Or – how my dumb sentence came back to haunt me
By Lynne Marshall.
I know we’ve all said it a million times – don’t read reviews at that readers’ website. We all know which website I’m talking about, but I won’t name it here. Yet, I continue to troll “that website” and check out my books’ ratings. Recently I cringed when I saw a 2 star review and, fool that I am, quickly clicked to read it. I will preface this by saying the reviewer called out Harlequin right off – Harlequin books are “happy fluff” and the reader said she knew what she was getting when she chose to read my book. Inference – they’re all the same.
Anyhoo, after she set up the parameters for reading out of the goodness of her heart, a book published by the fluff company, she zeroed in on one sentence out of the entire book. And that sentence was enough for her to stop reading the rest. That’s fine. We’re free to choose what we want and don’t want to read, right? No gripes from me. Life is too short. Free country, as we like to say in the US. But did she need to review it in such a snarky fashion? It felt like a public shaming. Shame on you Lynne Marshall for writing this stupid sentence.
Granted, the sentence was a klunker and I cringed when I read it. My response: Did I write that? Was I trying to be funny? Was that way back when I used to be intrigued by pheromones and the effects they have on women? All of the above. If it was so offensive, why hadn’t my editor deleted it?
The book in question was my first Medical Romance from 2006 which was recently re-released in e-book format for the first time in North America. Many readers who’ve never had a chance to read it are doing so now, and I am pleased with the sales at Amazon and, for the most part, with the ratings at that website which shall not be named.
The reviewer, upon reading my klunker sentence had to stop reading right then and there, and she chose to share that information with anyone who reads reviews at the unnamed readers’ website. Which made me think, if she’d been the least bit invested in the story—since that sentence occurs quite far along in the book—she might have overlooked that one “shameful” sentence. Maybe she would have cut me some slack if she’d enjoyed the book up to that point. But if one sentence ruins an entire book, I’m thinking she wasn’t really into me to begin with. Remember fluff? So, no harm, no foul. I’m sorry I wrote a sentence so horrible that you had to close my book, never to read me again. I won’t argue. The sentence is pretty, well, I’ll let you decide folks. I’ve kept you wondering all this time. However, I’m stating in advance, it is a stinker of a sentence, so there – I beat you to it!
“She caught a whiff of his pheromones and almost felt her milk let down.”
Snort. Yes, it is pretty bad, and if I could take that sentence back I would, but as the saying goes, what’s done is done.
So – authors – any klunker sentences you’d like to take back? Have you ever publicly been called out for writing one?
Readers – have you read any klunkers lately and care to share?
If you’d like to read this sentence for yourself, here’s the book:
And please watch for my next and newest Medical Romance, which is part of the wonderful new London-based continuity – 200 Harley Street:
American Surgeon in London – available at the M&B website on April 1st, and in UK stores May 1st: