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How to Give and Get Great Feedback: Really Useful Links by Ellen Brickley

Article by Ellen Brickley ©.
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Last week, we talked about finding your community as a writer. Once you’ve found that community, you may be lucky and find some of the superheroes known as critique partners or beta readers there too. So where do you go from there? How do you give and receive great feedback on works-in-progress?

The first step is to make sure that everyone involved knows what to expect – ask lots of questions! How long will it generally take to turn around a full novel? Do you and your critique partner read each other’s genres? That doesn’t need to be a deal-breaker, but it can save a lot of time if genre conventions don’t need to be explained. Do you all have a similar level of writing experience? Can you stand each other? There’s a great six-point checklist here covering these issues and others.

Once you’re getting feedback on your work, what can you expect? On Huffington Post, five authors outline their experiences with feedback – the importance of choosing the right person, and seeking feedback at the right time (hint: Nanowrimo participants – the first of December is generally not the right time. Trust me on this!). There’s some good advice on critiquing and beta-reading etiquette here.

Every writer dreams of handing their novel over to a wise person who can make it perfect – but what happens when you’re that person? Nownovel.com has an excellent guide to tailoring your critique to your audience: if someone has shared their first draft with you, it’s a different task than critiquing something that’s one step away from being query-ready.

Critique partners can be the wind beneath your wings, the extra shot in your morning latte, your safety net, your cheerleading squad, your shoulder to cry on and your Fellowship of the Ring. I’m grateful for mine every day, and I wish you all the best of luck finding yours.

(c) Ellen Brickley

Ellen Brickley is a Dublin-based, chai-latte-powered novelist, essayist, and civil servant who can't believe she gets paid to write sometimes. She holds an MA in American Literature from UCD, and has provided content for Explorer Publishing and Lionbridge Technologies. Her essays have appeared in Banshee literary magazine. She is currently hard at work on revisions for a YA novel.