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dusted off in read-only


Besides the one obvious review, ever had this happen, Scott? posted 13 Oct 2004, 06:10 by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

[quote:zco39gtg]The People Have Spoken, and Rice Takes Offense By SARAH LYALL Published: October 11, 2004 Lestat, the vampire narrator of Anne Rice's most recent book, "Blood Canticle,'' begins the novel with a harangue against its readers. "What the hell happened when I gave you 'Memnoch the Devil?' " he asks crossly, referring to an earlier novel by Ms. Rice that some readers, to put it mildly, did not like. "You complained!" Many people did not care much for "Blood Canticle" (Knopf) either, as Ms. Rice found to her mounting horror when she began scrolling through dozens of virulently negative reviews of the book on "I cannot stress to you how bad this book is, and I have been waiting for it for so long!'' wrote a reviewer from California. Wrote another reviewer, "I have read almost every one of Anne Rice's novels, and I have to say this is the worst one.'' A third was more specific. " 'Blood Canticle's' biggest problem,'' that reviewer said, "is that it is seriously lacking in creative writing, sense of continuity and character development.'' Ms. Rice, the best-selling author of 25 books, including the lush and original "Interview With the Vampire,'' has a passionate following and an unusually intimate relationship with her audience. She reacted to the criticism with shock and horror, although when the positive and negative reviews were averaged, Amazon gave "Blood Canticle" three stars out of five. Many authors are upset by the snide tone of some Amazon reviews; Ms. Rice decided to do something about it. She posted a blistering 1,200-word defense of her book on the site, laying in to those critics who, she said, were "interrogating this text from the wrong perspective." "Your stupid, arrogant assumptions about me and what I am doing are slander,'' she wrote. "You have used the site as if it were a public urinal to publish falsehood and lies.'' Ms. Rice seemed particularly incensed by reviewers who implied that she had not worked hard on the book, the 10th in her "Vampire Chronicles'' series, or that she had written it merely to fulfill a "contractual obligation,'' as one reviewer said. Nor was she thrilled by the suggestion - often made by people who adored earlier books in the series but said they felt that the quality had deteriorated - that "Blood Canticle" might have benefited from some tough love. "Anne, you really should have an editor, or at least someone that would read your book before you send it off to print,'' one reviewer wrote. No way, Ms. Rice replied. "I have no intention of allowing any editor ever to distort, cut or otherwise mutilate sentences that I have edited and re-edited, and organized and polished myself,'' she wrote. "I fought a great battle to achieve a status where I did not have to put up with editors making demands on me.'' In a telephone interview, Ms. Rice elaborated on the point. "People who find fault and problems with my books tend to say, 'She needs an editor,' '' Ms. Rice said. "When a person writes with such care and goes over and over a manuscript and wants every word to be perfect, it's very frustrating.'' She added: "When you take home a CD of Pavarotti or Marilyn Horne, you don't want to hear another voice blended in. I feel the same way about Hemingway. If I read it, I don't want to read a new edited version.'' Writers like Ms. Rice, who produce many books and consistently bring in a great deal of money for their publishers, are often given far wider editorial latitude than other authors. Ms. Rice has been a best seller for Knopf since 1976, when it published "Interview With the Vampire.'' Later Rice books have not done as well as "Interview,'' but they still sell about a half-million copies apiece in hardcover, said Paul Bogaards, a Knopf spokesman. He said that "Blood Canticle'' had sold about 375,000 hardcover copies and that Ms. Rice always "has a built-in audience waiting for her next novel." An executive at a rival publishing house, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said publishers often took a hands-off editorial approach with stars like Ms. Rice and Stephen King, another prolific, best-selling author, particularly as their careers matured. "Ultimately it's the author's book,'' the executive said. "With an author of a certain stature, they're the artist; we're the amanuensis.'' Ms. Rice said that she had been moved to respond to the Amazon postings because many of them included personal attacks on her health; on her state of mind since the death in 2002 of her husband, Stan; and on her writing ability. She said that she received hundreds of e-mail messages of support, many from writers with their own stories of being "savaged and trashed'' on Amazon. Although reviews of "Blood Canticle'' were not universally glowing, Ms. Rice said she was pleased with the book, and a number of readers gave it lavish praise on Amazon. "She has such a built-in fan base; that's why controversy ensued,'' said Sessalee Hensley, the fiction buyer at Barnes & Noble, where, Ms. Hensley said, "Blood Canticle" had sold 20 percent more copies than Ms. Rice's previous vampire book, "Blackwood Farm." "Everyone is so passionately involved that if, for instance, it's not the way they thought Lestat would act, they are going to say 'It's the worst book I ever read,' '' Ms. Hensley said. Ms. Rice said that her work was headed in a new direction and that "Blood Canticle'' was definitely the end of the vampire series. "Yes, the 'Chronicles' are no more!'' she wrote in her Amazon posting. "Thank God!''[/quote:zco39gtg] It's from Monday's NY Times and after glancing at the Amazon reader reviews in question, are fans really that vicious these days? :( view post

posted 13 Oct 2004, 15:10 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Truth be told, the fact she responded that way says she doesn't have a clear sense of what writing is. If she thinks 'freedom from editorial feedback' was something that she had to work hard for and deserves - as though it were a negative component of the process - then she's out there with Goodkind and company. Writing's like painting a portrait from the [i:1aafqxr0]wrong side[/i:1aafqxr0] of the canvas, and that means that feedback, be it negative or positive, is simply all you have to know whether you're succeeding or not. To literally consider yourself 'above that' - and Rice seems to - is conceit at its most stupid. It's like an airplane pilot firing the ground crew, then blaming the passengers for the subsequent crash. It's ridiculous. That said, the point most definitely, for me, isn't to write something 'for everyone.' Frankly, I'm amazed the reviews have been as positive as they've been. I was kinda hoping to piss some people off. view post

posted 13 Oct 2004, 19:10 by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

True, I too was a bit irritated by that comment, although I will sympathize with her on the personal attack issue - comments about dead relatives really should be out of bounds when it comes to discussing why one thinks a book sucks. And yeah, authors often don't have the best picture of how the completed project is going to be taken. As for pissing people off, I just read where someone at wotmania was disappointed because TDTCB read mostly like a prologue - but I don't think that was the sort of pissing people off stance you wanted, huh? ;) However, I do expect any day now to hear some complaints about the rape scene. Man, I feel weird, being positive about the likelihood of an author receiving negative comments, groundless or not :P view post

posted 14 Oct 2004, 17:10 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

There's always going to be cranks saying cranky things. What can you expect when no one is taught the first thing about criticism in school?Some people think personal attacks are what 'criticizing' is all about, and no one's ever shown them different. They're wrong - there's no doubt about that - but they're inevitable as well. Letting stuff like that get under your skin is like ranting about the rain. The appropriate response, if you ask me, is regret, not anger or defensiveness. view post

posted 18 Oct 2004, 04:10 by tellner, Peralogue

Dissertations probably have or at least should be written on the importance of editors. I've seen authors who believe they've gone beyond the need for editing and who are big enough names to demand it. It is invariably followed by a marked decline in quality. Anne Rice is no exception. view post

posted 21 Oct 2004, 03:10 by Sovin Nai, Site Administrator

It would seem to me (not being in the industry) that an editor would fulfill a position the author could not and even should not hold. Because of the fact the author wrote it, they are invariably going to be blinded in some respect. The author also may not have the talent or knowledge of an editor, nor should they. That would be my reaction, though as stated I really have no experience to draw from. view post

posted 22 Oct 2004, 13:10 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

That's exactly the way it works. The writer is always the first, and always the worst, judge of their own work. view post


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