I have been thinking hard about feedback and how to handle it. If you are an unpublished writer and a member of the RNA this feedback is something you get used to it year in year out as a member of the New Writers Scheme (NWS). This scheme means that every year you have the opportunity to submit a manuscript to the scheme to be read by a published author. They give you feedback in the form of a report. If they really love it and think it is ready it gets put forward for a second read which means another author reads it and if they agree with the first the manuscript is forwarded to an agent or a publisher by the RNA. An instant introduction.
This year for the first year ever I actually managed to have a completed manuscript to send in and other than being the first YA novel they had ever had through the scheme I got my feedback very quickly. And this year I had some very good feedback. Things I can work with to take my book further.
But what happens when your feedback isn't what you've hoped for? This can happen through something like the NWS, from a critique partner, an agent or even a publisher. I think learning how to process not so great feedback is one of the biggest learning lessons of being a writer. My first NWS report was a stinker. The heroine was unsympathetic, the hero was wooden, the plot ridiculous but there was one grain in there which kept me going... I could write a kiss. Phew! But I do remember crying as I read the report. I remember throwing it across the room. I just about remember getting drunk at the pub. A few days later I picked it up again and read through it again. And this time I took it in. I understood that the report was exactly what I needed to see. I had a long way to go.
Over the years I have learnt more from having people comment on my work than I have from anything else. When someone highlights that one problem that you hoped you had hidden with sleight of hand and a fancy smokescreen and you have to admit to yourself that you still have a long way to go. Or to that wonderful feeling when someone tells you they loved something you wrote.
However I have heard some horror stories of people not dealing with feedback very well. Of sulks and temper tantrums. If you don't agree with what someone has said thank them politely and then ignore it.
Do you ask for feedback? What do you do if you don't agree with it?
Come back on Sunday when Susanna will be posting