This week I have mainly been trying to own my story, whilst wading through pages of beta reader feedback.
Over the years I have approached beta reader feedback in a number of different ways.
Please don’t judge me on what you are about to read below, as I am sure other writers out there are guilty of the same crimes:
- Ignore beta reader feedback. I did this a lot when I first started writing seriously. The gigantic chip on my newbie writer shoulder got in the way.
- Change my story in accordance with EVERY piece of beta reader feedback. I did this a lot when the people pleaser side of me came out to play. If you want to get yourself caught up in creative knots and struggle to recognise your own story by the end of your drafting phase, I strongly recommend this approach.
- Apply a nice feedback only filter. I recommend this approach if you want to stay in your comfort zone, waste everyone’s time and get to the end of your draft with only a couple of minor amends.
- Go against beta reader feedback because you know best, rewrite your entire story and then cry ( a lot) when beta readers send you emails titled, ‘WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?’
So, with this latest round of beta reader feedback I started working my way through it using the following rules:
- Change things which all beta readers pick up on. The big one was the point of view. It needs to be written in first person POV for the humour to work.
- Be a big girl and change the things which I have been secretly avoiding, but failed to hide from my beta readers. I was too quick to get to the romance. This story is based on two people slowly coming round to the idea of falling in love. When writing the draft I knew I should have had some restraint during the middle section, but I caved and dived straight into the romance. I need to hold back…when I am feeling hot and flustered, whilst writing this tale.
- Try to retain ownership of my story.
The third point is tricky and involves listening to my own intuition, which I hate to say isn’t always reliable. I will happily change things which strengthen and improve my story and I no longer avoid or ignore difficult feedback.
However, I am not going to change everything and at the end of the day I have to own my story.
I have changed stories in the past based on every single piece of beta reader feedback and my story at the end has been unrecognisable. If you haven’t had this experience, try it, as reading a version of someone else’s take on your story, is quite frankly heart breaking.
At the end of the day this is my story and I do have to retain some sort of ownership over it.
I have to stand by what I think is right for my story and if things don’t work out then I will learn, the hard way.
How do you approach feedback and do you struggle with ownership of your story?
Keep writing x