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Have you used feedback from Book Country to make changes to your work?
Colleen Lindsay
Posted: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 12:01 PM
Joined: 2/27/2011
Posts: 356

Curious about how many of you are using the feedback that members give you to make real changes to your work? I'd love to hear some real-life examples of feedback that worked for you and why.

Community Manager

GD Deckard
Posted: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 12:18 PM
Oh good grief, Yes! And not just grammatical corrections or POV collapses. Book Country provides the extremely valuable service of peer review.

Constructive criticism is always seriously examined. But, when an experienced writer tells me, "Overall, this is really good storytelling...." I am encouraged to improve my story telling. In a positive way, Book Country actually enables better writing.
A J Hart
Posted: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 2:44 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 26

I got some really good advice on how to make sure my dialogue is believable (reading only the dialogue outloud) and its really helped me out. I had no idea that the dialouge sucked because I couldnt look at it form the outside. After taking said advice I realized reading the dialogue was the equivalent to chewing on cardboard and made some improvements. 

Angela Martello
Posted: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 6:21 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394

Absolutely! I've read and reread my work so many times, I think I had actually stopped READING the individual words. One reviewer pointed out a lot of unnecessary words (mostly adverbs); another pointed out some rather long dialog tags that really disrupted the flow of the dialog. Plus, some of the discussion threads have been very helpful (for example, crutch words). I hadn't realized how many times I used certain words or phrases until I actively searched for them across my books. It was quite an eye-opening experience.

On a larger scale, one reviewer had pointed at what he saw as plot holes and failed logic. Basically, again, I had worked on these books for so long and have the story and all its plot details in my head that I inadvertently left some of them out (especially in the first chapter, which I wrote last). And another reviewer helped me see some finer points with respect to POV and made me aware of places where I had the dreaded INFO DUMP.

All in all, I have found nuggets of gold in each peer review. And the discussion threads are an incredible resource - filled with tips and insights and downright entertaining, too.

LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 8:43 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662

Of course I have used people's feedback! Why else would I be here? I have list going right now as I work on my novel Hands of Ash. I've taken all the points from the peer reviews. Currently I'm adding another 12 chapters that were originally planned for the second book because many people thought it ended too early. I'm also tweaking my much loved shorts to make them even better.

I'm still looking for feedback if anyone is willing to give it.
Carl E Reed
Posted: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 12:28 AM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608

Absolutely, I've made changes to my work—both large and small—based upon constructive reviewer feedback I've received on Book Country. (And every time I alter a manuscript in accordance with good criticism, I make it a point to let the reviewer know and thank them for checking in with their opinion. I’ve done this dozens of times; too many to relist here in detail.)

As a side comment, I must say that the community engaged in the work of writing and critical review here is like nowhere else: informed, opinionated, passionate, but also good-humored, frighteningly intelligent and not so easily pigeon-holed into rigid stylistic categories. There's a broad mix of personalities, tastes and experiences checking in and I love the over-all free-wheeling but professionally-focused vibe of the site. In many ways getting reviewed on Book Country and corresponding with the reviewer (either in direct reply to their criticism, a later review of the critiquer's own writing or in the many discussion topics currently posted) is almost better than attaining a paid publication credit elsewhere—for one thing, you have a lot more interaction with your reader! Which is very nice indeed, for those of us struggling to reach an audience in search of new variations on old weird fiction tropes.  

Jay Greenstein
Posted: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 1:24 AM
Sure. No matter how many times you edit you'll miss things. And my view is that it's not what's suggested that matters most, but that the person was impelled to comment, which meant that the prose wasn't doing its job.

There's not a critique I've gotten, here or elsewhere, that hasn't been appreciated and helpful in some way.

