First feedback is in – it’s good, but there’s work to do

One of my primary editors decided to read through my book once so he could give me overall feedback before going scene-by-scene. I got his initial feedback last night.

The verdict: good, can be great, but there are some issues that need dealing with. When I wasn’t being irrationally pessimistic, this is about what I expected to hear. What surprised me was some of my reactions.

When I first heard he had sent the feedback but before I saw it, I was scared. Heart pounding, worst scenarios speeding through my mind, etc. I’m sure I would have started sweating had I not read it so quickly. Okay, phew, the feedback wasn’t bad. I can deal with this.

Then I got depressed for a while, and that’s what surprised me. “What the hell!” I found myself thinking. This is what I expected. I have no right to expect my first book to be perfect on arrival. Why the hell was I getting down now?

I later decided it was because while I logically knew my work was bound to have flaws I couldn’t yet see, my irrational self still hoped it was good to go and all my decisions had been right. Silly, yes. Predictably human though.

What I enjoyed the most though, was the feeling later on. Where once I had so much uncertainty, now there was less. Someone had read it and not hated it! Yes, it was one voice. Yes, my other editor could come back saying it’s drivel. Yes, my proofreaders and all of you and the readers who have never heard of my yet might reject it as mediocre crap later on. There’s still plenty of uncertainty left for me to fear. Yet now I wasn’t alone. Now someone else had peeked into my world, and liked what they saw.

I immediately started brainstorming, asking questions, figuring out how to make it better. It was energizing! I can already tell that I’m going to need to be careful. I need to still trust my own instincts, trust myself to make changes and improvements where I feel they’re right. I can’t lean on my editors too much, because it’s still my world above all else. But now I’m not alone.

4 thoughts on “First feedback is in – it’s good, but there’s work to do

  1. Congrats on getting past this round! Hope you get published in the near future.

    Okay, how to start this…

    I’ve finished writing a fantasy short story (1st time >_<), but I'm not sure how to proceed. I'd like others to read and comment, but my friends and family aren't enthusiastic about it.
    Do I try posting it on the Internet? (Fearful of being copied, though) Or can I submit it to the publishers as it is?

    How did you proceed, Stilts?

    • You do need feedback. If your friends and family aren’t willing to do it – or aren’t well versed in enough fiction to provide substantive feedback – then you can turn to people you’ve met over the net. I wouldn’t just post it out in the wild for any schmuck to comment on, though, not until it’s on a 3rd draft or later. For the time being I would try to make connections with people who you think might be interested in helping. For instance, though we’ve never met IRL, I may end up asking a few of my fellow RandomC writers if they’d like to read my work prior to release.

      THAT SAID, if it’s only your first draft, stop. Put it aside. ignore it for a couple of months and write something else, then come back and edit it. Your first draft is probably shit (I know mine are), so it’s only your second draft that may be fit for human consumption. Give it some more work before you inflict it on someone else.

      Remember, the draft this post was over? That was the 2nd complete draft. No one else has seen the first, and let me tell you, I’m glad. It needed work.

      • Thanks for the feedback. =)

        Mine is 2nd draft, maybe? The chapters were written with a few weeks gap between them due to writing block and/or work. The result was each chapter read like they were written by different authors. I had go over them a few times to homogenize them.

        Let’s say I’ve received comments from my few friends and amended the draft. Which publisher do I send them to? Google only turns up the big names. May I know the name of your publisher?

        With a few months between drafts, seems like writers need to have the patience of wine-makers.

        • I don’t have a publisher. Scroll back through my old posts and you’ll probably see that I plan to self publish, because I see no reason to cede my destiny to a gatekeeper, not when the tools exist for me to reach an audience on my own and I’ll be far more invested in making my story a success than any publisher would be.

          Don’t give control of your work to someone else without good reason. Just realize that if you really want to be an author, you’ll have to learn to market and sell. No one will do it for you, and even if they do, they won’t do it nearly as well as you could.

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