I’m a lucky girl. Not only do I have writing friends online who have become my trusted CPs, but I also have an AMAZING group of local women I meet with every month to swap pages. Yay! KICK-AZ writers :)
At our recent meeting, we started talking about WriteOnCon. If you don’t know about WriteOnCon, it is an amazing online writing conference for those who write Pictures Books up to New Adult. Check it our here.
Two in our group were planning to submit materials to the forums, while two others had not heard about the event. As I was explaining the details of how you can upload your query, one of the writers asked if anyone could critique your work. We discussed that any writer could look at your thread and comment. That began a whole different conversation about getting feedback. Oh, feedback!
As of the moment I’m writing this, there are over 220 queries posted to the WriteOnCon threads. Now, not all those people are going to comment on what you load to the forums, but most likely you are going to get a number of people (hopefully!) who want to give you feedback. Here’s the thing, not every piece of praise, or criticism, is going to resonate with you. Over the last two years of participating in the conference, I’ve personally seen some brilliant feedback and some, well, not so much. And that is okay. We are ALL learning every day.
When I first started sharing my work, I thought I had to implement every piece of advice I was given. Guess what happened to my first manuscript? It turned into a bloody mess. After incorporating every single critique I got, my beloved main character had totally lost her voice. And the story? It was almost unsalvageable.
The key to feedback is deciding whether or not the changes make sense in terms of your manuscript. Some things to ponder:
Plot: Will making a sweeping change have a domino effect within your manuscript and compromise the direction of the story?
Pacing: If you add or delete a scene, will it slow down, or speed up, your narration to an uncomfortable point?
Voice: If you implement feedback for dialogue and/or internal thought, will it change the voice of your main character?
Here is the lesson I learned: everyone has an opinion. The thing to remember is that not all feedback is appropriate for your manuscript. Read through it all of course, but only incorporate what is appropriate for the tone and voice of your story. People can give you tons of advice, but only you and your instincts know what will make your book stronger.
So be grateful for the amount of time people have spent giving you their thoughts. Be gracious. Say, “thank you,” but don’t rush to make immediate changes. Let the critiques sit for a while, and then, when you’re ready, only implement what feels right. I promise that you, and your manuscript, will be better for it!
Fellow writers, how do you handle feedback? Would love to hear in the comments!