Waiting for Reviews ~ a.k.a. Absolutely, Utterly, Unspeakably Fraught

I sometimes wonder why we get involved in this writing lark at all.  For there is not an instant of the process which is not fraught.

Yes, there’s the whole triumph of creation business.  Yes, yes, yes.  Of course, there is.

But for every triumphant moment, there are scores of less delightful instants of self-doubt, terror, conviction that whatever we’ve written it’s not good enough or doesn’t adequately convey one’s vision.

If one writes historical fiction as do I, there’s the added pressure of not just getting the facts right, but getting the attitudes and mores correct.  Does the dialogue communicate their way of thinking while at the same time speaking to a modern audience?  And there’s the geography–because that’s changed too.

And since I’m a stickler for language and the style of the prose, but also always hopelessly aiming too high, there’s the nagging fear which ever plagues me that it’s not up to John Donne’s standard.  (I know, I should get help…)

And all of this before one ever puts the thing under the gimlet eyes of agents, publishers and the press.  Which is bad.  Very bad.

Though nothing so nerve-wracking as the opinions (unexpressed is the very worst) of friends and family.

So, it’s a relief–and I mean that as a wipe your brow kind of relief with droplets of sweat flying off–to receive not one, but two favourable reviews from the press.  (Despite my statement about friends and family, these are especially useful because you know they’re not being nice to spare your already lacerated feelings…I mean, who wants to watch a grown-up cry?)

First off, there was this about Of Honest Fame from The Romantic Type  – http://bit.ly/f7yYKD

“This was such a great book! I’m a little biased when it comes to historical fiction because it’s my all-time favorite genre to read.  However, the characters are truly captivating and memorable and very historically accurate to the time period. I know some of you might find historical fiction boring to say the least, but Of Honest Fame is different. It’s one of those ‘can’t put down’ books that makes you wish that you were actually there.

“I love the fact that it had such a hold on me that I did a little bit of research on the time period.
What did I find?
That it was very accurate! I want you guys to do your own research so I didn’t want to give anything away :).
Final Thoughts:
Please M.M. Bennetts give us another!”

Then, to my shock and not a little pleasure, there was this about it, just out on Friday the 17th, from Sherri’s Jubilee – http://bit.ly/fy8866

“You will enjoy this historical novel set in London in 1812. Against the backdrop of Napoleon’s Russian campaign we are introduced to Foreign Secretary, Lord Castlereigh and his cast of spies, trying to out guess Napoleons minions.

“The author paints a vivid picture of our mind of the slums of Paris and London, the battle ravaged landscape of Europe and the brutality of espionage and counter espionage. The plot is fast moving enough to keep your interest and his descriptions of his characters, their feelings and motivation are well done.

“You feel their patriotism, humor, pride, vanity and rage at the injustices of their time, as well as their rage at the enemy. The author captures the extreme patience needed in the spy game in the person of his central character, “boy”, as he moves like a shadow through Paris, London and Vienna collecting information for the Foreign Secretary, and reuniting with his Maestro.

“The author raises our heartbeat, bringing us to an exciting and surprising climax while leaving the door open for his next period work. I look forward to Mr. Bennetts’ next work.”

So yes, in answer to your question, I am still wiping my brow with a combination of relief/thanksgiving.  Very much so.

And perhaps…just perhaps the old thing’s not so bad after all…


10 comments on “Waiting for Reviews ~ a.k.a. Absolutely, Utterly, Unspeakably Fraught

  1. John Booth says:

    But of course you would get positive reviews, it goes without saying.

    • M M Bennetts says:

      You may think that, but the amount of hand-wringing that has gone on here would more than demonstrate that I rarely think anything like that. But thank you. Thank you very much.

  2. yearzerowriters says:

    I just hope they have a look at what else Diiarts has to offer, and like what they see there too. All the best to you, MM, and your efforts!

  3. Wonderful reviews! And I know exactly what you mean about the hand-wringing. I’ve been engaging in a fair bit of it myself lately.

  4. Dear M.M.

    Congratulations! My copy of OHF has finally made it to Australian shores. I was first introduced to Boy et al a couple of years ago now (on a certain critiquing website) and I look forward to renewing the acquaintance.

    Reviews are a funny thing…I find it’s like handing your children over to be judged…it goes against the instinct to protect them. Then again there is no finer person than he/she who is kind to our children. I’m sure OHF will find friends everywhere.

    Good luck and congratulations once again.



  5. M M Bennetts says:

    Thank you all for the very kind thoughts and words of support. But of course, being a writer, I only believe half of what I hear…

    (Wring wring merrily on high, the hands of writers wringing…)

  6. Phillipa Fioretti says:

    “For there is not an instant of the process which is not fraught.’

    Well said, my dear M.

    By the way, what are all the white spots on your blog. Am I having visual problems?

    • M M Bennetts says:

      That is snow, so that you may see on my screen what I am seeing this very moment, out the window. Well, not quite. I have an apple tree just outside the window, the highest apples of which I could not get, so there are two very fat blackbirds, and one less ample coal tit, sitting on the upper branches, dining.

  7. Sandie says:

    It’s snowing on your web page! Aw… am jealous – haven’t got any snow on mine.

    Waiting for anything is a pain but waiting for some sort of verification… vindication… validity… I don’t know – but we are, as writers, a horrible mix of confidence and doubt and I guess we couldn’t write unless we were.

    S x

    • M M Bennetts says:

      I would have called it a lunatic “mix of confidence and doubt…” I try to take out my horridness on Napoleon and leave all the lovely people about me unsworn-at. Though I don’t know that I’m entirely successful. Ha ha.

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