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Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Firewall of a Book for the Writer

Writing a book is very remote. You work on books for years and years and then it is sent out. Reviews come back from many sources. Some are paid reviewers (though less and less) and many are book sites and bloggers. But they come back commenting on a piece of stone. You cannot change the book. The book is finished and someone may or may not like the book, but there is nothing you can do.  Very rarely will an author take another crack at a book and make changes after it is published.

Not so in the blog land. The comments that come back hit you right away. You literally just finished writing the thing and people are telling you what they like and don't like. Many times the comments get personal. This is unfortunate and a real byproduct of a medium that is so open. Because the writer needs a firewall. He needs something between himself and the reader or he becomes influenced and loses his objectivity. Death for the writer.

Some might say that is the advantage of the Internet. That the net is more real time, interactive, and therefore more malleable to what is now. That may be true for information driven blogs, but for fiction or even for editorials which use the same device as fiction, this does not work well. Writing is highly subjective. We have all read the bestseller we thought was terrible. Or the book a friend doesn't like and we love. This is the nature of writing. But somehow the writer must remain above the fray. He must have something between himself and the reader. A firewall that allows him to write in isolation.

So all one can do is turn off the comments or ignore them. To have your ego stroked or torn down is an infringement on the author's vision. It is simply not the same as a critique of a story or a novel. On the Internet, sadly, things get personal very quickly.

William Hazelgrove's latest novel Rocket Man is due out in the fall.
www.billhazelgrove.com

Books by William Hazelgrove