For years now the only person I’ve done the ‘writing buddy’ thing with has been Mr James. He writes something: I give him feedback. I write something: he returns the favour. We don’t always agree 100%, but it’s a fresh pair of eyes, and all feedback is good feedback. It helps.
The way I look at it is this: when I write something it’s as good as I can make it at the time (without the benefit of hindsight, which comes later). So if there are problems / flaws in what I’ve written, I want to know about it so I can fix them. In the end I think it makes for a better story.
But every time I give feedback I sit and wonder if the recipient is ever going to speak to me again. It’s a tricky thing – this constructive criticism. Highlighting areas for improvement (in my humble, bearded opinion) without coming off like a patronising / nasty bastard.
“How come you is postin’ about this then?” you ask, in your naughty grammatically inventive way, well – I have recently expanded my circle of test readers. Checking to see if a couple of shorties would fly in certain markets where I consider them to be the experts. And now it’s ‘quid-pro-quo’ time.
I’ll let you know if I get any census-taker’s livers in the post.