John Krissilas / Writer, Thinker, Storyteller
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Monday, June 8, 2015

3 Ways to Give the Most with Your Feedback

"I like it."

Three simple words that provide endless elation – and frustration – to feedback-hungry writers everywhere. Good news, of course, and much better than the alternative "I hate it."

But as feedback? Useless.


"I like it. By Jove, I think I like it!"


Getting the chance to read someone else's work is a privilege – no, an honour! – which makes giving the most with your feedback your number one priority. You need to provide some elation, sure, but you must also arm them with useful, actionable insights that inspire them to make their work better.

Sound good? Fantastic. Here's how to do it...


(1) Be specific

Otherwise known as "Give examples, dummy!" Feedback is only good feedback if your writer-friend can understand what it was that they wrote that made you feel that way. To help them, add the words "for example" to the end of each piece of feedback, then finish that sentence off. *Ahem* For example...

"I liked the action a lot" becomes "I liked the action a lot, for example, when Ruby tamed the rabid dog with one of her Russian nesting dolls."

What joy! Your writer-friend now knows what scene to keep, what specifically put a smile on your face.


(2) Explain why

So you liked that action scene with Ruby and the dog, huh? But why? The "why" is, in fact, more important than the example. If your writer-friend knew why that specific example put a smile on your face, then perhaps they can enhance that aspect even more, and even infuse that aspect throughout the rest of their tale. To help them, add the word "because" to the end of every example, then finish that sentence off. For example...

"I liked the action a lot" becomes "I liked the action a lot, for example, when Ruby tamed the rabid dog with one of her Russian nesting dolls, because Ruby is such an underdog – nobody expected her to tame that beast!"

Beautiful. Your "because" has just provided a nugget of gold – Ruby is a loveable underdog! Go Ruby go!


(3) Offer alternative ideas

This goes for both the "I liked its" and the "I hated its". It's often very hard for your writer-friend to see their work in a way that's different than how they wrote it. It takes feedback, good feedback, to help them imagine alternatives. To help them, add the words "but what if" at the end of your "because", then finish that sentence off. For example...

"I liked the action a lot" becomes "I liked the action a lot, for example, when Ruby tamed the rabid dog with one of her Russian nesting dolls, because Ruby is such an underdog – nobody expected her to tame that beast! But what if the dog had actually gotten away at the last second? For an underdog, Ruby seems to win a lot. Maybe she could lose this time, and perhaps learn a valuable lesson?"

Gold. Gold! GOLD! Your writer-friend now has the writing equivalent of a BAR OF GOLD: ideas. Fresh ideas. Fresh possibilities. Whether they go down that road or not, the point is, the road is open!


So? What tactics do YOU use to give the most with your feedback? Share your thoughts by commenting below!

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