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Posts Tagged ‘feedback’

Irish novelist Catherine Ryan Howard (a.k.a. Catherine Caffeinated) is nearing the end of a blockbuster blogging bonanza to generate excitement for the North American release of her suspense/thriller, Distress Signals, on 2 February. Her blog is an excellent source of information and ideas about getting published as she has experience with both traditional and self-publishing.

Earlier this week she posted a thoughtful discourse about receiving and responding to editorial feedback, which led me to search the blog’s archives for previous posts about editing. To save you the trouble of a similar search, here’s an annotated list of relevant links.

Why hire an editor?
https://catherineryanhoward.com/2013/03/28/why-hire-an-editor/
Guest post that explains how editing is not about whether your writing is good but about making sure you put your very best work out there.

Structural editing for self-publishers
https://catherineryanhoward.com/2013/04/04/structural-editing-for-self-publishers/
Guest post with useful information about structural (also called developmental) editing and suggestions for how to stay on budget without forgoing necessary feedback.

Copy-editors: what they really do
https://catherineryanhoward.com/2013/10/15/copy-editors-what-they-really-do/
Guest post that describes copy-editing as both comprehensive and indispensable in preparing a manuscript for publication.

Proofreading explained
https://catherineryanhoward.com/2013/10/17/proofreading-explained/
Guest post that explains how proofreading differs from other stages of manuscript preparation, with tips about ways to make the most of this highly specific editorial function.

How do you know when editorial feedback is right?
https://catherineryanhoward.com/2017/01/23/how-do-you-know-when-editorial-feedback-is-right/
A frank discussion of the joys and agonies of the editing process.

Be sure to look through the comments that follow these posts as well, because they contain pertinent questions and further discussion.

Here’s to always putting forth the very best work we can!

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Paranormal romance author Jami Gold’s blog (http://jamigold.com/blog/) is chock-full of great ideas and tools for writers. Her latest post on beta reading (Introducing the Beta Reading Worksheet!) offers tips that apply to critique groups as well. She lists a number of phrases that can help shape feedback into something both concrete and useful to the author. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • I don’t understand….
  • The detail seems….
  • The (character, setting, etc.) comes across as (feisty, depressing, important, etc.)
  • This (detail, phrase, etc.) conveys (irritation, happiness, etc.)
  • It’s not clear how (Sally got to the store, John sawed down the tree, etc.)
  • I would expect a character (with such and such a trait) to do/not do (such and such)
  • I’m confused about (what happens here, this character’s motivation, etc.)
  • I really liked…. *it’s very important to identify strengths!*

She specifically notes that “why” questions tend to bring out defensive responses. For that matter, questions of any kind encourage dialogue with the author, which isn’t the objective in a critique group. The author needs to be able to hear everything the group has to say, and answering questions takes us out of a listening mindset.

The post includes a worksheet that could be used by writers returning to their work for revision as well as by beta readers. Accompanying the worksheet is perhaps the most useful advice for any writer to keep in mind: take what works and don’t worry about the rest.

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