Monday, February 21, 2011

Taking Feedback

One thing you have to learn as a writer is how to take feedback. Getting critiques and edits are a vital and necessary part of the craft. Also, if you ever plan on getting published, you are guaranteed multiple rounds of revisions with your agent and editor(s). The trick is taking the feedback you get and being objective about it. You have to keep the core of you story alive while polishing all those nasty edges until they shine. And you have to maintain your belief in the quality of your writing, no matter how hard the critiques might be to swallow.

One of the most wonderful and hardest parts of being an author is that it is ALL subjective. You may have one person tell you they loved an aspect of your book and another tell you they couldn't stand the exact same thing. So how do you deal with that? Who do you trust? Or what if you get a critique back that tears your book apart? What then? How do you know when to make a change or not?

I'm really curious to hear your thoughts on this today, and then I'll share mine on Wednesday.

You know what rocks though? When your husband comes in after catching up on your current WIP, and freaks out at you because THERE ARE NO MORE PAGES. And he tells you that you must write more RIGHT NOW, he'll wait for you because he can't go to sleep now anyway. That kind of feedback, I have to admit, is kind of fun. He he he...

Happy Monday! (And for all my friends in the U.S., Happy President's Day!)

8 comments:

Trisha Leaver said...

I use multiple critique partners, then look for common threads in their feedback. If they all point to a particular scene or series of sentences they find jarring, then I know to work on it. Otherwise, I consider it subjective feedback and only work with the comments that resonate with me, the writer.

Shari said...

I struggle with this. I try to get an overall picture of the story and evaluate whether the comment will strengthen the story or make no difference at all. It's still so hard, though! Although, I have found that most of the comments are worth heeding.

Elle Strauss said...

I agree with Trisha that I pay attention to feedback I get from more than one reader. I recently cut a bunch of front pages of a ms and started the story from a different scene because I got two similar comments. In the end you have to go with your gut and also probably pay attention to what your agent says!
btw: I'm finally digging back into PWM--thanks again for reading. I'm paying close attention to your comments as I rewrite.

Cristin Terrill said...

Obviously the critiquer to trust is the one who loves your book the most and thinks there's nothing wrong with it!

But seriously, I think there are three elements to deciding what notes to apply to your writing. Use readers you trust, pay attention when more than one points out the same thing, and, ultimately, follow your gut.

I've also found that if I'm unsure about a note (assuming it's note a HUGE thing), I'll just do it. Once it's done, I don't feel emotional about it anymore and can see it objectively. Then it's really easy to tell whether I think it's a good change or not.

Colene Murphy said...

HAHA! Oh my! I love those people that make you feel like you will explode from happiness. Those reactions are the best, the need to know what next reactions.

It's really hard for me to decide what to keep and what not to. But the more critiques I get the easier it's getting. So that's a plus!

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

The key is to know when comments will be useful to you. Usually have to follow your gut instincts, but always to be honest with yourself and read the comments with an open mind. Great advice, Sara! Your husband sounds like such a doll! Now hurry and write those pages for him!

Carolyn V said...

I totally agree. You have to take the advice from your editor well and keep on keeping on. =)

Sara B. Larson said...

You guys are all so smart, who even needs my advice? ;) Thanks for your comments!