Writers Need Feedback


Giving writers useful feedback is a difficult thing to do. Readers are afraid they might offend and writers worry about upsetting another struggling writer.

Its hard to get a writing career off the ground

They know it’s hard enough to get a writing career off the ground without people saying in blunt terms what they think is wrong. To ask for feedback takes courage. Yet, getting people's reactions is important. If you get feedback before you publish you might just avoid the horror of discovering some terrible mistake after the book is published.

The purpose of feedback is to assist a writer to create a compelling story. It is not designed to flatter nor should it make a writer feel inadequate. 

Receiving feedback is a critical part of a writer’s journey. Writers who give useful feedback do the writer a great service.

Without it, writers are left to work in a vacuum, not knowing what is going to engage a reader and what might make a reader yawn. As writers, we are close to everything we write and feedback can sometimes be quite confronting.

Writers write from a vulnerable place

That is because what we write comes from our vulnerable selves, a soft fleshy place that is prone to bleeding if prodded too harshly. Yet it is from this place, usually unseen by passers by, that writers produce their best work.

This gives writing authenticity. 

However, writing from our most vulnerable place gives writing authenticity. While getting feedback can be nerve-wracking, writers miss opportunities to attract readers if they do not seek it out. It is an opportunity to involve readers prior to publishing. Readers who have had input into a story feel a sense of ownership and they are more likely to buy the finished book. 

Involving readers

Involving readers in the writing process enables a writer to grow a following. This is important in itself. The world is awash with stories and only the best will survive. The most outstanding will rise to the top with the help of a following that feels involved in the writing process. 

This does not mean that writers compromise their story. Feedback should point out where the story did not deliver on its promise…not suggest an entirely new story line. 

There is a lot to consider when writing

There are so many things to consider when writing. For example, is the writing tight or floppy about the edges? Is there too much or too little dialogue? Is it convincing? Does the story have an inciting event that sets the story on its way? Does it have a convincing climax, a believable resolution…? Those are just a few points to consider. There are many more.

Constructive feedback

The Story Mint encourages readers to give writers feedback. The only stipulation is that the feedback be constructive and helpful. The serials enable writers to practice their storytelling skills and to hear from readers. Writers can leave more substantial pieces of work-in-progress on The Writers’ Pad. This is a place where writers can test the market before they publish...see how readers react. They can get private, more in-depth feedback through The Story Mint's assessment service.

Here are six tips for giving feedback:

  • Start with at least one positive and end with a positive.
  • Be specific. For example, a writer is describing to characters arguing but you, as reader, are not convinced. Explain why.
  • Be constructive. Come up with examples of how someone might approach a problem area without giving them an alternative. Every writer must retain his or her own voice.
  • Be encouraging. A writer has worked long hours to produce the piece of writing you are reading, respect that.
  • Be clear. The clearer you are with your feedback the more you learn about the craft of writing and why you have reacted the way you have.
  • Be encouraging. We don't want to leave writers feeling as if they should never write again.

Suraya Dewing is the CEO of The Story Mint and creator of Stylefitan automated feedback tool for writers.


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