…is that if people keep telling you that there’s something wrong with your story – they’re probably right.
They may be – in fact, they quite likely are – wrong about what, exactly, is wrong with your story, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the fact that you have a problem and the problem is real and you need to fix it.
The same thing, I would make bold to say, applies to politics.
(This is not, however, the point where I expound upon my grand theory of What Is Wrong With Our Politics and How to Fix It, because that sort of thing is not remotely within my skill set. Your story, though, and how to improve it . . . that I can figure out, and gladly, too.)
With regard to the upcoming election: What John Scalzi said.
Hurricane Matthew looks set to romp and stomp all over the state of Florida, and possibly a goodly chunk of the Atlantic coast. Some people who might have otherwise been reading this have probably already evacuated to safer climes; for others, I direct your attention to this web page on emergency jump kits, also known in the trade as bug-out bags. (Full disclosure: The author of the list is also my co-author.) They’re the bag you keep packed to grab when the state police come around your neighborhood telling everyone that the dam has busted/the wildfire has jumped the firebreaks/the chemical plant has exploded and you need to get out of there now.
If you’re a writer, your jump kit might also need to contain a means of continuing your work – anything from a paper notebook and pencils to a cheap netbook and a mouse, depending upon your purse and your habits. And it’s never a bad idea to keep a current backup of the work-in-progress on a thumb drive you can grab on the run and shove into a pocket, as well as another backup on Dropbox or Google Drive or whatever offsite server you trust with your data.
For right now – stay safe, and take lots of mental notes on the storm while you’re getting slammed by it. You’re writers, and everything is grist for your mill.
Speaking as an editor and instructor of writers, one should never obsess over reviews, because that way madness lies.
On the other hand, there’s nothing like a good review to brighten a writer’s day. If you’re friends with a writer, and spot a good review of their work, it’s an act of kindness to let them know about it. If you spot a bad review, don’t bother – even if it’s one of those completely off-the-wall, did-the-reader-even-read-the-story bad reviews – because for one thing, they’ve probably already heard about it from those other friends who make a habit of kindly supplying people with all the bad news they might ever need, and for another thing, it will only depress them. See madness, above.
All that being said, there’s a nice review of the Altered States of the Union anthology over here at the Legendarium, in which the reviewer calls our story “Gertrude of Wyoming” a “shrewd and intelligent thriller.” Considering that those were exactly the qualities we were aiming for, I for one am pleased.