In the spirits of Halloween, I wanted to talk about something truly terrifying for authors. Feedback.
I know, I know. It’s a terrible thing. But it’s a necessary enemy you’re gonna face. You can only do so much on your own. That’s where you get the help from other people to look at your work. But, it’s a scary thing. You’re practically exposing your work to the world for the first time. It’s been in your head for so long and then when you finally got it down on paper, it was still yours. A brother once told me once you release your work in any degree, it’s no longer just yours anymore. It becomes part of the reader and they see it in a different light that you do. They may love it, they may hate it, they may be impartial to it. That’s the importance of feedback. You get to see your story from another point of view and it might not be the point of view that you particularly like.
I’ve learned that it’s best to get feedback from your friends and family first. Have people that you know and trust to look at your work. There are some people that jump right into strangers reading the manuscripts. I’m not that type of person. I need to get some people I know who will like the subject matter to look at the work and who I can physically talk to. Also, don’t get the mean people in your life to read your novel first. That’s a bad idea. Find someone that will give you constructive criticism and compliments. You don’t need to be torn down right out the gate. There’s gonna be plenty of people that are going to do that for you later down the road.
I learned that it’s best to get harsh criticism when you already have the story completed. I’ve seen it hundreds of times on reddit, tumblr and fanfiction.net: person writes the first chapter, person posts first chapter to get it torn apart, gets torn apart, never writes the rest of that book. Don’t do that. I’ve done this with several fan fictions. You want to finish the book first. Complete your first draft before getting any criticism on your style, pacing, plot, or characters. You don’t even know your potential of the story you’re trying to spin. It’s also a terrible motivator. How are you going to get something accomplished when you started off with negatives? Write the story. Get the feedback after you went back and edited it. Get yourself in the good zone before jumping your way into beatdown town.
Speaking of beatdown town, you’re gonna have to toughen those muscles up. You’re get hit. I’ve been hit several times. Some people aren’t gonna like, understand, or even care for your story. That’s just how it’s gonna be. That’s why it’s important not to find just any beta readers. You need to find ones that you can screen, you can understand, and who is willing to work with you. Even then, you’re gonna find some people that are going to say some mean things. You’re going to have to work through it. That’s why it’s important to have the story completed first. It makes it easier to go back and heal from those bruises you get from feedback.
You’re gonna find some people that are going to fall in love with your novel. Give yourself some credit. You finished or you’re writing a book. Not a lot of people can do that. Remember, I love you guys. You need all the support you’re going to get if you’re going to continue this dream.
See ya next Thursday,
Deston “D.J.” Munden