Negative Reviews, Naysayers/Haters and My Musing About Them

So today, though my term paper is due tomorrow, I got lazy and browsed Goodreads. I searched for numerous critically acclaimed, bestselling books (no reasons). Mostly YA. First I searched for John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars”. And my initial misconception that everyone loves it was proven wrong.

Turns out, there were lots of negative reviews, though not as much as John Green’s other book, “Looking for Alaska” (my personal favorite). The naysayers mostly complained about how Hazel and Augustus were flat characters who had zero depth and mushy sappy melodramatic emotions. How there was no story behind how they fell in love. Then they nagged about how Hazel and Augustus had such absurd and weird monologues and thought and perceptions. Turns out, a lot of people hate metaphors too. They also whined about how John Green’s writings have deceptive clichés and stereotypes, like terminally ill but intellectually philosophical teenagers and manic pixie dream girls/guys (this latter part kinda scares me considering my FMC, female main character, is also one).

Then I moved to John Green’s other book, “Looking for Alaska”. His debut novel, the book is more complex and less emotional than “The Fault in Our Stars”. Less romance, less sweetness, less sappiness. But that’s what the naysayers of this boom dislike. They hated, hated, hated Alaska Young, the titular character (and I love, love, love her). For her moodiness, broodiness, selfishness, manipulativeness, suicidal tendencies and many more. She’s hot and smart and that’s how she got away, etc etc. And the reviews upset me.

But before I started this scavenger hunt of negative reviews about critically acclaimed, bestselling books, I did the same with Rainbow Rowell’s book, “Eleanor and Park”. This time, the naysayers complained how the book showed little historical contexts and consistencies. How the book, despite having an Asian character in the middle of an uber racist area, wasn’t bullied or attacked for his race at all.

And this got me wondering. What would they say if she did. If Rainbow Rowell wrote about racism and minorities of the American society. I’m pretty sure, like “The Help” and “I’ll Give You The Sun”, they’ll say how the author, being a white, straight woman, failed miserably to portray the true ugliness of racism.

It scared me. What if my book, which, according to these naysayers, have tons of clichés and unlikable stuff, will be ripped apart by these vulturous, famished zombies of naysayers? I don’t want my babies (Yes! My books to me are my babies) to be a victim of that!

Then I typed the words “Highest Rated Books on Goodreads” and went inside the first result.

The topper was J.K.Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”. It got 4.59 and I scrolled through the reviews. I was pretty impressed that it got almost no negative reviews. Then I found it.

The one negative review.

It whined about how Hermione was portrayed as dumbo here despite being a know-it-all all throughout the series. How Ron and Hermione could just make out while there was a war going on around them.

And then it hit me (I know, I know, clichéd phrase but still).

That no matter how good you write a book, or make anything artistic, even scientific, there’ll always be haters and naysayers. I mean, God is like the most perfect being there ever is and was and will be, everyone says. Even then He’ll have haters and nonbelievers. But that’s not diminishing the love and devotion majority of people have for Him.

Even some of my male classmates called Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” a lousy book, despite its “universally acknowledged” status as a “beloved classic”.

So at the end of the day, what majority says about a creation or invention matters.

With that, I say “farewell”, for the time being.

Mr Darcy and The Misconceptions About Introverts

Okay, I admit, I’m an introvert. Like other introverts, I hate going to parties, I wallflower if I ever attend one and I just love, love staying at home, by myself. And this often gives my family members and friends the misconception that I’m antisocial. That I’m a misanthropist like Heathcliff and Rochester.

I beg to disagree. I’m rather like Mr Darcy, the famous introvert who was mistaken as a proud, antisocial, conceited, supercilious man.

Okay, he was a bit proud and supercilious and he did admit it at the end to Elizabeth. But along with Elizabeth and except for Mrs Gardiner, everyone thought him so.

But he wasn’t. Not entirely for sure. According to Mrs Gardiner, he was rather an asocial man.

Now, there’s a difference between antisocial and asocial.

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In the above pic (collected from an awesome page in Facebook called “Introvert Problems”), the difference between antisocial and asocial is shown. And it’s 100% true. Like the last line, I’m also tired of being called as antisocial.

Mr Darcy was an asocial. He hated going to parties and even when he did go, he’d either wallflower himself or mingle with the ones he knew and/or came with. He even said so in the book, when both he and Elizabeth were visiting Lady Catherine de Burgh. His dialogue was,

“I am ill qualified to recommend myself to strangers.”

That’s how introverts are.

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That’s terrifying. Even for me. Whenever I go to a new, unknown place and don’t know what to do, I kick myself violently inside about asking strangers for help. Not because “stranger danger” but because, I don’t know, it’s just terrifying. Extroverts would be like, “What’s so terrifying about asking people for help? They won’t eat you up!”

