Three Stars

The Trifecta Challenge is to write anything, in whichever form, that is between 33 and 333 words based upon a word and definition given. This weekend’s Trifextra Challenge is a memoir involving “three” in 333 words or under. Word count verified by Written? Kitten!


I’ve been writing as long as I can remember, and people have been telling me they like my writing for about as long so when I self-published my first novel, I submitted it to review blogs and sat back, waiting to bask in the praise that would surely flood my inbox.

For the most part, it did. Reviewers said they loved it, it was great, they couldn’t wait to read more of it. Secure in the knowledge that I was invincible from criticism, I opened the next email with a huge grin. And there it was. My first three-star review.

I remember staring at it blankly, standing in the surgery suite. My head was spinning and my heart trying to crawl up into the back of my throat. Three stars? Three? Someone didn’t think what I’d written was the best thing ever, the next Great American Novel?

Okay, granted, no one ever actually said that in the first place but up until that point I’d only heard good things about my writing; how the dialogue was great, the male characters just as believable as the female characters, and the story was compelling. This reviewer said a lot of those same things, but she also told me some things I didn’t think I wanted to hear at the time. I was embarrassed and actually ashamed to tell Mister E about it, as if I was a kid trying to hide a failure-spattered report card.

It took a few days for the truth to hit me. She wasn’t telling me she didn’t like my writing or my story, she wanted me to tell it more effectively. It was my phoenix moment. Not only was I grateful for her review, I was proud of it. In spite of the problems she saw with my book, she still liked it. She hadn’t given up on it and neither could I.

I’m a writer. That’s what I do. And thanks to that three-star review, I’m a better one.


7 thoughts on “Three Stars

  1. I like how you took the three-star review. Yes, anything less than rave reviews can sting a little, but for me, I sometimes wonder how many compliments are empty flattery.

  2. I used to want those reviews that just said how great I was. Then I realized I wasn’t learning anything from them. What I struggle with, however, is blogs – some people want concrit; some people don’t. How to know?

  3. I got a visceral response from the bit about your heart trying to crawl up your throat. I know that feeling of shock and shame and dizzying anxiety. I think the hallmark of a really great writer is the ability to objectively look at constructive criticism and you have done just that.
    Thanks for sharing this with us. Nice use of the prompt. Be sure to come back tomorrow for the new prompt.

  4. This was a wonderful take on the “3” prompt.

    But, I would like to point out the following sixteen mistakes that I found in your story.
    JK!! 😀

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