Laura Dwyer
Posted: Wednesday, March 7, 2012 3:30 PM
Joined: 1/10/2012
Posts: 192

Absolutely! I've only gotten a few reviews for both of my works, but through those and the discussions here I've learned so much and put it, I hope, to good use in my writing. Getting links to articles (thanks, Jay), as well as discussions on avoiding filter words and showing, not telling, have been eye-opening and oh so helpful. It's also allowed me to have a more critical eye when reading and reviewing other folks' manuscripts. It's a wonderful community. 
Mimi Speike
Posted: Saturday, March 10, 2012 5:10 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014

Everyone who has reviewed my work has alerted me to the same set of problems. The evaluations have certainly caused me to reassess my approach.

I have been very fortunate in my astute reviewers, but one person in particular has made suggestions that not only address my problems, but that add a new, exciting, comic dimension. I cannot dump the highly detailed faux-history, (irksome, I'm told), it is the armature on which my plot is built. But I can inject it in a more creative way.

This is a case of the carrot and the stick. The criticism is the stick. The madcap fix is the carrot, and a very tempting carrot it is.

I am open to all views, but am absolutely enthralled by the ideas of one who seems to be very much on my wiggy wavelength, JoeTeeVee.

Alexander Hollins
Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 6:49 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 416

I have, the general consensus was that I was inconsistent with levels of detail in my scenes, I've tried to trim wordy places, and spruce up the sparse ones.

Colleen Lindsay
Posted: Monday, June 18, 2012 10:41 PM
Joined: 2/27/2011
Posts: 356

Bumping this up!

Nicki Hill
Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 8:11 AM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175

Definitely - that's why I joined, and my favorite thing is coming on and seeing a new review!  Right now, I'm more focused on just getting the book done first, and then going back and editing, but I did rewrite the beginning of my first chapter a little while back because of some criticism that it was a little boring.  Since changing it, the same reviewer came back and said that it was much better, so it's nice to feel like I moved in the right direction with it.  I have another set of critiques that I plan to incorporate into my next round of edits, but they're going to be a little more time-consuming, so it's still going to be a little while before those show up - but they're so important, so they'll definitely be included!  I love being a part of this community - dare I admit that I'm on here more frequently now than I am on Facebook?  Let me just tell you - that's saying something! 

Angela Martello
Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 5:56 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394

Definitely spend more time on this site than I do Facebook!

Alexandria Brim
Posted: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 12:59 AM
Joined: 10/20/2011
Posts: 353

Like Nikki, I'm more focused on finishing my manuscript than revisions. But that isn't to say that Book Country hasn't helped me! The reviews I've gotten so far have been encouraging and challenging. They've made me ask questions I may not have asked otherwise. They've also proven a few fears unfounded, especially when my readers have picked up on something I was afraid they might not.

The discussion boards have also helped. For example, I used to go crazy with tagging my dialogue. But reading the topics in the Dialogue section helped me adjust and make my writing better.
Michelle Hiscox
Posted: Friday, July 5, 2013 11:16 AM
Joined: 4/4/2012
Posts: 17

Book Country member reviews have been invaluable to me.  I've received constructive feedback, and used it, on multiple aspects of my writing.  This includes the following; point of view, overuse of adjectives, character-centrism, plot holes/weaknesses, dialogue punctuation, passive voice and many others. When reviewers point out aspects they think I need to work on, I not only take their input but I do research on what they've pointed out, I find examples, I read other books with careful attention to those aspects and make sure for myself that it's valid.  Which it almost always has been.  By putting in the extra research and effort after receiving feedback from members, I've been able to fine-tune my work without losing what makes it mine.

I think my writing has drastically improved with the use of reviews, and the support people are willing to provide amazes me (Michael Hagan, David Downer, and Rosie Ward, I'm looking at you).  

Most of all, every time someone says something like 'I read every word' or 'or would have read the entire MS if it was up' or 'I love your character'), I want to make it better.  I want to finish it.  It's the boost I need sometimes to keep going, and has provided me with that incentive time and time again.

All I can say is thank you.

Brandi Larsen
Posted: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 2:10 PM
Joined: 6/18/2012
Posts: 229

I'm so glad to hear that the feedback you're getting from your writing peers is working.


Are you connecting with the writers who give you feedback? Do you continue the conversation over private message?


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