I have finally been successful in getting some feedback on the new stories that I have been working on post ‘Amelie’.
This feedback falls into two categories; peer and professional.
I have been late to the party with peer feedback but have finally got with the programme and joined a local SCBWI critique group run by fellow author, Kate Poels. This has been a wholly positive experience despite the feedback being frank and honest rather than necessarily wholly positive (-; Kate runs a tight ship and we are all encouraged to give helpful, constructive feedback on each other’s work. We’re not all picture book authors so it’s been interesting for me to get an insight into the process of writing for older children too. It doesn’t hurt that we meet once a month in a bar either! I was also lucky enough to attend the SCBWI conference in Winchester at the end of 2016 and took part in the fringe critique group event, ably facilitated by Juliet Clare Bell. This was a small group of people that I had never met before but we had all looked at each others stories beforehand and shared feedback on the day. What a talented bunch they were too! I’m so glad I went as it meant I got to know a few people at the beginning of the conference. I learnt as much from hearing the feedback on other peoples stories as from my own. A really valuable experience! I would encourage any aspiring writer to think about joining SCWBI and getting together with other writers in your area so that you can share feedback, tips and gossip.
Feedback from peers is helpful but it is also really enlightening to get a professional opinion on your work. Literary consultants, agents and editors know their industry. They know what is selling and the moment and what is likely to be selling two or three years down the line. They are not just concerned with the quality of your writing but with what will sell. Different professionals may also have widely differing views on your work of genius!
In a spirit of catharsis I thought I would share some of the varied professional feedback I have received on my published and unpublished work. To spare anyone’s blushes I will not disclose who gave each piece of feedback!
‘Your writing is strong and the tone and pitch were just right for this readership.’
‘I enjoyed your story very much…’
‘I really liked your voice…’ *punches air*
THE BAD (disappointing, anyway)
‘…but I’m not convinced about it’s commercial potential.’
‘…but I think it would be judged a little quiet by publishers.’ *reaches for the wine*
AND THE UGLY
‘Well, at least there are no spelling mistakes.’
So be prepared for anything! Clutch onto any positive feedback you get and try to be constructive with the negative… at least I can spell!