.

But the cloud really is forever; the cloud is eternal.

Recently, after a blistering review of his new novel, a friend sent me an email with the subject line “I’m going to Jump off a bridge.” I knew exactly how he felt. (I also knew he was not going to jump off a bridge.) But the incident brought back the pain of a bad review I received years ago, words that seared into me like fire.

t was my second children’s novel for Houghton Mifflin; my first book with them had sold well and received sterling reviews Now my new book was being destroyed by small, sharp stones hurled by a faceless librarian hiding in a cubby hole (I imagined). She described my main character, who I had imbued with my own heart and soul, as “extreme and poorly characterized.” As far as she was concerned, the book was better suited for – well, lining trash cans.

Over thirty books and dozens of published essays later, I have gained a normal amount of perspective regarding reviews, both good and bad. And, to think, it only took thirty-five years!

Below are five tough tips for surviving the hurt, anger, and humiliation generated by a rotten review.

And I promise it won’t take you thirty-five years to master them….

Read it all at Writers Digest


You Don’t Gotta Have Hart

Mark Evanier, one of TVWriter™s favorite creative forces, is the possessor of a talent this particular TVWriter™ minion wishes with all her heart she had: The ability to see through Hollywood B.S. and say so.

The most recent case in point:

Oscar and Kevin Hart, image via theringer

by Mark Evanier

Okay…so Kevin Hart is out as Oscar Host because he might offend people and Ricky Gervais is trying to place himself in the running. But of course, the whole point of picking Ricky Gervais would be to get more people to tune in because he would be offending people. I don’t think so and it all begs the question of just what the job requirements today are to host the Academy Awards. I’m not sure anyone is clear on this. I’m not sure there really are any.

Some of those involved in the selection probably aren’t interested in anything else besides “Who’d get the most people to tune in?” America’s interest in award shows has fizzled a lot in recent years, perhaps because there are way too friggin’ many of them. But maybe it’s also because your top movie stars are paid so, so much money (and it’s not a secret) that a lot of people really view the show as a lot of undeserving, easy-to-resent, overpaid people celebrating the awesomeness of each other. Which, of course, it is.

To some extent, the Oscars these days are like watching Jeff Bezos play Deal or No Deal. Even winning the top prize isn’t going to change his life one bit. We don’t have a lot of rooting interest these days for actors, even for our favorites. If your career has been such that you’re up for an Oscar, you’re probably to the point where you’re so rich and famous that it won’t make a bit of difference. I mean, you might get $20 million for your next film instead of $15 million but why should anyone who can’t afford health insurance care?

So maybe what the Oscars need is a host who can puncture all the pomposity and bring it back down closer to the real world. In that sense, maybe Ricky Gervais wouldn’t be a bad choice, just as Kevin Hart wasn’t a bad choice. But then the show won’t so much be about Who will win? but about about Who will Ricky insult? Hell, if all we want is controversy and puncturing, forget about Ricky and bring in Gilbert Gottfried.

Read it all at Mark Evanier’s outstanding blog

Ava DuVernay’s $100 Million Deal: What It Really Means

We live in interesting times. Here’s an example of a small thing – a creator’s new deal – being  a pivotal example of humongous change. (Yeah, we know a hundred million bucks isn’t exactly chump change, but deal-making is the most basic step in the biz. Know what we mean?)

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock (9665735kq)

Ava DuVernay $100 Million Deal: How the Studio ‘Megadeal’ Defies Netflix
by Michael Schneider

The TV arms race continued…with Warner Bros. TV Group announcing a multi-year deal, reportedly worth at least $100 million, with Ava DuVernay and her Forward Movement shingle. They will produce TV projects for every platform — including broadcast, cable, and streaming services — and it’s the latest in the ongoing battle for media supremacy in the OTT age.

Netflix is viewed as the master of this realm, snapping up superstar producers Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, but traditional studios aren’t taking it lying down; there’s too much at stake. Locking up talent, especially writer/producers known for their volume, becomes increasingly critical as the marketplace braces for a flood of new outlets. Streaming outfits Apple, Disney+, and WarnerMedia’s as-yet-unnamed service are all set to go online next year. Meanwhile, networks like HBO and FX have also announced plans to ramp up series orders.

“I think what it means for prolific creators like Shonda and Ryan, that those voices, with the amount of outlets that exist, are going to be able to get a huge premium,” Fox Entertainment president Michael Thorn told IndieWire earlier this year. “For the studios that want to make overall deals as part of their business it’s going to be really competitive. I think obviously the biggest creators are going to be able to command huge, huge deals whether they are at [a studio] or a streaming company.”

Now under AT&T ownership, Warner Bros. TV has shown a willingness to open its pocketbook. In June, it signed a new contract with Greg Berlanti — who currently produces more than a dozen scripted series for the studio — worth around $400 million. It also lured “Jessica Jones” executive producer Melissa Rosenberg away from the Netflix Marvel drama for an eight-figure pact to create and develop new projects….

Read it all at Indiewire

Why The More Successful Writers Fail The Most

Now this is a truly interesting – insightful even – article. Read this one closely, kids. It’s your futures that are on the line:

by Lucy V Hay

Successful Writers

Sometimes, we meet/discover a writer who is super successful.  We think they must have been super lucky, too. Right place, right time and all that. If only we were so lucky!

But what if I told you they’re super successful BECAUSE they failed … A LOT. Seems like an oxymoron, right? Except it isn’t. Many amazing writers are ‘successful failures’.

The above quote is from J K Rowling’s Harvard Commencement Speech, The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination. Being as successful as she is, it’s hard to think of her as a writer who failed. But she did and so have countless other success stories.

Failure Is Not Fatal

Maya Angelou is another amazing writer. She came up against huge obstacles in her life, yet she saw the value of failure. Every time life smacked her down, this courageous woman got right back up. Does failing the most equate with learning the most? Maybe.

I think the key to getting past failure is this … None of us know how long the thorny path is. It could take two years, five years or ten years to become successful. Even then, the thorns are still there … Except now they’re entwined with ‘success flowers’ and the path is a nicer walk!

The Value Of Mentors, Allies & Moral Support

You don’t HAVE to have a mentor, but there’s a reason they play such a big part in The Hero’s Journey. Mentors can be helpers and facilitators in writers’ journeys….

Read it all at Bang 2 Write

WATCHMEN is a Genre Classic in Film, Comics – and soon, TV…

…Even though Stan Lee didn’t write it. Or have anything whatsoever to do with it. That’s all on Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, and, amazingly, DC Comics.

Since our latest research (we took a quick jaunt through Google Analytics) shows that much of TVWriter™’s regular audience is made up of comic book and science fiction geeks fans who need no introduction to the Watchman film, graphic novel, comic book, and soon to be TV series world, we thought we’d introduce the rest of you to the concept.

After all, yesterday’s nerds are today’s cool kids, yeah?