That’s not why. Maybe it’s because we’re interacting with someone we dunno. And whenever we’re at a new place or with someone new, we get all nervous and frightened inside.

Another thing about introverts is this:

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If we are going to talk to someone we don’t know but must talk to, say in an interview or to a crush, we do this. We rehearse and rehearse about what we’re going to say to them. We feel pleased when it goes how we pictured it to be. We wanna kill ourselves when it doesn’t.

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Poor Mr Darcy!

This is how we introverts feel whenever something we plan doesn’t go that way.

And Darcy was misunderstood all the time. Everyone thought he was heartless when they heard Wickham’s false story about Darcy’s cruelty to him. They also went as far as to believe that he was jealous of Wickham, which he obviously was not.

Everyone also wondered how Darcy and Bingley were even best of friends. Bingley was this ray of sunshine while Darcy was gloomy twilight or new moon (Oops! Too much of the Twilight Saga, lol). But seriously, everyone in Meryton and Longbourn loathed him. And it was Elizabeth’s misconception that was first broken. First with his letter to her. Then the long account of how he was “the best employer ever” by his housekeeper.

Slowly everyone saw what a rough diamond he was. He only shunned those who were stupid and ridiculous like Mrs Bennett and Lydia and Mrs Bennett’s sister. He cordially invited Mr and Mrs Gardiner, though to better himself and to show Elizabeth how he wasn’t just a rich gentleman.

And I completely agree with what Mrs Gardiner first said about Mr Darcy.

“His behaviour to us has, in every respect, been as pleasing as when we were in Derbyshire. His understanding and opinions all please me; he wants nothing but a little more liveliness, and that, if he marry prudently, his wife may teach him.”

Which is what happened later.

So if you wanna understand an introvert, these are what we are:

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And if you wanna love an introvert, do these things:

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Hopefully that was understandable for all the extroverts and ambiverts out there.

Until then, tata!

P.S. I wanna acknowledge how tremendously the pics from above, collected from Facebook page, “Introvert Problems”, contributed to my post. Thank you, ☺☺☺

Writers and Their Characters: How The Two Groups Mirror Each Other

Since I started writing from 2013, I began to realize some things only writers can understand. One of those things was that writers often mirror themselves in their characters. I realized it right after reading famous YA writer, John Green’s debut novel, “Looking for Alaska”.

John Green, who majored in philosophy and religious studies in college, often have his characters and plots immersed in these two. In that novel, the MC, Miles, likes religious studies in his boarding school. And the main theme of the novel is heavily influenced by religion and philosophy.

Which I absolutely loved!

His second novel, An Abundance of Katherines (which I haven’t read yet and I could kick myself for it), is also philosophical and metaphorical. With a Muslim character and Islamic philosophy.

And this does not apply with John Green only. When I first read Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”, I loved it. It was love at first read, almost! Then I read Jane Austen’s biography and watched the film “Becoming Jane”. They showed me how much her life was like Elizabeth Bennett.

Both had:
01) bickering, nagging, annoying mothers, sympathetic and understanding fathers,
02) were best friends with their sisters and loved reading books,
03) fell in love with someone they didn’t like from “first impression” (And believe it or not, this was “Pride and Prejudice” originally),
04) both rejected suitors they didn’t love,
05) both believed that love is the main requirement in marriage and
06) last but not least, both weren’t soft-spoken naïveté.

Then comes Charlotte Bronte and her immortal character, Jane Eyre. According to me, Jane was one of the strongest female characters from Victorian era novels, like Elizabeth Bennett and unlike Hester Prynne and Tess Durbeyfield. Both Charlotte Bronte and Jane Eyre wanted passionate, spiritual love, hated religious hypocrites and bigots, were firm feminists, hated social barriers and conventions for women set at that time.

Another writer and character that come to my mind are Daniel Defoe and his famously flawed character, Robinson Crusoe. Like Defoe, Robinson loved adventure. I don’t know if they both loved money or if they both were colonialist. But they both loved adventures and weren’t satisfied with calm, steady life then middle-class people led.

So as you can see, writers are almost always reflect themselves on their characters. Just like poets, they express themselves, their opinions and views and ideas and desires through their characters. Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte never found true love in their lives. So they gave it to their characters. Daniel Defoe couldn’t travel as much as he desired. So he gave that opportunity to Robinson Crusoe. Defoe struggled financially throughout his life so he gave Crusoe financial solvency in the latter part of his life.

So it’s been proven. Characters in a novel someway mirror and express their creators. Though not entirely and though not always, but most of the time, and in most of the cases.

For now, this is all. Au revoir!

PitchWars and The Pain of Pitching

So this year, I’ll be participating in PitchWars, established by brilliantly benevolent, Brenda Drake. It’s been going on for quite a few years, earning rave reviews and attention from both unagented, unpublished writers like me as well as agents. 

