[This is a post I wrote for Not Your Usual Suspects, published June 13, 2014.]
A few weeks ago, I posted to a local arts list about a free podcast of a short story of mine. The story, The Verdant Gene, is science fiction and part of the Fiction River: Moonscapes anthology. I was very pleased that the publishers decided to feature my story that week, as they had a great selection of stories from which to pick.
A day or so later, a fellow I know slightly wrote to tell me that he had loved the story and that it was “first rate.”
It was kind of him to take the time to let me know what he thought. We probably wouldn’t know each other if we passed each other on the street, so he needn’t have said anything and I would never have known that he had listened to the story, let alone whether or not he liked it. But he made a point of telling me that he had liked it, and why. That’s true generosity.
Maybe his compliment meant so much to me BECAUSE we don’t really know each other. Does that make sense? Of course your mom will tell you she loves your stories. And co-workers and friends. I mean, what else are they going to say? But when someone you don’t know (or barely know) makes the effort to tell you they liked your story—wow. It matters.
Readers have no idea what power they wield. One sincere compliment can make your month. (And when you’re 60,000 words into your latest novel and they all seem like crap, that compliment can help you keep butt in chair.)
So, Dear Reader, have you ever told a writer that you enjoyed her story? Why or why not? And writers, do you react differently to a compliment from someone you know, versus someone you don’t?
Oh, and if you like great short stories, check out the WMG Publishing series of anthologies. Highly recommended.