Monday, August 19, 2013

Receiving Editorial Feedback

Do you need a spoonful of sugar to help those truthful/opinionated critique group comments go down? Keep reading. I loved this WriteOnCon article on How to Handle Editorial Feedback by author Dianne Salerni. Basically, Salerni says she goes through the following six stages when she reads feedback on her manuscript.
Stage 1: No! She’s wrong! She is absolutely and completely wrong about this!
Stage 2: Crap. She’s right.
Stage 3: But I can’t fix it! Changing this will have a domino effect and make the entire plot unworkable. It cannot be fixed!
Stage 4: Oh, wait. I see how to fix it.
Stage 5: You know, this change is pretty good. I’m liking it.
Stage 6: This is brilliant! Why didn't I do it this way in the first place?!

I've never analyzed it into stages like this, but yeah. Changes are either easy-fixes where I instantly see the improvement or I follow these steps to some degree. Here is more wisdom from Salerni: “I have come to accept these stages. I also understand that it’s not possible for me to skip the scary and upsetting ones, even though I know the later, more positive stages are coming. The trick is NOT to respond to the critique while you are in the throes of Stage 1 or Stage 3!”

We newbie writers need a lot of things divulged to us and a multiplicity of readers to compare which spots they keep pointing out. Feedback is our friend. It's a valuable learning tool. It lets us perfect our craft. The already mentioned article includes a great quote from Neil Gaiman. “Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.” 
YOU are the one who best knows your story and how to work the magic it needs to bring your manuscript to the next level. Bring the feedback on.


Summer Ross said...

Oh my gosh- LOL I can see myself go through these stages. Thanks for posting!

Renae Weight Mackley said...

I think there is a little bit of all of us in these stages. Thanks for visiting, Summer.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Yes, sometimes you do end up going a direction that leads you to brilliant. Other times, they don't get what you were going for. That's not necessarily their fault of just seeing it differently. It can be an issue of how well you wrote it. Either way, you need to consider things and figure out how to fix it. Because something's not quite right yet.

Renae Weight Mackley said...

I'm hoping for whatever leads to brilliant, Donna, but you are right that it doesn't always follow those steps--at least not until more revisions. The main thing is that we fix what is not right.