Seeking feedback on your writing is a daunting process. As writers we are prone to doubt and a fear of rejection, so trusting someone with your words is a huge step. But it is a vital one, because it gives you scope to improve your writing, make decisions for your story, and find out what works and what doesn’t. Here’s how:
Ideas for early stage changes
It can be so vital to get advice in those early stages of your plot. Someone on the outside can look at your story from a fresh perspective and let you know if the way you’re telling it works. Perhaps your point of view character(s) haven’t got a strong enough voice, or the start is too slow. Maybe the pacing is off, and there is too much inessential detail. Knowing this early can help you make vital changes before you’re too far in, and saves it becoming a bigger job to make those changes going forward.
Advice on character authenticity and development
As writers, we know our characters inside out. We spend lots of time with them, and know things about them that might not make it into the story. As such, we don’t always realise if we’ve underdeveloped them for the reader. Feedback allows you to ask questions to your reader to find out whether your characters feel real and authentic. It can help you decide what details could be cut and what ones need to make it in.
Identifies plot holes
Just as you know your characters so well, you also know your plot and all it’s background. It can give you a blind spot to the areas you’ve missed. Someone new to your story can identify things that make no sense, call out the unanswered questions, and let you know what’s missing.
Absolves your doubt
The more we read and re-read our work, the more faults we find. But realistically nobody is going to read your work on repeat month after month. Seeking feedback gives you the chance to get some positive feedback too, which can absolve some of your guilt and give you a much needed boost.
Your feedback shouldn’t come from family or friends. They won’t be objective enough as they don’t want to hurt your feelings. Seeking beta readers or critique partners can be a solid way to find people who understand reading and writing, and have no personal connection to you. You could also join a writing group or workshopping team.
The exception to this would be if you know somebody who might have a significant and helpful insight for you. For example, if you write crime and know somebody who works in the police, they may be able to let you know if your descriptions and procedures are accurate.
I hope this helps. Has feedback worked for you before? Comment below.