I received an interesting comment (not a review, which I would’ve preferred, since it seemed to cover the whole story) on my recently completed five chapter story The Angel of Retribution. Since the comment was not totally flattering, I will refrain from revealing the user name associated with it.
I’ll save you the trouble of having to go look up the comment by quoting it: “Hmm (a half-smiling emoji added here) really bad writing great story though but I don’t really think u (yes, just the one vowel) are a writer but the story line was great but it was all over the place sorry.”
Three “buts,” no punctuation, admitted it was a great story and had a great story line, but the commenter obviously doesn’t like the art of digression. Maybe he/she (one can never tell which it is if you only have an avatar to go by) hasn’t read very much Swift, Sterne, or, for that matter, Prachett. I believe I’m basically a linear writer, but I do admit to periodic digressions.
Of course, I also tend not to use six, or greater, syllables because early in my writing education (yes, I took creative writing classes in college) I learned to use smaller words if they got the message across. Why confuse the reader by forcing them to have a dictionary handy? And, unlike Updike, et al, I don’t use foreign words. That’s just not my style, even if I do subscribe to “The New Yorker.” Speaking of which, does anybody know who decided to bring “outlier” into everyday spoken and written English? I remember when “fruition” came out of the closet back in the early 80’s, but now it seems to have gone dark, again.
Now, of course, we have to consider my response because, yes, I did respond: “Thank you for your comment. (Always! Thank a commenter no matter how much dirt they throw at you.) As for my writing, well, I prefer the quote from Cyril Connolly: ‘Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. (by the way, that’s on my signature here) And, now, that you believe I am not a writer, I’m positive you shan’t be commenting on any of my other stories.”
I don’t know about that last sentence now that I’ve had time to think about it. Do you think “shan’t” was a little too strong? Maybe, I should have used “probably won’t.”
Of course, we do have to consider that I suffer from Type I Bipolar Disorder and am heavily medicated, which sometimes interferes with my thinking and my tendency to digress. Maybe, my mental illness is interfering with my ability to write stories. Maybe, I should just hang up my pencil and paper and concentrate on learning how to play jazz guitar. (I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but I found a local jazz guitarist who is giving me lessons on the mystical use of that instrument. Of course, it’s not like my playing is going anywhere because about the time I get good at it, I’ll probably be on my deathbed.)
Then, again, maybe my commenter needs to do a poll on whether I belong on this site if I am “not a writer.” Then he/she can submit his/her findings to the Admins and have me summarily ejected from this site. Or, he/she can submit his/her findings to me and I’ll message the Admins to have me and all of my material erased from this site.
Or, I can just continue writing for myself and realize that my commenter is not among my public.
FYI: I’ve finished the first 5 chapters of my next story, “The Reluctant Father.” (Imagine a sixty-something gay widower suddenly having a thirteen-year-old gay boy (with serious mental issues) thrust into his home out in the burbs.)
Or, as the poet John Lydgate wrote: “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”
And, I think that just about covers the whole shebang.