A few days ago, Scott Roche, AKA SpiritualTramp on Twitter raised a question about critiques. Do we want them? How do we want them and so on. What followed was an extremely spirited (natch) discussion about the topic. One I got involved in.
Now, those of you who have read any of my posts probably know I cherish feedback. But why is that? Why do I care what other people think about my writing and podcasting?
Well, I think it all comes down to knowing that I’m creating something people want to hear/read.
But don’t I know if I’m doing a good job or not? Well, in a word, No. I am totally oblivious to whether my own work is good or not. My own biases make it too tough to judge. I’m simply too close to it.
But do I care about all feedback? Again a single word: No. There is a lot of feedback that isn’t worth the time taken to read it. I’ve gotten my fair share of that.
So what makes feedback/critiques that I care about? Well, it must be constructive. Don’t just tell me you like/hate something. Tell me why. For example, if you think something in ‘GalaxyBillies’ is funny, please tell me what you think is funny and why the joke resonated with you. If you think it sucks, say why it sucks and what you were expecting.
You can also tell me in a nice way. That is important. Flaming me will cause me to zone out. Saying something is bad in a positive way keeps me reading. It can be done, honest.
If you give me feedback or critique my work in a positive way I’ll be able to learn from it and either repeat it or fix it depending on whether you liked it or didn’t.
My goal is to be published. That is no secret. Anyone who takes the time to tell me what is and isn’t working is helping me move toward that goal and you are worth your weight in gold and I thank you for your help.
That’s why I care. Constructive feedback and critiques help me move forward.
My Flash Fiction story was turned down and so was my last YA novel submission. While I am disappointed about the first I am stoked about the second. Why? I got a page and a half of comments from the publisher telling me what I can do to improve the story. The publisher also told me they would welcome more of my submissions including a resubmission of the rejected book. That makes it a big WIN in my books. Now I just have to find the time to do the editing.