Tips and Tricks: Making Self-edits Fun and Constructive

Yes, I wrote it. Editing. That dreaded e-word that can be ranked up there with the same level of reaction as if you shouted the f-bomb at a birthday party for 90-something-year-old nuns, all because you walked in with the hired stripper. Oopss…wrong party.

However, you don’t have to dread the editing process. You can make it fun and entertaining almost as crafting the story itself. The key is to focus on various parts of it and tackle those parts as if individual projects. So, here are two tricks on making the self-edit fun.

Note: The two tips below are guidelines. They are not hard and fast rules that will turn your story into a bestseller, but it will allow you to practice your prose and engage the senses with your reader. Call it a stylistic guide. I personally love the editing process at all stages of it, and I hope that with these tips, you’ll end up liking it too.

The Dreaded Passive Word “Was”

Was is an important verb, but the problem with it is that it leads to a lot of passive language which in turn opens your story up to more telling than showing. This is fine when it’s in the dialogue between characters, but it gets a bit more problematic when it’s in the narrative.

Some examples:

Wyntiir was angry.

Carla, my girlfriend, was a tall woman.

There will be times where it’s fine to actually write these, but if you literally dump the whole bottle of pepper on your meal, you will not stomach the taste. Your reader will grow bored with your story. In your narrative, go through your story and find every instance of the verb was. You must not only rewrite the sentence using only action verbs, but add to the sentence with stronger descriptions to appeal to the senses of the reader.

Let’s rewrite our two examples.

Wyntiir stewed in her fury, her hands balling into fists with a trickle of blood winding its way down her wrist from her nails digging too deep in the soft flesh of her palms.

Holy cow, she’s really pissed.

Carla, my boisterous girlfriend, loved to describe herself as an Amazonian maiden as she stood taller and wider than me, and her girth betraying her love of exercise and pure physical strength.

Dang, you go girl. You’re big and buffed.

You can do this with other passive verbs too, but you have to use discretion. If you literally managed to expunge all passive verbs and write elongated descriptions, you’re going to run the risk of killing tension, bringing your pacing to a snail’s pace, and having your reader grow bored because they just read three pages of your characters going back and forth with each other and still nothing has been accomplished. This is why I recommend you only do this exercise on the verb was. It’s the most common verb, but not enough to hamstring your pacing and tension. As for your other passive verbs, just rewrite sentences using action verbs and move on.

Let’s get to the second tip.

Targeting Boring Verbs

Amateur writers typically use “boring” verbs because they are like said and ask. They just come out and you don’t pay attention to them. However, when your reader is not paying attention to them, they are not paying attention to any action or drama you wish to convey. The boring verb list is ran, covered, broke, found, gave, held, pulled, and threw. You can Google more, but these are typically it. You especially do not want to be using these words in action scenes or sex scenes. However, you can liven up your editing by not only replacing the boring verb with a stronger action-oriented verb, but also use a single adjective or adjective phrase for emphasis. Only one (think of the pepper metaphor above). Let’s deal with an example.

Wyntiir threw her knife.

Now we can use an adjective on Wyntiir or her knife, but we’re only going to choose one.

Wyntiir hurled her blood-stained knife.

See? Self-editing can be a fun game if you take the time to break it down into manageable components. And you’re still creating! Now, go forth and get rid of all those verbs was.

Introducing Author Lydia Anne Stevens

Dragon Soul Press proudly announces Author Lydia Anne Stevens and her Hell Fire Series featuring six books! The first, Highway to Hell, releases August 19th! Enjoy our interview with this author below.


When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

There has always been a part of me that has known I want to be a writer. Ever since I was a little girl, being drawn into Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House Series, I envisioned myself being Laura herself, living a life and becoming so immersed in the story that it had to be written and shared. The passion continued for story telling with the American Girl stories. Perhaps it was the quintessential idea of being an American and chasing a dream but it drove me to enter and win contests such as the Daughters of the American Revolution Essay and I used classics such as, Nathanial Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown”, Paulo Coelho’s, The Alchemist, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to pen essays and papers which have since been used by professors as exemplars for outstanding academia.

