Critics. All writers have them. Some of us writers are critics too - our own worst! But when we write a first draft, we have to put all that aside because fear of criticism is the number one thing that kills creativity.
When I wrote Vessel, it was my first dystopian/scifi - a bit of a risk for me. It was well outside my normal realm of contemporary YA and middle grade fantasy. But I like to push myself and I don't like to put self-imposed limits on what I can and can't write. I write to please me first and foremost. I know my tastes don't appeal to everyone. That's the beauty of it. One can choose what books to read. I don't have to appeal to everyone out there, right?
When you take risks in fiction, a few things can happen. True, you can get this type of response:
Holy crap, what a disappointment! I picked this one solely for the "join forces to bring knowledge and books back to the human race" part, but that's not really what the book is about. At all. And the whole weird twist at the end? Ugh! There was lots of potential here in the idea of a group hording knowledge to maintain power, but it's totally wasted in this story. ~ Goodreads reviewer
But you might also get this:
From this point, the story just takes off on a stunning adventure. I have read so much for so many years that I can usually tell where a book is leading, but believe me when I say I did not have that sense with VESSEL! Every twist and turn the story took was a shock or surprise to me - but never in a way that I felt it came out of left field. Ultimately, even though they weren’t directions I had anticipated, every change, surprise, and twist was completely plausible and organic to the story. I never felt like the author cheated or threw in random characters or events simply to move the plot forward. It was simply a well-constructed, superbly thought out, and beautifully-told story. If you are someone who thinks they do not like sci-fi, don’t let that scare you from this book - it is what we’d call “soft” sci-fi and very readable and relatable. I think you will fall in love with Alana and Recks and their story just as I did. I can’t get their story out of my head, either, and I truly hope Ms. Cresswell has a sequel planned! I should warn you, though - you may wish to have some tissues handy. I bawled like an inconsolable baby as the story drew to a close. I was so shocked by what happened and how it ended, and I went from dry eyes to complete waterworks in a flash. ~also a Goodreads reviewer
It's obvious, Vessel creates a strong reaction in readers, good or bad. I prefer a strong reaction to a meh reaction any day. If we writers don't elicit some sort of feeling, only then have we failed. Otherwise, its all good. :) Happy writing~