As most of you will remember, in November 2019 I completed National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. After finishing off my fifty thousand words I put the story to bed and didn’t revisit it until January when my sister and I went our writing retreat.
After spending some time making changes, adding in a few thousand words and making pages and pages of notes, I decided that it would be a good idea to get another opinion on my work. I like my story, and by no means do I think you should ever write something with only other people in mind, but if your aim is to get your book into a store then it must be considered.
I decided to engage the services of Avery McDougall, a fellow NaNo writer and a wonderful spirit. I was able to pass on my unfinished work to her, warts and all, to get some bare bones feedback about whether or not this story was one that deserved my attention, or if I should move on to greener pastures.
I must admit I was a little nervous about handing over my baby to someone new, especially someone with expertise in the industry like Avery, but the experience was nothing short of wonderful and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. Avery went through my work with the eye of someone who genuinely wanted to enjoy the story, something that for myself was very important. I hear a lot of horror stories from fellow writers whose reviews come back negative simply because the reviewer didn’t like the story, not because it wasn’t any good – two very different things.
Avery gave me feedback on pretty much every chapter, as well as an overview on what the story was lacking and some suggestions on how to make it shine. Reading through her comments, I had a smile on my face the entire time. Where she thought there was an issue she gave constructive feedback and she was quick to add in a comment about a section she liked to offset those that she didn’t. Her review felt honest and insightful, I felt like not only had she read my book but she’d also really understood it. She reminded me of certain parts of my characters that I’d forgotten about and gave me the motivation to revisit them. If you’re looking at getting any creative writing looked over, I’d highly recommend her!
Sharing your work with the world is a daunting experience, but I think it’s one worth doing if you get the chance. Not only can it provide valuable feedback on how to improve your work, but with the right person you should also come out of the experience feeling like you really can do this.
It’s a busy time in my life at the moment, with my last semester of university having just begun, and so I think it will be a while before I get to sit down and have a cup of tea with Geoffrey and Ellen, but when I do I know they’ll have lots to say to me and I to them.
Are you good at getting your work out there? If so, what has been your experience? If not, why not give it a go. I’m always happy to take a look at anything as a second pair of eyes, so feel free to hit me up.
Chat soon x