As far as creative writing, I have always developed stories. I even have a note that I wrote to my parents telling them I was running away when I was ten. I wrote them the whole story of where I was going, what I was taking, and what I was going to do when I got there. To this day it still makes me chuckle. I even told them I was going to take the dog with me and how I planned on feeding him. I have boxes of papers and notebooks with stories I wrote which may never see the light of day again, but I’ve always been a writer from the time I could pick up a pen.

The passion for novels and writing has continued into adulthood through reading more classics like, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and Dracula by Bram Stoker. It morphed into a love of “forbidden” romances when I was a teenager and then I discovered J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Ever since I fell into the fantasy genre I can’t get enough of reading and writing it. My favorites are now urban fantasy with or without subgenres such as, Karen Marie Moning, Kevin Hearne, Darynda Jones, Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews, Diana Gabaldon, Deborah Harkness, Rick Riordan, J. R. Ward and of course, J. K. Rowling. I will write almost any genre in my freelance writing including horror, romance, commercial fiction, erotica, mystery, science fiction and suspense.

How long does it take you to write a book?

It takes me about three months to write a book. I do have to say that writing is what I do all day every day. I have a Masters Degree in Creative Writing and am pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing so I feel that to be clear, everyone has a different writing speed. For a client I can do a full-length novel in two weeks and average between 10,000 to 15,000 words per day; therefore, I can have a 75,000 word novel done in that time. However, there are different factors to this. Sometimes I am presented a plot by a client and sometimes I have to come up with my own based on a theme or genre for them so in some ways, the brainstorming has already been done.

With my own work, there is a lot of research that goes into the themes, mythology, religion, cultural facets etc. I am a panster with my own work so when I sit down to write, I have the story premise and then I just write, looking up the information I need about the aforementioned techniques and machinations of the process as I go. I am the writer who has notebooks, pens, sticky notes, napkins and receipts for whenever inspiration hits with my own work because I never know when the characters will start talking. So, for my own work I say three months to incorporate all of the things that have been conceptualized, brainstormed, inspired etc. and that is about one month of all of that, one month of sitting down and just writing and pulling in all of those bits and pieces and then another month for revising, editing, and re-writing to a draft that I feel is appropriate to hand off to an editor or beta reader. There is an additional editing process of course, which could take several more months depending on the editor or publisher, but for my own self disciplines I say three months.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I have compartments in my brain for my story ideas. They are in neat boxes all lined up almost like a factory, and I can see it in my head. Depending on what work I want to focus on, I take the lid of that particular “Pandora’s Box” and let the inspiration and ideas fly. When I need to focus on a client’s work I put the lid on the box and ignore the rattling for an hour or two before I can open another box. I am very visual so being able to see where the twenty-six current story ideas are being stored is useful to me. Occasionally I have a character who rattles the chains on the box and breaks out, going through a stroll in my subconscious until my conscious self acknowledges him or her and then that is why whatever being resides in the seat of power gifted us puny humans with coffee. Those sessions with characters are often interesting depending on what they have to tell me and at what God-awful hour of the night they might decide to tell it. Those are also my favorite characters who refuse to follow my carefully crafted rules which are put in place to protect my sanity. But then again, any writer who claims to be sane is either in denial and needs more of the blessed caffeinated stuff, or they are lying. I also have two hats I wear when I write. One is a black top hat from England which belongs to my brother. The other is a straw hat I recently won which is embroidered with the phrase, “do not disturb.” My close friends who know my writing quirks remind me it’s too late for that, but the hats help contain the chaos within, so it flows through my fingers and onto the page. One hat is just for more formal writing than the other.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Life is my inspiration. I know this is the party line but it’s true. The people I meet, connect with, and interact with are inspiration. But it is more than that. I can look at a back lawn, sunflower littered with grass that most people would complain is too long and needs to be cut and yet I see the tiny village of fairy people whose homes are being threatened by the humans. The story starts to roll in my head and all of a sudden, I have Pixie, the fairy, who rides a bumble bee and they endeavor to save their home and the bees who have become endangered.

