Great, you’ve found a critical reader or a story to read! How can you ensure that working with the reader or the writer is a positive, productive experience? I’d like to say the hard part is finding each other and from now on it will all be sunshine and rainbows, but I’ve heard stories of critical reader feedback like, “This is wrong. That was poorly done. You’re such a bad writer.” Or maybe you agreed to read a novel, you get it and… it’s not your cup of tea, or so raw that just re-reading to figure out what’s happening will take more time than you want to give it. To help you avoid (or recognise and exit) these situations, and to create effective partnerships, here’s 6 tips for positive partnerships, and 6 tips for productive partnerships.
Act 1 is crucial in guiding readers into your character’s world and maintaining reader engagement. Critical readers can help you evaluate how your writing impacts on unfamiliar readers, but in my experience, if you don’t ask critical readers to comment on anything in particular, they may only comment on what annoys them, what they love and if they’re writers -their personal strengths of writing craft. This may exclude aspects of your craft -or any particular novel- you are still developing. This post is a list of reflective questions to help guide holistic critical reader feedback.
Critique partner and beta reader feedback can be gold, but as editing is a complex task, it can be difficult to decide what exactly you’d like critical readers to comment on, especially in the crucial first chapter. The reflective questions in this post will help guide critical reader feedback (and in some cases self-editing), giving you insight into how engaging, well paced and easy or difficult to follow unfamiliar readers found your opening chapter.