Feedback, Fiction, Novel, Reader, Writing

Before my novel is published …

Unfortunately, I am not announcing an actual publication date. I am playing what if today. No … strike that … I am playing when today. And one thing I need to change before my novel is published is my tendency to refute a compliment on my work.

Just this morning, I realized that even when my husband compliments me on a meal, I almost always point out that something is overdone, or too salty, or … something. It’s not just with my cooking I do this. I may have voiced an apology in response to every compliment offered me on a portrait done or piece of jewelry constructed.

I could question why I do this. I am sure I already know one major factor in this behavior, but I don’t know that I need to understand the reasons in order to stop the behavior. And I absolutely need to stop doing this because not only does it negate my efforts, I have finally understood how rude the habit is.

If someone should tell me how much they loved reading my book and I respond by pointing out where I could have used a better metaphor, or taken the layering to a deeper level, or failed to carrying out the theme as far as I could, what does that say to the reader? It says, “You’re an idiot for thinking my novel is good.”

My habit does not come off as modesty, it smacks of insult. Henceforth, I will accept compliments with a simple thank you. If you catch me slipping here on my blog, you have permission to slap me.

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18 thoughts on “Before my novel is published …”

  1. I think a lot of us had it ingrained in early childhood a misconception of vanity. When we are perfect (children) and someone said to us “You’re cute” we said, “I know”. Then we’d get chastised by our parents by what not to say instead of what to say.

    Fortunately, my mother taught me to simply say thank you. Even when the comment was an obvious statement and not a compliment, I was forced to say thank you. I was not allowed a rebuttal to “You’re tall”, which would have been a comeback to the tune of “You’re short” or some other referrence to the person’s body. 🙂


  2. I’m learning, late in life, that ‘thank you’ is the perfect response to just about any situation. It’s perfect for a compliment — and equally perfect if someone is being snarky — just drives them crazy. 🙂

    I think a lot of women especially were taught to be modest about their talents — even if and when there is NOTHING to be modest about.

    Thank you, Linda, for sharing your writing and your ideas about writing. All worthwhile and thought-provoking.

    Good stuff.


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