The point of that is, I see life as still being full of magic where others might see it as a lawn that needs to be mowed. Magic may not be classically defined anymore such as with Tolkien’s ideals of magic with wizards, orcs and flaming eyeballs, but fantasy isn’t just a genre to escape reality. It takes the harshness of reality and provides a place for a reader to cope with their own circumstances and realities. The magic is in the effect that humans have left on society either from the past or present and the essence of what humanity is. I see the magic in the places they have been and the things that they do and influence. In a world where technology allows us to see all of the bad things that happen, I chose to focus on the wonder of how humans en mass, are still beautiful and magical either together or as individuals. This inspires me and is where my ideas come from. Magic for me is still very real but more importantly, it is something worth writing about.

What do you think makes a good story?

A good story is something that can make a reader take a part of it into their life and either learn something from it, or use it to cope with their own life and any difficulties they may face or help them recognize the importance of the blessings they may have. How a writer tells a story doesn’t necessarily make it good or bad, that is just technique and technique is something any writer should constantly be working to improve. A good story is the idea that it is going to reach a reader, even if it is just one reader, and be profound enough to impact them in a positive manner. These are the kinds of stories that make a reader hurt, love, cry, laugh, rejoice, anger, and celebrate with the characters. They are the stories that even if it forces a reader to take a good hard look at their life and count the blessings of what they have or make them uncomfortable in the fact that they inspire that reader to change-they still make the reader think or say, “well, damn.” This is either good or bad, but the effect is the same. It brought the reader to a place that makes them actively engage with the story and apply themselves to the circumstances of the characters or the circumstances of the story to the reality of their own life.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Sound and attitudes are my Kryptonite. I can write with sound but prefer complete silence. It is difficult with an eight-year-old, but I write better at two in the morning when the only sound is the characters in my head. The worst, however, is people’s attitudes. Writers are underappreciated. It isn’t a “real” vocation because people tend to appreciate the humanities when it is someone famous or historical, but most writers and artists aren’t appreciated because family, friends, and fans, might not understand the process. They want to appreciate the completed work, but don’t understand that it takes hours of hard work which isn’t just sitting at a desk and suddenly words appear on the screen.

I’ve heard more than once that my job is sitting at a desk and that there is no manual labor, therefore it can’t possibly be real work. I disagree. Mental work is in some ways more grueling than manual labor, but without getting into all that is PC and right with the world, the fact remains that ignorance is often the culprit of malcontent. If one doesn’t understand what writers do, it is difficult to appreciate the contributions it makes to society and culture, and therefore breeds poor attitudes in general. People want the instant gratification. To be able to click a link and read some text is all they care about. Think about how much people read on a day to day basis for even menial tasks like traffic signs, work emails, social media posts, articles etc. Then think about creative writing and how much effort that takes. People want the words and they are integral to everyday life, even creative works which may be an escape from life, but they don’t care how they get there.

I find myself very depressed when I am told my writing isn’t real work or how this is a dream and not worthy of a real vocation. I remind them it isn’t a dream anymore since it is what I do on a day to day basis, but there is the misconception that real means lucrative success such as a New York Times Bestseller. Even then the moment might be fleeting, and I never became a writer for the money. However, people’s attitudes effect my writing if it is persistent or really negative. I have to carefully assess whether that person is beneficial to my life and what I want from my writing career, and then move on. As a human, I still feel the emotional highs and lows, so when someone attacks my high points in life, it can be my Kryptonite and I might not write for a few days. The beauty of superheroes, however, even writer superheroes is that we always get back up, dust the pen and cape off, and carry on with our badass selves.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Hahaha! Actually, don’t quit. Don’t you ever quit. You will want to. You will think about it, but don’t ever give it up. Everyone on this planet has a gift to give, whether the gift is good or bad and has a positive or negative impact on the fellow man, but writing is your gift and you gave up for a short spell and it was the worst time of your life. You forgot yourself and your gift, but don’t you dare ever give up again. You will be told you can’t do it. You will be told to get a real job like everyone else and it will hurt like Hell. But it is going to hurt a lot worse if you quit. There is a dark place in your soul where the creature who doesn’t write and appreciate your gift lives. Don’t ever let that creature take over again. Everyone has their demons they have to live with. You have two choices, learn to live with the demon or tell it to get stepping because you have things to accomplish in this life and with this gift. Besides, if you think about it, it isn’t your demon anyway. It is the preconceived judgements of others that moved in, took over for a spell, and then festered. Don’t you ever give up on yourself and your gift again. Ever.

