The recent GoodReads drama has brought on a whole slew of discussion about the state of the YA community and the bloggers and the authors.  The debate over how reviewers should review books is not new but has been given a fresh make over and pushed onto the stage like a reluctant débutante, shaking in her six inch heels.

It was mostly revitalized by Stiefvater and has been picked up and debated over by others and other others.

Of course, the commentators come out to ask why we can’t all review nicely and why we use snark and why can’t we all just get along?  Albeit with slightly less personality and absolutely no originality or differences in how we express ourselves.

I’m going to pretend for a moment that the arguments are sane and reasonable.  Logically, if authors and other bloggers can legitimately make requests for the style and function of our reviews – then I think we should be able to do the same.

And so here is my personal take on what an author is, and can do with their novels:

The only legitimate way to write your novels is in the style of a love child between Melina Marchetta and Neal Shusterman.  That’s drunk.  Also, with a gambling problem and it’s writing only to make money so that the mob won’t kill them and their entire family.  Imagine exactly what that child would be like, and write the novels that this child would write.  Except you can’t use vowels.  Not even the letter “y” if it’s functioning as a vowel.  Maybe not even commas either.  Commas are completely unprofessional.  I think their curly little tail is taunting me aggressively.

The only exception to the aforementioned and completely valid writing style above is if you’re writing in the style of Laini Taylor or Markus Zusak.  Those are also valid writing styles that you can adopt.  I will also allow you to deviate from the Laini Taylor style but only if you’re writing in the style of Laini Taylor if she were born in Elizabethan times and hanging out with Shakespeare (but not friends.  If they’re friends then you’ve gone too far).

And theoretically, if reviews by definition must lack opinion and emotion then they should probably reflect the product that they are commentating on.  Therefor none of you should ever write with emotions and none of your characters should have a personal opinion about anything.  The storylines and themes should absolutely not resonate on a personal level with your audience.  This will help us reviewers a lot since then we won’t need to include an emotional response to your book in our review.

I also think your novel is not a valid novel and is only a very long expressive post if any of your characters use the word “irrevocably” or deviate from the above standards at all.

This is a completely valid, well-thought out opinion and I hope that all authors will respect it.  I will now only be reading your work if you do all of the above to standards that I deem acceptable.  It is then perfectly understandable and reasonable that, should you fail to perform to the above expectations, that I will no longer consider you authors but instead refer to you as expressive post writers.

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy
@appifanie oh excitement! What are you writing? @czketchem - 15 mins ago
Kat Kennedy


22 Responses to “Authors: Please write like this”

  1. All right! I totally already write like that! Especially the drunk part! Woo-hooooo! I'm in the clear!

  2. -k

    BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!It's about time that someone expressed just how ridiculous this whole drama is and respond in kind.Great post!

  3. This is rock solid gold. My favourite post EVER."Commas are completely unprofessional. I think their curly little tail is taunting me aggressively."Laughing. Out. Loud.

  4. I cannot wait to read those books.

  5. *applauds*I think I should print this post. It's just too good to be true.(But.. Another author recently said that it was standard to have a Google Alert set up for your books and that he'd sue the reviewer in question. I don't know.. Compared to THAT everything else seems so hilariously decent. ; ) )

  6. This is excellent! Especially how if the books do not make readers have an emotional response, it would be really easy to write an objective review :D Great blogpost!

  7. If an author has one semi colon in their book, it gets panned! And more than one "I" in a first person point of view novel gets a DNF.

  8. *sigh* But when I'm drunk, I ONLY use commas and vowels. Waaahhhh!!!

  9. Seriously though, this: "And theoretically, if reviews by definition must lack opinion and emotion then they should probably reflect the product that they are commentating on. Therefor none of you should ever write with emotions and none of your characters should have a personal opinion about anything. The storylines and themes should absolutely not resonate on a personal level with your audience. This will help us reviewers a lot since then we won't need to include an emotional response to your book in our review. "IS SO FUCKING AWESOME I HAD TO SWEAR AND USE CAPS TO SHOW HOW STRONGLY I AGREE.I mean, DUH. Why can't some authors seem to GET that??

  10. I have purposefully stayed out of the drama (not that I've been asked to participate) but I love this post and if I WAS part of it, would repost this everywhere immediately. Bravo!

  11. Awesome post! All of these posts written by authors and bloggers alike about *how* a review should be written has been rubbing me the wrong way. It's like, if I don't want to be that objective, then I shouldn't write it. Or, if I want to add snark, I shouldn't write it. If I have a problem with an idea an author writes about, I shouldn't write about it. I mean, everybody seems to be promoting a kind of censorship by saying having discussions about X, Y, and Z is unacceptable and you're not a blogger that should be taken seriously if you do those things.

