It was just a week before my book launch. Most of my reviews were 5 stars and I had received only positive feedback for my psychological thriller. I was super excited to launch my book on which I had worked for years and believed my story was unique and would challenge people to think about the impact of world view. My book revolved around the antagonist based in India but had strong female voices and an element of justice for the victim. The book highlighted the trauma of grooming of young victims and challenged some ideas we take for granted. I wrote it so that anyone around the world can connect with it. And it did! I received feedback from Spain, Australia, the Middle East and other countries. However, just before the launch I remember waking up to read a review so disturbing that I had to recheck my own work. The reviewer, an old UK-based professional, said my book had pedophilia and my writing was very basic. While my book revolves around a dark situation where the victim is mentally manipulated by a groomer, there is no element of pedophilia in it at all. While grooming is just as disturbing as pedophilia, these are two very different subjects and sadly one is more commonly discussed than the other. The fact pedophilia was being associated with my book made me cancel the launch. Why did this lady decide to go all QAnon on my book with her negative review? I think her reaction to my work highlights a broader problem in the writing community in the west.
I have personally been to many writing groups in Chicago and have met some great people. However, there is something disturbingly common in many of these circles. A lot of folks, coming from very privileged backgrounds themselves, seem to have a very narrow view of what is acceptable and ok. Interestingly they lean towards the far left more and form the core of cancel culture which in theory should be standing for the diversity of ideas and giving voice to someone different. However, that is not the case at all. I can understand if the reviewer pointed to any mistakes in the writing however to attack the writing style exposes a double standard. Not having English as my first language, I have absolutely no desire to compete in the writing styles zone but simply want to be a story teller. I am inspired by writers from around the world and it made sense to me why most of these authors were from a past generation when, despite not having social justice warrior groups, we had room for a non-native English speaking authors. When the culture was not bogged down by the weight of these sensitive and offensive child grown-ups, there was room for new ideas. Heck, you had a book like Lolita launched worldwide and my book did not even have any element of it.
A lot of the writing groups in the US revolve spend hours discussing writing style. It's some kind of elite club of ex-art-school professionals who have no interest in new ideas. I remember this one lady who was very well connected with many writing groups and her work revolved around an orphan girl who is secretly a magician and lives her fullest when she goes to her magical school. Sound familiar? Another guy was a successful published author who wrote a series on planets waging war on each other in two factions- one being an empire and the others rebels. There are tons of writers just copy/pasting stuff from other famous works with their own versions of the fables. And while there might be nothing wrong in itself, sadly there is little room for new ideas in this space. When was the last time you read something completely new? I am going to relaunch my work by adding extra clarity for any reviewer finding their agendas in the books that mine is not a good target.
I am based in Western Chicago Suburbs. By day, I'm a software engineer, but in my free time, I love to write fiction and meet new people. I'm a big fan of exploring all sorts of historical happenings that have made a real impact on the world as we know it today. I'm always open to hearing different opinions, and I make sure to take my time and do my homework before forming my own thoughts on a matter. So feel free to message me if you disagree or like any of my articles.