As we prepare for the “10,000 & 10” Novel Writing Challenge, which involves writing 10,000 words and asking 10 people to read your work, some are wondering what, exactly, their readers will be required to do.
The only requirement is that, at some point during the month, they read what you wrote. Beyond that, you are welcome to ask for feedback as you write, and they are welcome to provide it, but it’s certainly not a requirement. Some writers love getting feedback as they work (think blog comments, for example!), others want little to none until their manuscripts are complete.
So it’s really up to you. We don’t want anyone—writers or readers—feeling uncomfortable or pressured. We just want you to write, and let all those great ideas flow out through your keyboard!
But if you do want feedback, what’s the best way for readers to give it? And how should you receive it?
Read on for some handy-dandy tips!
Special thanks to Challenge participant Liberty Henwick for the spot-on tips that follow. Her blog, Liberty on the Lighter Side, is a must-follow assortment of beautifully written pieces on a variety of topics: parenting, life in Ireland, her upbringing in South Africa—even grocery shopping! Check it out.
Here’s her advice.
Advice to the writer (you!):
- Have a thick skin and be willing to listen to the suggestions your readers make with an open mind, so that they feel at liberty to be completely honest. You don’t want them to hide the painful truths!
- Don’t take criticism personally, it’s not you but your writing that is being critiqued. It’s not unlikely that your work will need improvement—it will hardly ever be perfect the first time.
- You don’t have to take all advice on board. Sometimes you can stand by what you write if you feel strongly that there’s a good enough reason for it.
Advice to the reader on how to give honest and constructive criticism:
- Highlight any confusing passages and language that doesn’t make sense.
- Point out sections that are boring.
- Write down questions you have about the story so far that you’d like to see answered before the ending.
Couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks, Liberty!
Do you have any advice for tackling a writing challenge, or giving and receiving feedback? Share it with us! E-mail it to me—I’ll post it on this blog and feature your name and a link to your writing.