The reason I so desperately want to get selected by a mentor is that this way, I’ll get to have my manuscript read, critiqued and polished by a more experienced, agented and published author. Not being from North America, Australia or Europe, I’m at a huge disadvantage here to get an American agent notice and approach me for representation. 

But in PitchWars, I must write a pitch for my almost 72k novel into a paragraph of 250 words. 

Soooooooooo tough!!

But I gotta do it. And compared to the agent round, where I gotta write a 50 word pitch, this is a piece of cake. 

Seriously though. They say that pitches must have the MCs, the convicts, and the stakes. And though it’s easy for others to write up a pitch which includes all that, it isn’t for me. 

My novel has two equally important plots parallel to each other.

01) Ned and Summer’s love story.

02) Ned and Summer’s family troubles.

And sometimes I also think that my novels doesn’t have ebough oomph and stakes. 

Last month I finished penning the first draft. I’ve totally given myself this month to cool off the manuscript and distance myself away from it, to start afresh with its editing and revising. Next month, right after my finals end, I’ll revise and edit it, then submit it to the beta readers. When they’ll be done tearing it apart and rubbing it to semi perfection, I’ll edit and revise it again and again. Until the submission period on August 3rd comes.

Hopefully everything will go as plan.

Fingers crossed!

But for now, ciao! 

Romantics: The First Hippies of the World

Okay, so it’s been almost a month since I last wrote here. But only because 1) I didn’t have any interesting topic to talk about, and 2) this isn’t like other blogs where people just talk about random, stupid stuff. In my very first post I stated that this blog will be all about the books I read, my WIPs and other stiff related to writing and reading.

Today, I’ll talk about the Romantic period, its poets and how, according to me, they were the first Hippies of the world.

Let’s begin!

So today I was reading about the theme in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”. The poem has a lot of supernatural stuff in it, like Death and Life-in-Death gambling over some mariners’ lives and the albatross and all that. Coleridge was famous for writing supernatural stuff. But my poetry teacher also told the class on first day, that the Romantics (the poets who participated in the Romantic movement) were all about nature and against monarchy.

Well, they showed their point of views in their poems but very, very sneakily. I mean, just after the French revolution, the British monarchs got scared to get their heads beheaded like that and get overthrown. So they just decreed lots of rules and most were totally tyrannical and absurd. Like not more than five people could gather around and talk.

So the Romantics, they expressed their point of views via their poems. But (there’s always a “but”) they hid those revolutionary stuff underneath flowers and petal and nature and foliage.

The monarchs were so dumb that they didn’t catch those comparisons and connotations. So the Romantics, they got away. Smooth! Right?

But that doesn’t mean they just used nature as camouflage to cover their point of views. They actually were lovers of nature.

Wordsworth, who led the movement, with his best friend, Coleridge, another Romantic and lake poet, was all about nature. During researching about his and Coleridge’s lives, I found out that they lived in the Lake District.

And when I saw pics of the place, I just went, “WOW!!!!!”

The place was amazing! The lakes and the meadows and the mountains and the trees. I mean I totally get why they spent almost their entire life there.

I also learnt that Wordsworth, with his sister, Dorothy Wordsworth and best friend, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, went on numerous walking tours across the place. And on these tours they found inspiration. Like Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud” and “The Solitary Reaper” and Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”.

So the Romantics were (well, most of them, except for Byron and Blake) worshippers of nature. Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats and Shelley; they all almost always used it.

But the beauty of nature wasn’t the only thing, other than revolutionary stuff, that was prominent in their poems. They also cared about nature. They hated industrialization and were against it. In fact, it was them who predicted how polluting and destroying nature would one day, come to bite us in the ass.

Just like the Hippies!

Everyone says that the Beatniks were the predecessors of the Hippies. Well I beg to differ. It was those Romantics. They were the very first Hippies of the world. Like the Hippies, they were against industrialization, urbanization, tyrannical rulers and fighting. I firmly believe that if the Romantics were born in the 20th century or better yet, in the ’60s or ’70s, they’d have been Hippies. Or at least supported their cause. They may have not liked the drugs and the free love thingy but they would’ve been all about “Flower Power” and “Make Love, Not War”.

My FMC (which means “Female main character”, in case you don’t know), Summer Winter, is a Hippie too. But she’s more like the Beatniks, the Hippies and the Romantics combined. She dressed like the Hippies, supported “Save the Nature” movement, but like the Beatniks, she was a literature nerd, talked sagely like them and like the Romantics, didn’t exactly support Free Love but would smoke pots. I mean, one of the characteristics of the 1970s was that almost all teenagers smoked pot.

I should draw a conclusion now. I’m writing like a maniac.

So take care, dear readers, and have a nice day!