“You have 1 (one) new review in your inbox.”

Sounds scary, right?

Just as a brief detour from my literacy research and updates, I would like to talk about a first-time-author’s experience with reviews.

For Waterdown so far, it’s been a mixed bag, which is actually quite encouraging for a young writer’s debut. Personally, I find it fascinating to hear my readers’ opinions and find out that my novel has both over- and under-developed characters, is both too ambitious and too banal, and is also somehow unfeminist (though literally written by a high-aiming female teenager).

I absolutely love finding out that someone considered it a game-like narrative, or somebody thought that, despite its generally stereotypical Sci-Fi themes, Waterdown managed to include some original ideas and explorations of the future. I’m less of a fan when it comes to reviews that go something like “I couldn’t finish the first three chapters, 1 star”, notably without an explanation as to why. I’m likewise a little discouraged by the claims that the novel is essentially paraphrasing other books of this genre, adopting the same opinions regarding A.I. and other tech aspects of our potential future.

And yet all of these reviews create a net of my readers’ feedback surrounding Waterdown, and each and every bit of criticism or praise informs me as to an outsider’s perspective on my work. Good or bad, reviews are an integral part of a writer’s public presence and, personally, I feel inspired by the audience’s (your!) views which all show that real people have taken time and energy to read and evaluate my debut. In fact, reviews have reawakened my passion for writing (and blogging) once again, which translates into, admittedly ambitious, hopes of being able to update this blogging space more frequently.

Yet the one unfortunate downside of all reviews, is that my work is already out there. Anything that could have served as useful beta-reader feedback is instead food for “what if” and “potential edit” thoughts running around my mind. Unless I were to publish a second edition, any obsessing over tiny typos is futile. However, I’m absolutely on board with constructive criticism that can be used for my future work – be it in terms of grand plot outlining or minute prose word-choices. While my current efforts are focused on researching literacy, educating myself, and helping educate others along the way, I am looking forward to getting back to creative writing in the very near future and the lessons learnt from reviews will come in handy then.

As promised, my next philanthropy-themed blog will be dedicated to functional illiteracy.

I’m also starting a miscellaneous subsection of my various other Sci-Fi and creative exploits (‘Lit & Art’ coming soon!).

I look forward to sharing more of my Literature and Literacy thoughts & encourage you to submit your own opinions on Waterdown through my contact details!