Saturday, September 28, 2013

Making Lemonade

Like any other author on the face of the earth, I've had my share of disappointing reviews.  When I first started writing five years ago, I'll be honest--they hurt. Now five years later, I'm thick skinned and realize not everyone is going to like the story or the characters.  I try my best not to focus on those readers who one-star me.  Instead, I focus on the readers who enjoy my work. Nevertheless, when I wrote The Price of Love a wonderful thing happened.  I took the criticism from negative comments from the first two books and used them to craft book three.

The Legacy Series has had its share of complaints.  Here are some of them:
  • Suzette is a weak woman and irritating.
  • Robert Holland was so sweet in book one, but he's a selfish manipulator in book two.
  • How could any woman leave her newborn baby and just run off with another man?
  • Poor kind Philippe sure got the short-end of the stick in book two. 
  • I've never met so many irritating characters.
  • The ending sucked.  This is life and then you die.
  • What a depressing story.
Well, you get the drift.  So what did I do for The Price of Love?  I took all those criticisms and used them to plot book three.  With that in mind, here are some questions you might ask yourself in anticipation of the coming story:
  • Will Suzette mature and be a stronger woman?
  • Will Robert Holland feel any remorse for his past and how he stole another man's wife?
  • Will Suzette carry grief for 18 years over the loss of her baby?
  • Will Philippe ever recover, forgive, and find happiness?
  • Will Vicki develop any more irritating characters?  (Of course, I will!  You know me.)
  • Will this book have a happy ending or should I expect to throw it against the wall after the last page?
  • Will you write book four?  Surely, it can't end here!   
The points above are just a few short examples of the inspiration for The Price of Love.  I took the lemon comments and made lemonade, and frankly it turned out pretty sweet.  Actually, they were all valid points that helped me continue the story to redeem a lot of negative qualities in the characters. 

In closing, I should let you know that I do consider constructive criticism (emphasis on constructive). Though I've never felt the need to rewrite any of the first two books to make a minority happy, I intend to keep them as they are for the majority of readers who enjoy them. If I crafted the book the way each individual reader would like to have seen the story play out, I would have hundreds of versions.

It will be very interesting to read the reactions to the third book in The Legacy Series.  No doubt, you'll think the main character is too strong-willed, irritating, judgmental, and a stuck-up snob.  If you are smart, you'll pick up the innuendos in the story that will lead to number four in the series where she will learn more of life's lessons and pay her own price.  When people tell me that they don't like my characters, I often don't look at it as a failure.  If my characters move you to love or hate them, then in my mind I've done my work and they are alive enough to cause a reaction.

I also realize that some of you may have very high expectations for book three and could be disappointed in the story.  It was a difficult write, and I felt a lot of pressure and expectation penning it.  The end result is what it is, and I understand that it may not be what some people expected but may be likeable by others.  That is the territory that goes with being an author.  

Editing continues.  October 7th approaches.  If the world doesn't end before then, The Price of Love will soon be out.  In the meantime, I'm going to start dabbling in writing number four.

Hang in there,