Telling Your Story

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!

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