Yesterday, my writer’s meetup gathered at my house to discuss the topic of feedback. I felt we needed to urge and encourage members to share their work and also to provide some feedback for other members to help them along their own writing journeys.
Get a fresh perspective on your writing. Sometimes, after weeks, months, and even years of writing a manuscript, you find yourself taking for granted certain elements. Having someone else look at your work offers to clear up hazy parts of your writing, clarify plot, and even sharpen your characters into something better than before.
Feedback must be offered as a means to help the writer improve their writing. You can give a critique without being harsh or attacking the author. Ask questions, and be clear on parts that do not make sense, or if the story doesn’t catch your attention. Offer suggestions on how to change things. Most writers, I find, appreciate the feedback to help them in the long run.
Sandwich your feedback with the bad and the good Some argue this might be too cautious or even too kind to a writer, but adding what you liked the about the writing offers a writer the same help with what’s working as the feedback that tells them what’s not working.
Be mindful of who you allow access to your work. Someone not familiar with the genre may not provide useful feedback. Sometimes, you’ll get vague or even harsh critiques. Find readers who read the genre and understand it.
I’ll be the first to admit I just adore the good feedback I receive. Bad feedback generally includes a few grammatical errors, which I can’t argue with, but its nice to hear/read when someone tells me they enjoy what I write.
One member in the group found my story, Fireflies, and commented how she enjoyed the story. I published it over a year ago, and nearly forgot about it, so the out-of-left-field feedback was very welcome indeed.
I also received an email from a fan of my fanfiction online, who said “I enjoyed reading this story today, and was sad to get to the end of chapter 22 and realize that the there were no more chapters. It’s been a while since you’ve posted an update, so I don’t know if you are even considering still working on this, but if you see this review, I want you to know that I, for one, would love to see you continue this excellent story.” And its these sort of comments that often prompt me to continue writing for others.