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

I do read a lot of bestsellers so this one is a bit hard. I love Frewin Jones’ The Faerie Path Series. I typically read adult with a few YA ventures but there is something youthful and hopeful about this series that touches me. I think writers always retain a sense of youthful vitality. To be a writer one has to have a vivacious outlook on life, but this series really embodies the idea of fantasy representing the idea of hope within youth. Frewin Jones, a pen name for Allen Frewin Jones is a British writer who is 65 and has over 90 children’s, YA and fantasy novels. However, because he is a foreign writer, I’m not sure how well he is appreciated in America? If I were to choose an American writer, I would go with Stephen King’s memoir, On Writing. Being a native Mainer, it is nice to see the success one man from a small town can achieve. I think because he is the Horror King, his memoir is underappreciated, but I recommend it to any writer, aspiring or established because of how earthy and genuine his novel about his writing career has been.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Commas! I’m getting a little better, but generally the words come so hard and fast that I just don’t consider punctuation until it is time to revise. Then I am so focused on the characters, setting, plot etc. that I just don’t see them. Revising aside because I think every writer has something they can improve on; I find the most difficult part of my artistic process to be prioritizing the writing. Sometimes I desperately want to write on one of my novels, but I know I have the piece due for a client or an essay for school etc. I am finding more time for my own work now that my Masters Degree is completed. The PhD will be focused solely on a creative piece I want to work on, but my focus is now evenly split between clients and my own work, without the academic essays to include in that as well. The only other detriment is when I have a list of priorities which seem to all be at the top and then nothing gets done because I’m so frazzled, I forget to have coffee. Then I have a day assessing my life choices. The day one forgets coffee is the day they take off from work, writing, peopling and all other sorts of activities.

Where can readers learn more about you?

I’m everywhere! A good place to start is Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, Tumblr, and LinkedIn.

 

Creating Worlds of Wonder (2 of 3)

In the last post of this series, I discussed the rules of about world-building. In this post, I will discuss how those rules are applied into actual tools and what said tools consist of.

First, why have these tools to begin with? For one thing, it will help you maintain a level of consistently. Not every author can keep track of every alien/foreign element in their world. The stranger you have something referred to using oddly spelled-out words, the harder it gets to keep all of it straight. For example, in my portal fiction, Fallen From the Stars, the elves referred to marriage as the “reading of their oaths.” They don’t have the words “married” or “marriage” (though the humans from the valley do). I have to have this written down somewhere because I have other cultural references, greetings, salutations, etc I need to keep track of. So there are two tools that you’ll commonly come across to help you keep all of this in good working order—the story bible and the glossary.

  1. Overview of the world
  2. Primary Religions / Gods
  3. Special Geographic Locations (floating islands, etc)
  4. General System of Magic
  5. The Races and Cultures (orcs, gnolls, humans, elves, etc.)
  6. Individual Nations
    1. Nation One
      1. Culture
      2. Politics / Government
      3. Special Laws / Taboos / Customs
      4. Special Notes
    2. Nation Two, etc…
  7. Special Terms / Terminology
  8. Technological Levels
    1. Medicine
    2. Warfare
    3. Transportation
    4. Communication
  9. Special Artifacts (magic swords, rings, crowns, etc.)
  10. Historical Timeline (go as far back as need to)

The story bible is more than just an outline (though it can contain it). It is the author’s comprehensive system of how their entire world works. It’s a behind-the-scenes toolkit that details the magic system, the religions, cultural nuances, nations, geography, races, all the way down to curse words to the name of the world/universe itself. It is as detailed as you need it to be (key word: need). When crafting your fantasy world or world that uses some form of mystical elements, take the time to put some effort in it. Start with a big overview, then work your way down like this:

As you can see, we can get quite detailed on just the list alone. An article I read some years ago (don’t quote me though) about Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series is that his story bible was as thick as one of his books. If you’re not familiar with his work, his series was fourteen big books weighing close to an average 1,000 pages.

