This is part of a series, 30 Days to A Stronger Novel
You need feedback on your novel. That’s a given.
Be careful who you ask for feedback. There are a variety of critiquing styles
Besides a good critique group, or an editor you can “trust with a draft,” you can also use “naive” readers, or those who know nothing about the writing process.
For these readers, you have some simple instructions.
1. Read the story and enjoy it. But pay attention to how you are feeling as you read.
2. When you come to a place that is confusing to you, write a big C in the margin.
3. When you come to a place that is boring, write a big B in the margin.
4. When you come to something that you don’t believe would happen in this story, put a big D in the margin.
That’s it. You don’t want their ideas on how to make it better. You don’t want them to mark misspelled words or punctuation. Oh, OK, if they are obsessive and it makes them feel better–no, even then, that’s not their job. Their only job is to pay attention to their feelings as they read.
Now, you can’t argue with their opinion. Nor, can you ignore their opinion. It’s simply how they felt as they read and you must consider if other readers will feel the same.
Critique group, trusted editor, “naive” readers, or reading aloud to kids–each method of getting feedback has pros and cons. The important thing is to get feedback of some kind. Writing is communication and you must check how well your communication efforts are working.
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