Monday, January 19, 2009

Feedback, An Important Tool For Any Writer

“Imagine a surgeon asking her family for feedback on the day's incisions. An exaggerated example, but it makes an important point: writers with good professional boundaries don't ask non-writers to validate their craft.” -- Marla Beck in Getting Useful Feedback - 6 Steps For Writers [I first read this in Worldwide Freelance Writer newsletter, Vol. X, Issue 2.
I received a comment a couple of years ago in response to a critique I did where the author wrote that my assessment of his story must be wrong because his whole family thought it was great. I responded and asked him how many members of his family were published authors. I never heard back.

I learned early on that friends and relatives were not reliable adjudicators of my writing. It helped to read what it was about a story that captured their attention, but I never received a negative observation. A sister-in-law once said my recent stories were macabre, but she read them anyway.

Online critique groups provide me with an opportunity to test how well a story works before I send it for publication. The members may not agree with, or like, everything I write; but they are able to articulate why a scene, paragraph, sentence, or word didn’t work for them in a way that allows me to determine what changes are needed to improve a story. This interaction has made me a better writer.

1 comment:

Sally Ferguson said...

Becoming a better writer is essential to anyone working at the craft. Good point!