Thursday, June 19, 2008

Feedback: An Important Factor

I thrive on feedback. I've always known that (and I think it's inherent for writers), but I realized today how true it is.

Early on in the writing of my novel, I fed chapters to my parents and two friends. The most objective, unbiased views they weren't, but the praise and comments they returned to me gave me the boost needed to keep at it.

Somewhere around the middle of the manuscript I slacked off, though, and wouldn't let anyone see my progress. The culmination of my work and ideas came to be too encompassing, too detailed and in need of, I knew, eventual editing. Realizing I wanted no one to see it until it was as close to "perfect" as possible, I opted to keep the rest of the book to myself.

And then this week, out of nowhere, the opportunity for a sort of beta reader (proofreader) presented itself. I'm not sure how detailed the feedback will be, but so far I've gotten great comments. The most exciting? The reader has asked questions of me, of the story; questions that prove she's getting from the plot exactly what I'd hoped the audience would take away - even early on. It fills me with glee! Satisfied and giddy glee! And desire to keep working with my edits, to push forward with my goal.

It's just reassuring, you know? Like, it's proof that I'm still doing the right thing. No matter how much I question my talent, question my potential, this little bit of feedback tells me I'm on the right track.

Feedback, I love you.


WendyCinNYC said...

Congrats on the good feedback. I've been fortunate enough to read your work and I can attest that you are a talented writer.

I got some feedback on mine, too, and I went through the 11 (!) pages of comments and underlined all the positive remarks. Not that I'm ignoring the negative, but as I go back and fix things, I'll periodically re-read the nice comments for an ego boost.

Good luck with editing.

Janna Leadbetter said...

Aw, Wendy, thanks! I can't tell you how much that means to me. I rather thought the portion you read reeked at the time, but it's been through the ringer since. I hope it's worthy.

I see nothing wrong with highlighting all the good. Like with what I've found, it serves to help us along. As long as we're aware of our humility, I say.

You, too!

Melanie Hooyenga said...

That's great Janna! I'm sure hearing readers' thoughts makes a huge difference.

Me, I'm still waiting - almost five months later... I think it might be time for me to move on.

Janna Leadbetter said...

Mel, I'm flabberghasted by that. You've been tapping your toes for a couple months (which I'd have been doing, too!) and still no response?

I'm ready when you are, babe.

Melanie Hooyenga said...

If I can wrap my head around this heat I'm going to try to tackle the edits myself. This much time thinking on it has helped me realize the holes. I know you're there - I want to make sure it's ready for you!

Thanks. :D

Melanie Hooyenga said...

Squee! I wrote my synopsis! It's still very rough but it's helping me see my book as a whole.

Stay tuned for the next saga of Will Melanie's Book Ever Get Critted?


Anonymous said...

I love feedback! It's really great when the editor sends a rejection with a critique. That gives me such hope!

If you have time, I've tagged you for a meme. ;-)


Janna Leadbetter said...

Cool, Michelle! I'll check it out.

Melanie, you make me giggle out loud. :D

Melanie Hooyenga said...

:D Me too.