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Author Topic: The art of giving feedback - reading challenge 2014  (Read 749 times)
mare
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« on: May 09, 2014, 04:12:56 PM »

As we get closer to starting this challenge and choosing the stories we want to read, I thought I'd start this thread mainly for the people who consider giving feedback one of the hardest parts of the challenge.

Sometimes as a reader it can be tricky trying to figure out what it is that you'd like to say about the chapter or story you have just read. Nine out of ten times when the question of feedback comes up in threads, people say "I don't leave feedback because I don't want to sound dumb." or "I don't know what to say."

The truth is, feedback is really the life blood for most of the writers of fan fiction. We don't get paid for doing this and most of us write because we love to but what really keeps a good portion of us going is hearing from the people who are actually reading our stuff. Everyone gets excited when they see they got a review. I don't care whether you say they mean nothing to you or not. And it does make us happy to see a "Can't wait for the next chapter!" but most of the time, writers are looking for a little more than that. I know, speaking personally, if I've just posted a chapter with a huge reveal or plot twist, I want to hear the reader's take on it. Whether it be good or bad and I think most of us feel the same way. 

As part of this challenge, you are required to leave feedback on all chapters as you read them and one thing that will not count as feedback is the phrase "Great job! Can't wait for the next chapter!!"

These are just things that I do:

When I am leaving feedback for someone, I try to think back to what I enjoyed most in the chapter and make sure to mention that. Sometimes it's a huge plot point, and sometimes it's something more subtle. Just to let the writer know you read it and were paying attention. If I find a line especially poignant, I may quote it and say something about that as well.

I also like the writer to get to know me as a reader, so I sometimes include personal information if it relates to something I read in the story. I have met many people I now consider friends just from doing this! You'd be surprised at how quickly you can make a connection with someone just by giving them feedback.

We as writers also realize that sometimes there isn't much to say i.e. the filler chapters. That's when a "that was good" might suffice. But even then, there is probably something more you could say.

The hardest thing to do is give a negative comment, but again we all take the good with the bad and in order for us to grow, we have to hear what didn't work as well as what did. When leaving constructive criticism, it's important to make sure you mention at least one good thing first before mentioning what needs work. If all you do from one chapter to the next is list all the flaws in the story it will detract the author from writing or even wanting to read what you have to say. Even if there's not one thing you can find good about the story, be creative and think of something! "I like the title," or "where did you come up with the girls' name? It's so original"...anything like that would work!

Also authors should be responding to the feedback they get! Anyone who knows me (and most of you do lol) KNOW this is my biggest pet peeve ever!! I will stop reading a story if the author doesn't respond to their reviews. Sometimes I will actually peak at their reviews just to see if they respond to them before even opening a story. I just think it's rude not to respond to someone who not only took the time to read one of your chapters but also managed to leave you feedback. It takes five seconds to type the word thank you! Actually less than that unless you're typing with one finger. lol

Okay getting off my soapbox.

I'd love it if people post their tips and suggestions as well as maybe some examples of feedback people have left you that you found really helpful or motivating!

Smiley
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Writing is something you do alone. Its a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don't want to make eye contact while doing it. ~ John Green

Carter
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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2014, 07:25:27 AM »

I am one of those people that has a hard time giving constructive criticism even though I know a lot of people like to hear it maybe I just can't stand to be mean =( lol but when I am reading a good story from a popular writer that has a lot of reviews and such I almost feel imitated to write something cause their story is just so good and I feel mine aren't as good maybe its just my way of stupid thinking lol...but I always try and say something good so they will continue to write.

I took such a long break from writing fan fiction( I never wish I had but I had a stupid ex that wouldn't even let me write OR listen to BSB but thats another subject lol) that with my stories I think I had a hard time getting back into it and all the readers I DID have, are no longer writing/ reading and with some of the new stuff I haven't had as much luck with some of my newer stories as far as reviews and such and its hard for me to write when I feel I am not getting enough readers if that makes any sense Wink but some of my older stories have a lot of reviews and such which made me write a little bit more..but I also didn't have two kids...7 dogs, 20 chickens and three rabbits to take care of LOL!

And mare...I am just like you when it comes to reviews...I always look at the reviews first before I even START a story don't know why just do...and I always try and respond to someone who has written a review its just a nice gesture I guess if they are willing and nice enough to respond than you should say thank you Wink

Anyway..now that I have talked and talked and talked I just wanted to post my experiences with "attempting" to give criticism  feedback and the struggles I personally have had receiving feedback from stories,but I think this challenge is good for me to attempt to get out of my own personal shell and give feedback as well as hoping to receive it and putting myself out there (i have a hard time doing that).


 
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~Carter~

mare
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2014, 07:51:01 AM »

^ I have had the same thing happen to me as well. I was writing fairly regularly when I first started out and had a whole slew of readers and then I disappeared for awhile. When I came back, most of the people who were my constant readers had left the fandom so I felt like I was starting from scratch. It takes a lot of patience but I do firmly believe that if you are a good writer, eventually you'll rebuild that read and review count again. My last story saw a whole new set of names I haven't even seen before. I was pleased! Of course there were still some familiar names as well!

As far as the 'popular' people and being afraid to give reviews, most of them feel the same exact way you do. They rely on feedback too and want to know the good as well as the bad. The worst thing in the world for a writer is when they are just yes'd to death, even if something they are writing isn't very good. People take criticism with a grain of salt so don't be afraid to share your thoughts. It's hard hearing something negative, but we all need to hear it from time to time. The worst thing ever is just to not say anything because you assume "Well they are popular and get more than enough reviews, they don't need mine." You'd be surprised, honestly lol (Now if these people don't bother responding to your feedback, screw them! LOL) Smiley

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Writing is something you do alone. Its a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don't want to make eye contact while doing it. ~ John Green

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