Writer smashes reviewer with a wine bottle, aka How NOT to handle getting a bad review

I’ve touched on authors having meltdowns when criticized a few times before (like this guy or this woman’s now deleted Amazon war), but this one takes the cake.

A year or so ago, British author self-published a novel inspired by the woman he was stalking. Seriously. He blogged extensively about stalking her, law enforcement got involved, and he eventually wrote a fairy tale in which she was the main character. Given that he blogs extensively about mental illness, I have to guess that he’s a wee bit unstable.

Anyway, he posted an excerpt of this work to Wattpad, where an 18-year-old Scottish girl gave it a harsh review. Among other things, she said:

This is painful. Everything is written through telling and purple prose which is just about the worst combination there is as both a reader and writer. You can have the most fantastic plot in the world, but if you can’t write it well, it won’t sell. At least concerning self-publishing. And bad writing usually equals bad characters.

I have no idea how accurate the criticism is. Haven’t read his work, have no plans to. It is rather telling that he repeatedly attacks people who review his work poorly, but whatever. The crazy part of the story is that in response to the review, he drove 500 miles and smashed the young reviewer over the head with a wine bottle. That could have killed her. He plead guilty┬áto the attack.

I saw blood covering my hands and dripping down my arms. Without the pressure on my head, the blood spread down my hair and the back of my neck.


Responding to critics is almost never a good idea (and stalking them, like this other author did, is also a bad idea). Every writer will be criticized at some point. Every single one. Sometimes that criticism is well considered and ought to be heeded. Other times, it’s just someone who didn’t like your work.

That’s okay.

Assaulting people for it is not.