As an organizer to a writer’s group, we have a number of would-be authors share their work for the review of their peers. We’re no expert by any sense of the word, but we all love reading. I compiled a few tips I thought might help writers who want their work critiqued to keep in mind that will help them gain a good experience.
Your first step is to recognize who you are allowing to read your work. Make sure they understand the genre, and perhaps bears some experience with providing reviews. Someone who hates romance might not be the best choice to read your manuscript- if that is your genre.
Brace for honesty. Most people give feedback to not hurt another’s feelings. This is both good and bad. Good that they’re considerate of your feelings but bad if they can’t provide you honest review to help you improve your manuscript. Ask for the honesty. If you are fortunate to receive such feedback, see the following tips.
Don’t take a critique personally. Even if someone says you’re writing is horrible should not halt your writing. It simply means you have room for improvement. If you’re serious about publishing some day, then prepare for rejection. Grow a thicker skin, and recognize that it doesn’t reflect to you as a person. Bad writing improves with practice.
Ask for specifics to what you’re looking for in a critique. For instance, some authors want to know if the story is boring or too far fetched. Are the characters believable? Does the story catch your attention? Do you want to read more?
Don’t take everything said to heart. Even reviewers can be wrong. It”s a good idea to have more than reviewer, but if they agree on a specific change, and you can’t see changing the story, then don’t make the change. Its your story.
A few more quick tips to consider also helps a reviewer read your story:
Keep chapters relatively short. Lengthy chapters, or even paragraphs, are exhausting to read and deter anyone from wanting to go further. Break it up a bit into scenes or changes of point of view.
Add your email, name, page numbers, and title to the documents. Some authors add a copyright, by simply adding the small copyright symbol. (c) Adding this information keeps all the pages in order, and if someone reads more than one author, having your name available on every sheets helps with organizing manuscripts. (I read a couple a week sometimes).
With these tips, having your manuscript open for review becomes relatively painless.