Joseph Giddings' Gear Shop

Time for a Shift…

I have reviewed a lot of stuff over the last couple of weeks.  A book review for print and several magazines (and half an anthology) for online publication.  I’ve read a lot of good stories and a lot of bad stories.  I find inspiration in a lot of them.  Elements that worked well.  Elements that didn’t.  As a reviewer, I have to critically look at these works and find the flaws as well as the shiny spots that make the entire story.  In the end, I find a lot of good material to inspire my own writing.

Having been misunderstood by many people out there who read my last blog entry, I feel it necessary to clear this up for those people that cannot seem to understand what I was getting at.

YOU CAN WRITE A REVIEW THAT SHOWS A BOOK/STORY IN A NEGATIVE LIGHT.

I know.  I’ve done it.  Read my reviews of Boneshaker, The Falling Machine, and several short stories that I’ve read over the last year.  No where did I ever say that you couldn’t write a bad review of a book or story.  But, a well written, BALANCED review cannot focus completely on the rust and dents.  You have to also let the person reading your review know that there are some good elements in there.  My point before, which had me called a dickwad on one place on the internet by someone that obviously missed it, was that you cannot write a serious review and have it completely decimate a work unless it has no redeeming qualities.  On the same coin, you cannot write a review that is just overly gushing over a book, either.  Both methods wind up with you, the reviewer, looking like a fanboy or an idiot.

Now, if there was nothing good about the story and you have to come out with guns blazing, telling the world that the writer is a hack and shouldn’t be published, do so.  Just use some tact and think about who will be reading it.  Your name is attached to it, after all.

Okay, I’m done with that.  I will reiterate something from my last post that sums up another point I am trying to make here, and the comment I mentioned above was a prime example of it…

“Because you never know who might actually be paying attention.”

Anyway…

Now that I have all those reviews behind me, and I’m on a short hiatus from Bull Spec (he almost has the next issue full, and there isn’t anything coming up that I want to read for review), I’m going to start writing more fiction.  You know, that stuff I really want to write.  I have a lot of story ideas, and someone forwarded me a link to an anthology of Steampunk Horror, and I have two stories to clean up to send to them.  One is called “The Eyes Have It,” which features a scene that was one of my favorite to write (a guy digging out his own eyes with a sharpened silver spoon), and the other needs a new title and a serious rewrite, but it’s currently called “Brass Spiders.”

So yeah, I’m shifting gears and moving back to the writing.  In a month or two I will also be starting an online workshop that I hope will also propel me forward.

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