March 27, 2012

get early feedback

I'm on the final stretch of edits for the book I completed earlier this month. I'm pleased to report that overall I am pleased. It flows much better than my first attempt at novelizing from last year, and I don't make the same mistakes I did then. Oh, I still make plenty of them, but I am improving. That's something.

While waiting for the midnight screening of The Hunger Games last Thursday, my sister read through the first five chapters. (I made character sketches for a book a plan to write, eventually. I have a couple ahead of it in the line-up, but I was inspired.)

I'll admit it's hard to sit next to someone when you know she is reading your book. Any time she shows reaction -- good or bad -- you want to know what she read. For the most part, I managed to keep my questions until she finished. And here were a few of her comments after getting through the chapters.

Good and fast-paced opener to draw in the reader.
I like how you give a shout-out to the book that was an
inspiration for this story.
Did you really forget to explain where the MC's father and
sister went? Come on!
You messed up on your word choice here. It's so sad to see.
I can see the start of the love story, and I want to know
what happened and what went wrong.
I like it. I want to keep reading. (Now finish editing.)
OK, so maybe these were a little staged (Did I mention we were at the theater three hours early and perhaps the oldest two people in there?), but she did offer that feedback. The few bits of criticism were good. If she had a question about something that happened, felt it wasn't explained well enough, other readers probably will, too.

What I appreciated most was she said she wanted to keep reading it. That's definitely something. The first novel I wrote was way too heavy at the beginning, which made it difficult for people to push through. She said that wasn't a problem this time. See, I'm growing!

Having someone like my sister, who I trust fully and completely to be honest with me, review my book is completely beneficial. Whether or not you have critique partners, I strongly encourage you to have a couple of friends or family members take a look at the book in its early stages, too. They are representative of your future readers, and their reaction is crucial.

A million thanks to my sister for taking the time to read, and then playing along with the photo shoot!

Your turn to weigh in: What do you look for in critiques?

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1 comment:

  1. HONEST feedback is so important! Always good to have someone who will tell it to you straight, the good and the bad.