Now the important caveat is you should only create what you need to completely tell your story in its entirety. If you wrote out your outline for all six of your books and you never have your characters go to the nation of Ko-Astera, never interact with the djinn-like humans who live there, never use a Fire Summoner in your stories, don’t spend a lot of time detailing that nation and everything within it. The same with Conjuration magic. If you don’t have anyone who is a Pact-Binder with a demon from the Eternal Abyss, you don’t need to detail this system of magic.

Will you be laying this out to your reader in your books? I hope not unless it’s critical to your story. But if your characters are following the rules you outline in your story bible, your reader will note the consistency and detailed world-building. They will appreciate that—greatly (assuming your readers like world-building).

There are many articles on world-building and building your story bible. I (personally) hate most of them, because they are very generic. If you want an actual live example, there are books that give just that to you. They are called campaign guides or campaign settings. If you ever played Dungeons and Dragons or similar table-top rpgs, you’ll be familiar with what a campaign setting is. Video game guides to popular fantasy worlds are also great resources and examples. Essentially, they are the “story bible” for the game master to run such games that keep everything in a logical manner. Some of them are quite detailed and beautifully written. Here is one of my favorites, though it’s nowhere close to comprehensive:

Pathfinder Campaign Setting

The second type of resource is a glossary. This is for your reader. It goes at the beginning or at the end of each book of your series and pretty much is what you’ll use as your own story-bible. Whatever is in the glossary is all you’re using to tell your story. It’s a “story bible lite” per se. This is great if you don’t have a lot of different detail in your world, such as an urban fantasy set in modern day Seattle, but you just need to advise the reader of the different names of werewolf clans, their powers, their blood magic, and their weaknesses.

In my next post, I’ll discuss what do when you run into problems. Until then, happy writing!

Interview with Author Casey L. Bond

Dragon Soul Press had the chance to interview award-winning author Casey L. Bond for the blog this week. Stay tuned with this amazing woman via her Amazon page and website.

 

  1. If any, what literary pilgrimages have you gone on? Did you enjoy yourself?

I’ve been to several conferences and signings. I’d definitely consider those literary pilgrimages because they’re where I found my tribe. The writer community seems large, but it’s has a small town feel as well. Everyone’s always willing to lift as they climb (I learned that at Utopia Con). And I enjoyed meeting the writers I knew from Facebook. I’ve made very close friends on these pilgrimages and am thankful for each and every one I’ve met.

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I think every author I know is willing to not only share their triumphs but are willing to talk through tough times. Every industry changes and the publishing world’s changes are rapid. I think that by learning craft and marketing from other authors, and thinking out of the box with friends, they’ve made me a better writer. More than that, I’ve learned how to better market my work and how to push through difficulties (i.e. writer’s block, learning to write full-time, etc.).

  1. What kind of research do you do, if any, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

It really depends on the book. If it’s historical, I try to research it very well. I don’t dwell on tiny details. I think you could spend years researching if you clung to every small thing, but I definitely think it’s important to research if you write in certain genres. My favorite genres, fantasy and paranormal, lend more creativity as most of the worlds are built by the author. I love making worlds.

  1. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I do. I try to learn from any criticism and points I feel are valid. As far as good reviews, they motivate me to continue writing and bettering my writing and craft. So, I do read them. I do not comment on them or engage with reviewers unless they post it in my author group or FB timeline.

  1. Do you believe in writer’s block? If you experience it, how do you deal with it?

I do believe in it. I’ve experienced it before, but I’m weird. I usually write one story and plot two or three others. If I get stuck, I brainstorm with friends. If I’m still uncomfortable continuing the story until I work the details out in my mind, I’ll work on another book until I get it right in my mind. LOL! So, I’m always writing something.

  1. Who has been your biggest inspiration when it comes to storytelling?

I don’t know if there is one person. It’s more of a conglomeration of all the beautiful stories I fall in love with and want to re-read. Sometimes, it’s just a profound observation an author makes. Sometimes, it’s a character. Sometimes, a world.

  1. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

I was a mouthy teenager and my mother sat me down one day and said that my words would determine how people viewed me and to choose them wisely.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Cool pens. I doodle notes for scenes to be written, etc. I love a great pen or pretty ink. LOL! I guess I should also say notebooks. I have a billion of them. On my desk right now, there are….eight. LOL!

