My continuity editor, Victoria Koski, has coined a new word. Maybe we can get it into Webster’s? It’s “complaintment.” This is a complaint thinly disguised as a compliment. I may have mentioned them befor, since I get a lot of complaintments, particularly on my professional Facebook page.
Here’s how complaintments work. What the complainmenter wants to say is, “I think your last five books are crap.” What she says is, “I used to love your books, but the last few have been real disappointments. I love your work so much that I really look forward to your getting back on task and giving us the ending we deserve.” That last sentence’s real meaning is, “Give me the ending I’ve decided must be the right ending for the series.”
Another favorite complaintment? “I love your books so much, I hate what Alan Ball has done with them. I’m sure you can’t enjoy this pornographic show. Can’t you stop him?” This means, “You sold out.”
I often respond with, “How did you mean me to feel when you wrote this?” It’s obvious the complaintmenter wants me to feel . . . bad. Really, really bad. (No, I can’t recall the last five books and rewrite them to suit the first person, and I’m very comfortable with my dealings with Alan Ball and HBO, thank you very much.) One complaintmenter never responded after I asked that. Another one huffed, “Well, at least I’m honest. I wouldn’t say anything behind your back that I wouldn’t say to your face, unlike all those other people on Amazon.” There are some false assumptions here. The first is that I read my Amazon reviews. I don’t. I realized three years ago that was the equivalent of drinking from a poisoned well. The second false assumption is that I was waiting to hear her opinion repeated to my face so I could be secure in the fact that she was being “honest” with me. I was not.