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The best feedback you've gotten lately is?
Robert C Roman
Posted: Friday, May 27, 2011 12:02 PM
Joined: 3/12/2011
Posts: 383

Every now and then I get a piece of feedback, either from an editor or a beta reader, and it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to the tips of my toes.  Me being me, some of those bits of feedback aren't what you'd normally see as 'positive', but hey, we're all special little snowflakes, right?

At any rate, I got one this morning from a beta reader who was sending me emails all day yesterday on Crowbar Girl (shameless plug, the current draft is up on here).  Her final email from last night reads, "It's almost 2am. I finished. I hate you with every fiber of my being. That was so ugly, awful, heroic and despicable, all at once."

Whoa.  To pull someone along until 2 AM when they had to be up in the morning, as well as getting that strong of an emotional response, especially given all the flaws I know are still in it.  Just...  Wow...


Anyhow!  My point in posting (other than gloating over such a great piece of praise) is to ask you guys - what's the best feedback (in terms of giving you warm fuzzies) YOU have gotten on your work?

J Boone Dryden
Posted: Tuesday, August 2, 2011 1:35 PM
Joined: 5/7/2011
Posts: 42

I recently received a rejection from Abyss & Apex that in one sentence told me exactly what was wrong with the story:

And I quote: "The story is long for the amount of action."

I was actually giddy. This is immensely helpful because the story has given me problems (and six rejections), and now I kind of have a better idea of a) what's not quite working with it and that b) it might not be quite as speculative as I had originally thought.

Anyway, I, too, thoroughly appreciate when I get truly honest and constructive feedback on a work.
Robert C Roman
Posted: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 12:44 AM
Joined: 3/12/2011
Posts: 383

I hear you! Feedback from an actual editor / publisher is cool because while you may have the most honest, well read beta readers in the world, they won't know what editors and agents are looking for *right now*
Carl E Reed
Posted: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 2:42 AM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608

I can't tell you the number of rejections I've gotten from editors at genre magazines (fantasy, horror & science-fiction) who've said things like: "You have a high literary style. I hate high literary style."

The best weirdly-encouraging rejection I ever got came, appropriately enough, from WEIRD TALES magazine. Rejecting "The Strange & Curious Tale of Professor Robert Howard Wilson" the editor closed with, "Good luck with your novel." Novel! How I treasured that. . . .
Danielle Bowers
Posted: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 3:55 AM
Joined: 3/16/2011
Posts: 280

The best feedback I've gotten has been from RJBlain as she's known here on Book Country. She can dig right into a piece of work and pull up all weak points, mistakes and plot problems. At the same time she'll point out the good parts, strengths and good character development. In short, she's a wonderful person to get feedback from.

LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 5:37 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662

The best feedback I ever got was from my college professor for creative writing. He knew how to look at your work and tell exactly what the strong points were and what the weak points were. I'm a better writer because of him.

Carl E Reed's response to "Principium" is a close second because what he said showed that my hard work to get it just right paid off. (The story still needs work though.)

And then there is this guy in Wales I share my work with who is honest with me on Hands of Ash. He makes me laugh to boot.
Carl E Reed
Posted: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 7:55 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608

That was very kind of you, LeeAnna!

But the best, most helpful critique in the world is useless unless the writer is skilled and practiced enough to (a) learn from constructive criticism, (b) disregard what rings false or untrue to them, and (c) think long and hard about what they’re unsure about.

You show the skill, talent, attitude and discipline of the professional writer. That’s 98% of the battle right there. All a good critique can do is—hopefully!—contribute another percent or two of improvement toward your “final polishing.”

Atthys Gage
Posted: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 10:31 PM
Joined: 6/7/2011
Posts: 467

My favorite recent review was also from Carl:

"It (Windborne) reminds me of nothing so much as a hypnagogic-vision-of-flying become a precipitious-plummet-to-your-doom-nightmare from which the dreamer is jolted back into clammy-sweat consciousness at the end."

Even your reviews have a high literary style. Oh yes, and best of luck with that ( )novel, ( )short story collection, ( )screenplay or ( )cookbook you're working on.
LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 11:35 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662

Thanks for the compliment Carl! To be honest, I like reading your critiques no matter who or what they're for because of their literary style. You're just a damn good writer.
Posted: Thursday, August 4, 2011 12:15 AM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 224

Hmm, I think the best feedback I've received was from a pair of published writers who helped with general writing and advice -- not specifically a critique on the writing, but on how to approach the business of writing.

@Danielle *blush!!!* (Thank you!)

I appreciate all of the feedback I get. I try to give everyone the best feedback I can because I know how important it is to me when I get gems.
Carl E Reed
Posted: Thursday, August 4, 2011 5:13 AM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 608

Count me as one of your fans, RJ!

And good luck with the Atlantis novel. ("The Atlantis novel"—has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?)

@Atthys: re: cookbook?! Heh! Oh my; that truly would be a disaster. . . !

Posted: Saturday, August 20, 2011 3:19 AM
Joined: 5/12/2011
Posts: 241

In general, I love to hear that my writing is exciting or compelling in spite of its flaws, then I like to know the flaws in great, hairy detail, so I can fix them.

I like it when beta readers underline phrases they just enjoyed.

I like to hear that someone intended to read it later, or break it into pieces, but couldn't put it down and put off work or something to finish it.

Perhaps one of the best things that ever happened to me was a full ms request based on the first query I ever sent to an agent (one of my favorite writer's agent at that). The ms was terrible and far from ready to send, but I didn't know that yet, because I was just learning the ropes of the commercial fiction world. So it got rejected, of course. But the request told me that I had a great idea and it (encouragingly) misled me about how frequently/easily such requests come which has kept me naively moving forward to this day (two+ years later).

Recently, here on book country, Kevin Haggerty, in the midst of tearing my short story (which is now going to be a novel) to (extremely helpful) shreds, told me I had a "Nebula-winning idea" which really, really helps the medicine go down!

Lisa Hoekstra
Posted: Thursday, September 15, 2011 2:21 AM
Joined: 5/10/2011
Posts: 89

To date, my best critique has been from ME Chick on my ms Perchance to Dream... He kept saying that he doesn't usually enjoy romance genre fiction, but he was hooked. He really inspired me to get back to work on the ms, after I'd essentially put it aside for an undetermined amount of time... I've actually started rewriting/editing it!

For the first ms that I've ever completed, one publisher had responded saying that the writing was so vivid she couldn't put it down, but after much debate and careful consideration, she'd decided it wasn't the right fit for their brand. (which I realize now is very very true...) that was incredibly encouraging, and one of the reasons why I felt I could write Perchance to Dream.
Kevin Haggerty
Posted: Saturday, November 26, 2011 12:58 PM
Joined: 3/17/2011
Posts: 90

My best feedback du jour isn't even really feedback and that's what makes it so gratifying.  I was reading along in a thread on this board, "What do the star ratings mean?  What are their value?" and out of the blue I'm reading this:

"...the single best thing I've read here is Kevin Haggerty's The Ravelled Sleave of Care and it's absolutely NOTHING like my own writing or anything I would ever even want to write.  But it's excellent writing, quite close to publishing quality, in fact." 

In fact, she says!  That was LilySea making an impassioned point in a thread entirely unrelated to me and my book.  Made me feel like I'd just won the Internet (thanks, Shannon!).


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