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Friendly Feedback
November 5th, 2014 by Coral

Alright, today we’re talking about feedback. Feedback is wonderful, I love getting feedback, and it’s the only way to get your work ready for publishing. As a writer,  it’s easy to get caught up in the story, and what I mean to say, and forget how it looks to the reader. It’s impossible to truly read my own work with the eye of a reader. I know too much, sadly.

There are several things to consider when accepting feedback. First is that your readers have the perspective of the not all knowing spectator. You are all knowing in your story, and they are not. They can point out when things don’t make sense and need more explanation.   The majority of comments deserve fair consideration and thought, no first draft is perfect.  Editors and proofreaders are a wonderful gift to author-kind.

On the flip side, you must remember that it is YOUR story. YOU have all power and knowledge on what is supposed to happen and what your characters can and cannot do, what they will and will not do. YOU know your characters better than ANYONE else. Sometimes, it is necessary to completely disregard comments and suggestions from your proofreaders. Sometimes they make suggestions that have absolutely nothing to do with the story, or they have completely missed the point. Now, if they have completely missed the point, it may be necessary to embellish your story or expand on some points, for clarity. But in the event that they suggest you change something entirely, simply because they missed the point, you can ignore the suggestion to change.

You may also get contradictory opinions on how you should add to your story, in which case, use your own judgment as the all powerful author and do what you judge to be best for your story. You are the only one who understands the story in it’s entirety. While every comment deserves appreciation and consideration, part of the consideration must be the understanding that you have the right to completely ignore the comment.

Recently, while preparing a piece for the Helicon West competition, I have received all of these kinds of comments. I have taken some and used them to better my story, and I have completely ignored others.   To finish the thought, do not let negative feedback discourage you. If  someone doesn’t understand, or tries to impose rules that don’t exist on to your story, thank them for their time and move on with your life. Do not let it stop you, because that would be a tragedy, indeed.

That’s all for now, farewell readers, and I’ll see you tomorrow!


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