7 ways to get the feedback you want. (The solicited kind)
Whether you’ve just finished your first draft, or your belief in your half done manuscript is wavering, the ability to ask for targeted responses is a valuable skill to hone. There are as many points in the writing process to ask for feedback as there are opinions about your work. But how do you get the feedback that is right for your current point in the lifetime of your story?
1. Be honest with yourself.
The biggest and most important question to start with is what level of feedback do you really want. The answer will influence who, how, and what you ask.
It doesn’t matter whether you are seeking someone to cheer you on, or ask you increasingly complex questions about your world, or confirm a casual reader can find and connect the dots you laid out. You can be looking for someone to help you find where you jumped the shark, or check your narrative structure, or even seek out ghost-characters from name changes. As long as you are honestly acknowledging what you are hoping to receive in feedback, and applying it to the process of asking, you have a much better chance of getting the insight you want.
2. Be honest with your reader/listener.
What you want may depend on where you are in your process–both how much has been written, and how ready you are to receive “strong” feedback. Save your helper and yourself some trouble and be upfront about it. There is no shame in knowing what you need and asking for it–the problem comes when you pretend you want something else and apply none of feedback you’ve received.
If you just want someone to tell you it is genius because you’re itching to put it in the drawer and pretend it never happened, remember that fan clubs aren’t just for teenage heart throbs and aging rock bands. Writing can be a truly lonely endeavor if you forget to gather a few sycophants for the journey.
If you are at the edge of the first major revision and need a scathing critique so that you can see your work in a new light and make the sweeping changes that will make the work its best self, ask a trusted writer friend who won’t be afraid to watch your lip quiver.
Proper Thieves isn’t just an ebook. 7th Titan is releasing the installments as audio books too. Check out the sample below of our first chapter read by the author Luke CJ Smith and head on over to the Proper Thieves page for character bios, and more!
Love it as much as we do? Join us on Patreon for future installments of Proper Thieves and all the extras including short stories, behind the scenes notes, and extra art.
scope out the world’s wealthiest palace for weakness and lead his team of telepathic, magic-wielding, ax-swinging thieves to the vault.
But plans can falter.
As new players join the game, Devan and his team struggle to keep the upper hand. But the team’s biggest challenge may be resisting The Palace itself: its unbound luxury and seductive glamour is a force bent on distraction.
And in this high-stakes heist, distractions can be deadly.
Can Devan hold his team together or will their weakness surpass any they find in The Palace?
Uprooted by Naomi Novik was firmly entrenched on my to-be-read list, albeit as a “someday, when it’s in paperback”, before a friend was so insistent I read it right then that she offered me her own, first edition, first printing, signed copy. Despite my attempts to insist I couldn’t possibly borrow such a treasure, she persisted, buying me my own copy and insisting with a fervor I confess I now feel.
The novel tells the story of a valley in danger, and the lengths one woman, Agnieska, will go to in order to protect her entire way of life and all the people that live it. It is a story of apathy and disbelief, and the trouble it can cause. It plays on the fairy tale structure and tropes, including a wizard named “The Dragon” and a dangerous forest full of dark magics that relentlessly expands, trying to swallow the whole valley.
Every scene–even those few that as a reader I might have wanted to do without–is carefully crafted and placed to accomplish the major themes of the story. It is a tale that lives and breathes as much as the magic system it develops. I cannot recommend it highly enough and it deserves all the accolades that have been heaped upon it.
Chappy – His Majesty’s Dragon – Naomi Novak
Is this gunpowder fantasy?
Because someone called dibs on the wonderfully written sort-of-fairy-tale Uprooted, which I had just finished, I was forced to read something else quickly to write about before the Titan editors became overly wrathful. Since I had enjoyed the aforementioned book a great deal I decided to read one of Naomi Novik’s earlier works: His Majesty’s Dragon the first in a series of Gun-Powder fantasy novels.
I’d read alt-history before, yet my closest read in the genre outside of some hit and miss Steampunk had been the incredible Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke, which relied on a magick closer in many ways to what she had accomplished so well with Uprooted… Continue reading