It takes a certain amount of bravery to send your manuscript out into the world for feedback, but reviewing that feedback requires a fearlessness like you’ve never known. Even when the person giving feedback (like your book coach!) has taken great care to be respectful and constructive, discovering that your work is anything less than perfect can be difficult. Harrowing, even. But if you follow the tips below when reviewing your feedback, I guarantee the experience will be a rewarding and beneficial one.
It’s my job to help you improve your story, and the feedback I offer is given in the spirit of attempting to do just that. It is my promise to you that I will always provide honest and constructive feedback with compassion and understanding, so keep an open mind and receive it in the spirit in which it was given.
As a writer, you should learn to listen to your gut, because your intuition is mighty clever and will alert you to the presence of issues in your story. Make a note of your concerns or questions and be sure to express them to me when you submit your workbooks. If you’ve already submitted Workbook #1, take some time now to jot down any issues you had when you were completing the tasks.
When you read through your feedback, keep an eye out for any comments that address those concerns. Actively looking for insight and possible solutions to the problems you know are there will make the process of reading feedback a little less daunting. In fact, such feedback will likely motivate you start making improvements.
Occasionally, feedback will hurt. The idea of killing your darlings — words, scenes, characters — can be heartbreaking. But just because some feedback might be hard to hear doesn’t mean it isn’t helpful.
If you’ve received feedback before, you’ve likely had occasion to flat-out disregard some comments. Why is that, do you think? Is it because you’ve already considered the matter from every different angle and, as a result, have confidence that you’ve made the best decision? My guess is, absolutely.
Then why does some feedback, offered respectfully and constructively, hurt so much? Is the pain a sign that something is wrong, perhaps?
Consider physical pain. When you get a headache, it’s often a sign that you haven’t drunk enough water, or you’ve over-exhausted yourself. It’s your body’s way of alerting you to the fact that something is wrong and you need to correct your behaviour and/or self-care habits.
Perhaps when feedback causes us pain, it’s a sign that there is, in fact, a problem with an element of our story, only we couldn’t see it. Once we know it’s there, we can take action to rectify the issue and improve our story.
So, if feedback causes you pain, pay very close attention to it. It might just be the thing that helps you unlock the heart of your story.
Once you’ve reviewed your feedback, let it sit for a while — at least a day or two. You should take at least a day to ruminate on the insights you gain and let new ideas percolate before deciding on the best course of action. There’s no point rushing to make revisions only to release later that you should have taken a different approach.
As your book coach, it’s my job to ask questions so I know what you’re trying to achieve, and then to give you the knowledge and skills you need to achieve it. I want only for you to make informed decisions about how to improve your story, but at the end of the day, you know your story best. You’re under no obligation to follow advice or make changes — but considering your investment in this program, you should at least consider each point made.
If you’ve reviewed your feedback and followed the tips above but feel overwhelmed, or if you need to seek clarification, ask questions or run new ideas past an invested listener, this is your opportunity to debrief with a romance story expert — one who knows your story and what you’re trying to achieve.
We can jump on a video call to chat about your submission. While our chat will be fairly informal, to get the most out of a 60-minute debrief session, it is best to come prepared. Jot down any notes relevant to the feedback you received. Have your questions to hand, as well as answers to questions I noted in your feedback and possible solutions to problems uncovered in my analysis.
I understand how daunting a face-to-face video chat can be, so if you would prefer to exchange emails or direct messages instead, I can accommodate that. Just bear in mind that when using this communication method fewer issues can be discussed during the 60-minute session.
If you don’t wish to take up this opportunity, that is absolutely your prerogative. You might be feeling confident enough to independently revise the tasks you’ve completed, and that’s fine. You can always come back to this page if you change your mind at a later stage.
If you wish to schedule a debrief session for the tasks completed in your recent submission, simply follow the steps below.
Now that you have received feedback and know how to improve your story concept, you should go ahead and make any necessary revisions to the tasks you’ve already completed so that you can move forward with confidence.