It sucked by Jill James

thumbs downIt sucks to get a bad review. Writers hate them. We want to know where we went wrong. It’s really bad when all the review contains is ‘it sucked.’ Writers fear that review a lot. What can you do with ‘it sucked?’ Was it the plot? The characters? The flow or lack thereof? How do you fix suckiness?

I’ve always thought that it was a stupid review. How could a whole book suck? Couldn’t the reader find something redeeming in the story? Nice descriptions? A great character? A unique plotline?

Until this weekend. As a writer I won’t leave a really bad review for another writer’s book. But if I did, I would for the book I read this weekend. I won’t tell you whether it was an Indie or Traditionally published. I won’t tell if it was romance or another genre. I won’t tell if it was a male or female writer. It would serve no purpose to have those facts.

It isn’t that a reviewer doesn’t know what to say. If they could help the writer they would. It is that it is such a hot mess that they don’t know where to start. The characters are vapid, shallow, and self-centered and the author has portrayed those as their good points. The plot meanders through every current hot trend and every trope known to writers, and doesn’t use any of them well. Events happen, but the story doesn’t. The book goes nowhere and takes forever to get there.

Sometimes all you can say is “It sucked.”

Jill James


11 thoughts on “It sucked by Jill James

  1. I had never written a book review until I became a writer, and then I thought it would be nice to sing/write the praises of a good book when I read it. Unfortunately, like yourself, I just read a book that I thought was awful, so bad in fact that I didn’t finish it. I couldn’t post a negative review though. I thought about the time and effort that I put into my stories, and assume that author did the same. There are a few negative reviews on Amazon that state exactly what I felt, but there are also several 5 stars at the other end, so obviously someone found the book better than I did. Different strokes for different folks, and so if I have nothing good to say, I’ll remain quite and let others make up their own minds.

    • Charlotte, the book I read had some awesome, and real-sounding 5 star reviews, so maybe it was just me. Although, some of the 1 and 2 stars did say some of the stuff I was feeling.

  2. I feel the same way you do, Charlotte, but sometimes I wish I could just tell the writer how I feel – privately. Many don’t have a site for that. I thin what writers should do is not to read the reviews. We all know that some are written out of friendship and others out of spite. As an avid reader, I ask writers: do not read the reviews, please!

    • Martisima, I agree. Writers need to just write the book and let it out into the world. Although, it is awfully nice to hear someone enjoyed your book.

  3. Jill, you probably know I have complained about a book before, but I try to find something positive to say like I used to do in my critique group. I don’t like to destroy a person, but you also have to be honest. However, it sucks isn’t good enough. If you know the person try to write a private note telling them your honest opinion and forget the review.

    • Sandy, that was what I thought too until I read this book. The only reason I finished it was I was so sure it must get better. It didn’t. I had this trouble in a critique group once too. There was so much wrong with the writing that I didn’t know where to start to help her. So I just mentioned one thing she could do, but in the long run I don’t know that that helped.

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