Grit those teeth and flex those muscles, it’s time to face the feedback.

Picture by Badda Bing

Picture by Badda Bing

It’s now come to that time when my beta read feedback has started to roll in, and yes, it is scary! It is one of those bitter sweet pills that you know you have to take to get better, but you just can’t force yourself to swallow. The thing is, you put so much into writing a story, that you need to have broad shoulders when it is criticised. It hurts to hear what people have to say when it isn’t all good. You need to steel yourself though, because getting the feedback and honestly analysing what is being said, is critical to making your story, a great story.

I have to admit, I couldn’t help myself…I had to go through some of the responses while I await the final few to be returned. The key for me, is to keep an open mind and decide if I agree with the feedback or if I think it is just the readers preference. I particularly look for similar comments that appear from different people, as these are the easy ones to identify as issues to be looked at (but I note, this is easier to do once all the feedback is returned). Once I have read the feedback I’ve received, I find it easier if I put it aside, let it sit for a week or so while I stew things over, and then I can return to it without the same emotional response and a clearer mind.

After reading the feedback I have so far, I know my novel is still not ready to be released. I was hoping to publish before Christmas, but it isn’t worth publishing something that isn’t ready, so, I sat down and had a think. I have considered if I should spend the next few months completing the final draft, or if I should get on board with NaNoWriMo this week and use it to start the second book in the series. I think Nano may be the better option, because I would like to be a substantial way into writing book two when I publish the first book. I don’t want to keep people waiting too long if they like book one.

What do you think? Any advice for a new author?

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4 thoughts on “Grit those teeth and flex those muscles, it’s time to face the feedback.

  1. Aloha Allan,
    RE: Your post at https://allanwalsh.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/grit-those-teeth-and-flex-those-muscles-its-time-to-face-the-feedback/

    Your post about writer’s anxiety over critique feedback hit close to home for me. So close that I chuckled (not at you but at the memory of myself).
    I cannot offer any advice – I am simply not qualified for that. Instead let me mention some concepts I try to keep in mind during the critique process.
    One – Let your subconscious do most of the work – it’s good at it. Read the critiques and think about the points raised, but don’t change anything. Put them aside and work on something else for a couple of weeks. When you go back to it surprising things will happen.
    Two – Your story is complete, perfect, and engaging in your mind. If a critique raises an issue first check to see if something failed to make the trip from your mind to the page.
    Three – Sometimes a critique point addresses a problem. Other times it will address a symptom of a problem. (A lack of motivation isn’t a problem until an unjustified action happens – the problem is not the action.)
    Four – Be appreciative of the opinions expressed, try to fully understand them – but remember your opinion is the only one that counts.
    Allan, I’m certain you know this – but I’ll say it anyway. Critiques are worth much more than the anxiety they generate – they are precious, you are lucky to get them.
    A Hui Hou (until next time),
    Wayne Halm

    • Thanks for the comment Wayne and the advice. I agree with your thoughts mate and do my best to take on feedback with an open mind and try to see it for the gold mine it is. On a side note, I hope your golfing is going well over there in sunny Hawaii 🙂

  2. Hi Al,
    The only caution I’ll give is sometimes the solution to feedback on book one can bring big and exciting changes, which can mean a lot of subsequent rewrites on book two. I had this problem with Storybook Perfect.
    Of course don’t let that hold you back. I often find if I’m working on one story when I’d rather be working on a different one the writing isn’t my best, so I usually try to follow my heart (and/or my muse) – though it does result in a lot of part finished work :p

    • Thanks Kirstie, I know just what you mean, I am now thinking about splitting the book into 3 books and expanding on other areas. Problem is that one book will be a prelude and I won’t want to release this book before that comes out, so I need to make a decision on that 😦 Why is it so hard being a writer?

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