  12. Anonymous

    Reviewers critique authors' books, so should authors not have the right to critique reviewers' reviews? Just a question.

  13. Really? Anon? It's not like anyone here would kill you for offering your opinion. I agree to some extends. As soon as you make something available for everyone, you have to expect critique, yes. But we don't get any money for writing posts about books (and if anyone here does, email me instantly!) We are "cheap", our reviews are for free. It's not a product in the sense that book is. I think there is a huge difference here.(Then again, someone DID recently review me. *evil laugh*)

  14. Anonymous

    I've seen many authors give away their books for free. In fact, I was just at a book signing where the author was giving away her book. So does that make it different?I agree with you. If people put something out there for everyone to read, they should expect critique, reviewers and authors.

  15. – I'll say we, when I'm talking about myself, so.. erm, sorry! Generalizing, yay! –In my opinion it makes a difference, for some very obvious reasons. One of them: It's still their job, it's still a product. And we don't review for the author, but for other readers. Why are we reviewed by the author? And for whom? For other authors? For readers? Me iz confused.I think, in a way, it is understandable that they want us to be polite about books, but here's the thing: We don't say "Write differently!" we say: "We don't like how you wrote book A, because (..)." And I've seldomly came across a review that said something like "Because of (a) this book is actually not a book, but.." We don't try to educate or raise them: Telling your child that even if they didn't like the food, they could say it politely is okay, because it's your job to raise them. Is it the author's job to raise, i.e. Stephanie, who is a nasty cow according to you-know-whom?Yes, reviews can be rude. Mine certainly are, and if an author wrote that I was a bitch, I'd probably agree.I also have to admit that I think some reviews are really.. well. Unreadable. They insult the family, readers, and pets of the author. They don't give anything – They don't encourage me to talk about books at all, often even insult me as a reader, for not feeling as disgusted about.. hm, massmurder as they did.But it's the authors job. Staying true to my children-example: If you cooked a soup and it's the most delicious one you've ever had, and then someone said it was the most digusting thing they've ever tasted.. How would you react? I would just shrug it of because tastes differ and I personally loved it. As an author it's your job though and reviews might disencourage other readers to buy your books – not just the one that's been reviewed, which might have been a freebie – but any of them.As a reviewer I know that often enough I won't be able to express what I thought. I'm actually reviewing in English to learn the language (btw: Sorry for all the mistakes!) and if people offer their opinion I will accept that.I've been told that I am a bitter shit, that I have no love life, that I'm a fantasy-freak/nerd, too dumb to appreciate higher literature, too ugly to blahblah. And most of that came from an author. – That is personal. (He did insult at least 50 readers, though, so I'm not alone..)I have also been told that I used if-clauses wrong. – That was nice.And I have been told that someone didn't like the way I reviewed at all, neither in English nor in German. – That is okay. Because I loved the review and I would have babies with it. And I don't want people to read my reviews if they don't like them at all. (Whether they agree with me or not.)I wouldn't want to be an author. I tried to see their point of view here and thought it was highly amusing, but if it was a book? I'm not talented and have low self-esteem, I won't be a professional writer. Ever.Oops, long post. In short: There's a difference.

  16. There is a difference, Anon, between criticizing, and telling people what to write and how to write it and then demeaning them when they don't do what you want.My reviews are criticized all the time without complaint from me. No matter how much some people want to disrespect them, they're still reviews though and to suggest otherwise is offensive.

  17. There is a difference, Anon, between criticizing, and telling people what to write and how to write it and then demeaning them when they don't do what you want.My reviews are criticized all the time without complaint from me. No matter how much some people want to disrespect them, they're still reviews though and to suggest otherwise is offensive.

  18. Anon:You do make a valid point. As someone who has made money from selling books, the difference to ME is, I don't feel the need to critique reviewers. That's not my job, that's the job of the people who read the reviews, just like book bloggers read and review books.I've been on the receiving end of some stinging reviews, but I came to peace long ago with the idea that I have to separate my soul from writing. If I connect the two, when someone critiques a book, it's like they are critiquing me. A LOT of authors get caught up in that and really, they are the last people who should be slamming reviewers.Instead, I personally believe they should spend their time 2 ways: WRITING and trying to connect with their audience (the people who GET and LOVE their books). Everything else is just noise.But seriously, yes, reviewers should be critiqued. Doesn't goodreads allow for that, with its comments and "likes"?

  19. Anonymous

    Kate, I agree.Kat, I think this is where you and I disagree. Reviews do in a sense tell authors how to write. For example, if an author writes a book that is highly offensive to a lot of people due to its content, you can imagine what kind of reviews it will receive. Now, if a reviewer writes a review that is equally offensive, it will more than likely elicit the same kind of reaction. I've read some of your recent posts and I think that may be what is happening here. Just my opinion.

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