  1. Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

Ego is an interesting term. I tend to think of ego as being a negative thing, as if someone is being egotistical. Confidence is important, but so is humility. I think you have to have a little of both of those to be successful – in addition to writing well, of course.

  1. What is the first book that made you cry?

November Blue by Amy Harmon. Hands down. I don’t cry very often, but I bawled like a baby when I read that book.

Why Beta-Readers and Critical Feedback Matters

You finally finished your first draft of that novel! It took you months, maybe years, but you did it! Congratulations, bucko. Treat yourself to a double-shot peppermint mocha with whip cream and chocolate sprinkles.

While your sipping on your eight dollar drink, you crack open your laptop, run your novel through a spellchecker, send it off to an editor, get it back, and then upload your work on Amazon.

You generated interest for your book through your newly minted mailing list, conducted a well-marketed launch party, sent out dozens of ARCs to reviewers, and overall felt a great sense of pride. You buy yourself another mocha.

Until the reviews start coming in…

“This plot made no sense. 1/5 stars.”

“I would give this 0 stars, but Amazon won’t let me. I even begged customer service.”

“Seriously? Reading should be considered an Olympic sport because I just broke world records after reading this crap.”

“I need bleach for my eyes.”

You had planned a whole series with at least six books. You don’t buy yourself a third mocha, but a bottle of whiskey this time and you don’t drink.

One of the activities I like to do when I hear about an “up-and-coming” hot author is read the well-written negative reviews first. Why? Because they point out all the serious problems the book had, but it offended the reader so much they had to give the work 1 or 2 stars. The comment, “I would give this 0 stars, but Amazon won’t let me” is so commonly written, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a meme somewhere.

So, let me ask you? Would you have like to have gotten those negative reviews in the form of feedback instead of actual reviews?

Enter the alpha and beta readers.

There are several types of critiques you’ll need to perform on your work before it’s ready for publication or submission.

The first is self-edit. If you hate the editing process, you need to either endure it or learn to love it. After you finish your work, set it aside. Dragon Soul Press has blogged in the past to set aside your work about two weeks for a full novel. This will give your brain a break from your work, purge your thought processes about your book and then when you go back to it, you have a fresh mindset. You will find a ton of errors. As you read your own work, you realize you may have missed certain elements and issues. Get those fixed.

Another option is to utilize an alpha-reader, but these people are completely optional. Some authors use them quite religiously. I don’t. An alpha-reader is there to critique your work as you write it. You finish Chapter 4, you run it through spell-check and then shoot it off to them. But your overall work is not finished. The alpha-reader helps you with grammar and then checks for things like pacing, characterization, tension, etc. Create a questionnaire for your alphas or allow them to comment directly on your WIP. Then you can go through and address the comments one-by-one to tighten up the story as it comes to light.

After the alpha-reader is the beta-reader. You should always have these people ready in the wings to review your work. After you’ve completed your first draft, ran it through the spellchecker and/or Grammarly, these readers will evaluate your overall story for plot, tension, pacing, POV, characterization, climax, hook, etc. The primary goal of both the alpha and beta-reader is to point out problems. It’s okay to get praise, but if someone reads a full-length novel from you and they found no problems, they didn’t do their job. You’re not that good. I’m not good. Stephen King is not that good! If you write a full-length novel, you should have at least six to a dozen betas reviewing.

As with alphas, you can create a questionnaire for your betas to fill out or allow them to comment directly on your WIP. After you have received all their comments, go through and evaluate them, fixing the errors they’ve pointed out.

Some authors will employ as many as fifty reviewers. That’s great if you can get that many, but expect a lot of work if all of them point out fifty separate things for you to work on. Some authors will also go through a second or third round of beta-readers too and I knew one guy who was working on his fifth round of beta-readers. If you’re a well-established author, a second round would be helpful, but anything else beyond that is likely to put you through analysis-paralysis–a common term among day traders who overthink a situation instead of making the trade.

You will not eliminate every 1-star or 2-star review, but you will mitigate many of them if you utilize proper methods for obtaining feedback.

Happy writing!