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MindHunter is MindBlowing

I can’t recall ever wanting to comment on a tv, movie, or video series, but after watching 9 of 10 episodes of the first season of Netflix’ MINDHUNTER, I feel compelled to spew forth kudos and congratulations in an effort (however small and insignificant) to assure there is a season two, three, four … well, you get the idea.mindhunter

The fact that I’ve watched “only” 9 of the 10 episodes of season one is not an indication of my disinterest. Quite the contrary. I’ve purposefully and painfully contained myself to watching only one episode a day in order to delay the season’s demise and extend my gratification. Not sure whether to call it discipline or masochism, but regardless, MINDHUNTER is magnificent.

mindhunter bookThe basis for the series, from the book of the same name by John Douglas, is fascinating (rather than regurgitate a summary, google it), the cast is superb and surprisingly, not necessarily household names (again, google…), but most important to me – and the reason for my devotion – is the writing. The script is absolutely perfect. Like the recipe for a cake or the architectural plans for a house where each measurement is calculated for a specific outcome, the dialogue is so exact that each and every word sounds and feels like the only possible word that could be spoken. I found myself not only wanting to listen, but to write down everything I heard.

Granted, I’m already a true crime addict, so the theme of dissecting the minds of serial killers is my version of candy. For those who get squeamish on the subject of deviant and depraved behavior, this series could cause extreme emotional disturbance. Regardless, if you’re willing to take a walk down the dark alley to experience and appreciate the skill of MINDHUNTER’s storytelling, I believe your own writing will be the better for it.

You might not sleep well (if at all), but just think… you can use all those wide-awake hours to scribble something spectacular. #mindhunter #mindblowing

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Eradicating Rave Reviews

Did you see the recent New York Times article by David Streitfeld? The one about Amazon “cracking down” on the abundance of five-star book reviews? I don’t know about you, but I’m thrilled… but also in a bit of a predicament.nytlogo379x64

As an avid reader, I’m always on the prowl for new books to devour
(when I’m not buys editing and proofing manuscripts that are going to hopefully become those books that other avid readers will want to devour!) and I often look to Amazon book reviews to get a feel for what others think. NOT that I rely on what others think or assume that because it’s a five-star bestseller it will be for me. (Case in point: Fifty Shades of Grey – but then, I’ve already expounded on this in another post!)
starsjBut still, it doesn’t hurt to know what people are saying – IF what they’re saying is not a rubber-stamped, don’t-want-to-hurt-the-author’s-feelings kind of review. Unfortunately, most reviews (as the article points out) are just that… especially if the author has recruited friends and family and former English teachers to review his or her book.

As an editor, though, I’m often asked to write those very reviews for writers – having worked on their books or because as a friend of an author, my professional status will carry some weight and hopefully will influence purchases. But how do I write an honest review that might actually be critical and less than five stars? How do I say that, “Well, I did the best I could with the story, but it still isn’t great?” Or how do I tell writers whose works I had not worked on, but think maybe I should have – that they might want to ask someone else?

I can always find something nice to say, but it doesn’t seem to be enough; so many reviews have only everything nice to say. So I hem and haw, and shuffle my feet, and carefully edit my reviews so that I don’t really lie – but I don’t tell the whole truth.

So, thank you Amazon, for being tough – and giving me the courage to be tough, too.

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Filed under books, English language, publishing, reading, writing