The Love-Hate Dichotomy in Books

As most of you are aware, Deadworld hit the shelves a couple of weeks ago. Being the debut author that I am, I have incessantly tracked comments, reviews, ratings, and such on a daily basis. Ok, actually several times a day, lol. Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s really a waste of time to be such a spaz about it, because you run the risk of driving yourself nuts wondering about all of the varying points of view that get expressed about your story.  Going into it, every writer has the flimsily held notion that most, if not everyone will like their story, regardless of the fact that we all know it won’t happen. Given that this is an unreasonable expectation though, what should one expect?

Worst case scenerio is, that you get the “meh,” response. Readers don’t love it or hate it or find anything really worth commenting about. “It was ok,” is the last thing you want to hear. Being labelled mediocre, in my opinion, is worse in general over someone claiming they hated the book. Why? Because you want your stories to inspire a strong reaction. Now I’m not talking about hate related to poor grammar, consistency issues, and such, but more along the lines of story and character. So, while the “hated it” reaction can be cringe-worthy for any author, myself included, it does mean the writing stirred up something in the reader. Of course, if 99% of readers are having that response, that’s a whole other ballgame.

In the case of Deadworld, after a couple of weeks, I’ve noticed a bit of this love/hate dichotomy, particularly with the heroine of the story, Jackie. People to seem to either love her or hate her. She’s a rough, emotionally unstable/broken woman, who doesn’t handle her issues very well. She needs a lot of work. As a writer, I love characters who push the boundaries of sympathy. They’re intriguing to me, and it’s a lot of fun to go about seeing how they can get things turned around and back on track again. The dilemma obviously, is that starting at that point makes it tough on the reader to like them. Thus, a lot of love her or hate her. Now, I didn’t go into the book with that particular thought in mind, but it has become interesting nonetheless. Clearly, I’ve crossed a few lines on the likeability scale. Will this be good in the long run? I certainly hope so, because I’m having a lot of fun writing her journey back from the brink. The difficulty is to convince readers to come along for the ride over the course of more than one book. As we all know, in reality, most emotional issues don’t get resolved over the course of a few days, or even a few weeks. It’s a long process.

Have you had books you totally loved and then had friend hate it for the very same reasons you loved it? Literature is a strange world at times. Glad I’m a part of it. 🙂 Happy reading/writing everyone.


8 responses to “The Love-Hate Dichotomy in Books

  1. I’ll admit, I found Jackie hard to empathize towards for the first roughly half of the book, but I really want to see where character growth over the next two books takes her. I may not like her exactly, but with all the potential that you gave her I can’t bring myself to hate her either.

    • Thanks for the honest feedback, Tympest. Jackie is not an easy person to like, though hopefully I’ve given enough there for readers to latch onto and enough to interest them to see where it goes. It has worked for some readers and not so much for others. It was a risk, starting her out in such a crappy state of being, but on the other hand, about the only direction she has to go right now is up. lol. Hope you enjoy The Vengeful Dead when it comes out.

      • No problem. I get the feeling that the more I read of the series, the better I’m going to like Jackie. The gamble of starting her out where you did seems to have paid off in that I’m really excited for the next book and want to see where she goes from here.

    • Censored myself, as it was the first time I had commented on your site. I am firmly PRO-Jackie, which may be obvious from my comment, but I thought I would elaborate. As an irritable, unstable woman with “issues”of my own, I enjoyed and empathized with her portrayal. I am trying to think of a character I enjoy that is not, and I am failing, even for males. Enge’s Morlock is one of my favorites. I also enjoy Meljean Brook’s Guardian’s females. Possibly conflict is more meaningful, more productive. Actors swear it is more fun, and I suspect writers agree.

      Anyway, glad I found your writing through Amazon’s giveaway. My reading list has certainly grown through it.

  2. I just stumbled across your books on Goodreads. The covers (and premise) sound fantastic, so they are on my TBR. Nothing beats a new urban fantasy series.

    As for reviews — when I started out, I visited Goodreads, Amazon, and book blogs pretty often. I don’t so much anymore. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the input or opinions of readers. Rather I’ve learned tastes and preferences are so incredibly subjective. I just write what I write and hope to entertain those who give me time in the reading chair. 😉

    • I agree, Jaime. I appreciate every reader who takes the time to invest in my story. I hope to entertain most, but understand it’s just not going to happen for everyone. I find it fascinating though to see just how subjective things are, where one person hates a book for the exact reason someone else loved it. And, btw, I hope you enjoy Deadworld.

  3. New reader here. LOVED Deadworld one. I enjoy urban fantasy, and you have been added to my BUY list. Found you on Amazon; free, I think. Moving myself to the Pay column.