The give and take of Feedback
Whenever I do crits I’m at pains to make the point that what I’m giving is my point of view, my opinion. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s up to the writer to act on what s/he is given to work with. I guess we all know that but sometimes it’s very easy to respond to somebody’s comment just because we can. I know in my case, I over-edited the opening chapter of Die a Dry Death because of a series of comments on Authonomy. Fortunately, I had an editor who suggested I put it back the way it was.
One thing to remember about opinions is that some really are worth more than others. People who read the genre, writers who have a similar style, people who’ll take the time to read thoroughly and think through their feedback. And of course, those who’ll be honest without being derogatory.
But there are some types of feedback I will take note of every time – what I do, having taken note, is another matter. Please, please tell me if you read a section of my work and think…
Time line: ‘Eh? How’s that possible? The hero only just left Timbuktu.”
Plot holes: ‘Er… how could she possibly know that?’
Out of character: ‘He’s going to do WHAT? You’ve gotta be kidding.’
Implausible: ‘That’s a bit hard to believe.’
Transition: ‘Eh? How did we get here?’
The most valuable feedback of all? What you get back from an agent who passes on a full but takes the time to tell you what they did and did not like. That really is Yttrium.