Read reviews for your story

When reading reviews for your own story, always remember that the reviewers are trying to help you improve your story. (If it’s obvious they’re simply bullying or tearing you down personally, Report the review.) Expect to see more things to improve than things a reviewer likes. Most stories, even after you’ve made changes after the first draft, are still going to need work to really shine.

Some reviewers are going to offer advice on almost every aspect of your story. Don’t be discouraged! Keep in mind that some suggestions will be very minor while others are more significant. You may find that many of the suggestions you receive are just tweaks to your story. The quantity of remarks given should not distract you from discerning which things need re-work and which things just need minor adjustments.

Embrace ideas for improvements! Keep some things in mind:

  • You have completed a story and are getting feedback. Completing a story is an accomplishment. Being able to receive detailed feedback is an opportunity that enormous numbers of people never receive.
  • Someone took the time and effort to give you feedback. In a time such as now when people have so many options to spend their time, the fact that they thought your story (and you) were worth their investment should be very encouraging.
  • When someone says they like something about your story, they’re not just being polite. If they find value in your story, especially if it’s something that you thought had value as well, take the feedback as sincere. It means you’ve done something right. There are no scoreboards in writing, so getting positive feedback on an aspect of your story can be considered your own scoring.

You don’t have to take all feedback as commandments. You are the final arbitrator of whether any piece of feedback is legitimate or wrong. You are under zero obligation to make changes based on someone else’s suggestion.

However, don’t dismiss any feedback without giving it serious consideration. Even if you decide not to make a large change to your story, the fact that someone thought it needed improvement in an area should make you think through if there is any way you can incorporate their feedback. Many times writers believe they have successfully communicated something only to find that their readers missed the point or didn’t make the connection or didn’t like the way something was written. Your goal in telling a story is to make the reader think and feel the same thing as you and if they didn’t think and feel that way, it’s likely that your story really does need adjustments to better communicate.

Remember the adage, “Writing is Re-Writing.” You should expect that your first effort will need tweaking. Taking the attitude that all your reviewers have your best interest at heart should help you be grateful for their suggestions and comments.

Your next draft of your story is going to be better than your first!