Giving writers useful feedback is a difficult thing to do. Readers are afraid they might offend and writers worry about upsetting another struggling writer. It’s hard enough to get a writing career off the ground without people saying in blunt terms what they think is wrong.
The purpose of feedback is to assist a writer to create a compelling story. It is not designed to flatter nor should it make a writer feel inadequate.
Receiving feedback is a critical part of a writer’s journey. Writers who give useful feedback do the writer a great service.
Without it, writers are left to work in a vacuum, not knowing what is going to engage a reader and what might make a reader yawn. As writers, we are close to everything we write. Our words come from our vulnerable selves, a soft fleshy place that is prone to bleeding if prodded too harshly. Yet it is from this place that writers produce their best work. This gives writing authenticity.
While getting feedback can be nerve-wracking, writers miss opportunities to attract readers if they do not seek it out. It is an opportunity to involve readers prior to publishing. Readers who have had input into a story feel a sense of ownership and they are more likely to buy the finished book.
Involving readers in the writing process enables a writer to grow a following. This is important in itself. The world is awash with stories and only the best will survive. The best will rise to the top with the help of a following that feels involved in the writing process.
This does not mean that a writer compromises the story. Feedback should point out where the story did not deliver on its promise…not suggest an entirely new story line.
There are so many ways writing can miss the mark. There are so many things to consider when writing. For example, is the writing tight enough or floppy about the edges? Is there too much or too little dialogue? Is it convincing? Does the story have an inciting event that sets the story on its way? Does it have a convincing climax, a believable resolution…?