October 11, 2009 at 5:21 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

When in the writing business, you’re going to get feedback from a lot of different places. Whether that be in your critique teams, from personal beta readers, agents, editors, even paying customers. People are all going to have an opinion on your work. Maybe they don’t understand something. Maybe they don’t like a character. There’s a way of dealing with it, and I’m going to show you how.

For most of us, the feedback we’ll be getting is from critique teams or personal betas. So you’ve emailed/posted your work and the comments start coming in. Person A doesn’t like your main character. Person B doesn’t understand why something happens even though you think you explained it on page 112 and they should have got it. Person C doesn’t like one chapter but person D loves it.

You’re going to get conflicting feedback all the time. The trick is to try and take on board everything and make it work for YOU and the story. You can’t make a story that’ll please everyone. People have different tastes and styles. What you can do is take the advice that’ll better the story. Maybe if Person B doesn’t understand, you haven’t made it as clear as you thought on page 112. Maybe you could edit that one chapter person D loved so it doesn’t just appeal to a certain type of person.

The worst type of way you can take feedback is to be offended or defensive. Try to refrain from emailing back bolding every feedback point and explaining yourself underneath. It’s not necessary. Also, it’s very easy to feel sorry for yourself and maybe trunk the story altogether if you recieve negative comments. Try not to do this. One day we’ll feel bad about our story, but the next we’ll go back to loving it again. Take the feedback and use it to your advantage. Be thankful. Be gracious. USE IT. Please, please don’t be one of those people who think “no one knows my story like I know my story. They don’t know what they’re talking about.” We could all do with some advice.

However, saying that, it doesn’t mean we need to take EVERYTHING. Maybe someone suggests you putting in a car chase scene in the middle of a romance scene you had going on. If it doesn’t fit in with the themes and style of your work, don’t add it. An action fan is going to want action, so then maybe your romance novel isn’t the one for them. Thank them for their suggestion and use what you can without damaging your work.

Hope that’s helpful.




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  1. Great post.

    One trick I think helps if you’ve got a lot of feedback is to look for things that come up more than once. Groups tend to be more accurate than opinions in that sense.

  2. Nice post! I have a problem with getting defensive, I’ve found, even though I never feel particularly offended. It’s subconscious workings, haha.

    Talk of groups of feedback gets me thinking of graphs and frequency charts. Fun!

  3. Great advice. One thing you have to watch out for is the critter who wants to change your voice. And they’re out there, eager to do their part. And then there’s the critter who gets offended when you decide what’s best for your story means ignoring what they had to say. Some of them can get down right nasty. It’s enough to make your face break out. Groan!

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