Tag Archives: the book chick

The Value of Feedback

Life drawing by Kev Howlett

You can appraise this drawing instantly.

A writer lives so much in his or her head and, unlike other art forms, writing is harder to share and get feedback.

Because you are living in your head, engrossed in your story, you are effectively inside a bubble. You are living and breathing a story that may or may not be good but you don’t have the distance from it to be able to appraise it yourself.

Writers can exist in a place that is either filled with anxiety or bursting with their own genius.

The solution?

Get feedback.

Feedback isn’t about feeding your ego (although for some it may be). It’s about gauging how a variety of readers might react to your writing and to see if what you think is happening is something similar for the reader. This is very useful because what we have written and what is going on in our head may not be the same thing.

Here’s an example: I sought feedback for my current novel because I want to know if a switch in point of view works. I had mixed reactions, mostly saying that it is jarring. You might think that this is negative. In fact, this is what I intended. This is a turning point in my novel and I want the reader to now be inside someone’s head. Jarring is exactly the reaction I’m after. Phew.

It isn’t always this way. Sometimes what I write isn’t always read the way I intended. If more than one person doesn’t ‘get it’ then I rethink it.

Why is getting feedback important?

It’s the ONLY way to improve your work. Yes, you might know your story is brilliant but if readers don’t agree, what is the point? If a story goes from your head, straight to a submission pile at a publisher, you won’t know if it has the best chance of getting picked up.

Get feedback and get a thick skin because not everyone will see your brilliance!

Don’t be a book snob

allthatiamHave you ever come across something on Facebook that someone is raving about but you saw it months ago and you think that is so yesterday or where have they been? This is how I feel after reading All That I Am by Anna Funder. I feel like I’ve been under a rock and everyone else knows something good that I didn’t.

Here’s why I hadn’t read it so far.

I have this thing about book awards. There is no reasoning to it and no logic either. But when a book has been raved about, won numerous awards, I shun it because of how incestuous the publishing industry can be. Stupid, isn’t it? I can only think that this has come about because I have read a few award-winning books and I didn’t think that they deserved the accolades.

This is why I highly recommend belonging to a bookgroup. Books will come to you that you wouldn’t necessarily choose yourself. Also, it’s Reading Advisory 101 – DON’T JUDGE BOOKS! I learnt this when I worked as Reading & Literacy Coordinator at Yarra Plenty Regional Library but when there are so many good books to choose from, maybe this comes about in an attempt to wade through the choices.

Just goes to show that there is always something to learn when it comes to books. I’m not going to give a review for this book because I think that everyone comes to a story with his or her own experiences. But what I will say about this book is that I enjoyed the historic aspect to it, the strong, courageous women and the idea that fate can really mess up your life (well, I don’t like that but I find it interesting). I’ve worked with some of these themes in my novel but I have not dealt with them nearly as good as Funder.

Looks like I have a bit of work to do …