5 Reactions to Novel Feedback


Yep. You gotta get feedback on your novel and you gotta act on it. On everything? Yep. But what if. . .

Yes! Oh! No? Uh-oh! Huh?

Okay. Here are five reactions I’ve had to recent feedback: Yes! Oh! No? Uh-oh! Huh?

  • Yes! It’s great when feedback confirms what you were already thinking needed work. You knew this area was weak, and sure enough, the reader confirmed it. These changes or revisions to your novel are made easier by this confirmation.
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/donshall/3877269963/

  • Oh! These are unexpected, new ideas for ways to solve a problem in a particular way. I love it when the reader gets what I’m doing in this novel and suggests a perfect revision. These are often ideas about adding, omitting, changing or rearranging.

    For example, one comment recently was to take a line from page 76 and use it as the opening line. I’m still not sure it will work, but it’s shaken me out of my rut on that first line and now I’m more likely to find the right place to start.

  • No? Now what? The hardest comments are those which contradict what I set out to do. Did the reader just not understand the story, or am I not understanding my story? It’s confusing for a while and hard to decide because, in the end, I must trust my own judgment – something every novel faces, but something that takes courage. Fortunately, I’m not getting lots of these, but even one throws me for a loop for a while.
  • Uh-Oh! I hate it when I know what I meant, but the reader clearly didn’t get it when they read this draft of the novel. That means the story is still stuck in my head and it’s not on paper yet. Clarity. That’s the goal when facing these type comments. Not changing my ideas, or abandoning them. Just clarifying them, so the reader gets it. THEN, we’ll see if the next reader of the next draft has another reaction. But first, I want my idea to be clear to the reader before I abandon or modify it.
  • Huh? I love these wild card comments. My first response is, where did THAT come from? Sometimes, these odd-ball comments on the novel can spark a fresher, more unusual, more interesting way of showing the story. It’s a revision I would never have thought of but – WOW! – what a great idea.

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