Tag Archives: Feedback

When In Doubt, Peanut M&M’s

This is purely a scientific test.

This afternoon, I posted “When in doubt Peanut M&M’s” as my FB status. In less than two hours, I had 12 Likes and the following suggestions:

  • Lindt
  • Peanut Butter M&M’s
  • Chocolate M&M’s
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • Dark Chocolate Peanut
  • Dark Chocoalate . . . in the freezer

Since I am taking the coming week off to work on my novel(s), I suspect the main impact of this flurry of suggestions will be to help me fill out the bad portion of my Brain Food, Bad Food, Beer, and think like a bachelor novelist grocery shopping list.

That said, two days ago I made a post exploring next steps for the writing process as opposed to the junk food eating portion of the coming week. At the end of said post, I welcomed feedback and even though about 20 people have read it so far, no comments. So I am wondering whether my junk food shopping list or suggestions for my writing process list will fill faster.

I Finally Get to Meet the Ladies

I realize that title may connote something entirely different than I intended, but you’re probably still reading because of that so I’m going with it.

For those of you who have been reading along with me for a bit, you will know that tonight is the night that I finally get to experience the coolest offer ever. In the interest of full disclosure, I am totally looking forward to seeing my old friend, being social, and enjoying some good wine and food.

That said, the whole book review thing is totally intriguing! I know that I’m a writer and so I want people to read my stuff, and these ladies have. But what is intriguing is that this is my first REAL audience. Save the host, none of them know me. None of them (I believe) are writers. They’re just regular, uh err, well Stylish Ladies, who like to read. They’re regular people and I am absolutely curious what they will think of my book. I am also curious about how their feedback may be different from or even the same as my writers group.

In fact, I am almost wondering if their feedback might not be more important since they would represent the purchasing public.

<¡Insert sense of panic here!>

What’s also cool is that since I am doing Camp Nano (a source of much internal ongoing debate about the sanity of that decision), I am halfway through the second book in this series and I can talk about the concept that I’m working with for that one. I’ve also incorporated some world and character changes that came out of the last feedback session with my writers group into Book 2, so it will be intersesting to test some of those on the ladies tonight. Hmm, I suddenly am think that it might be smart if I prepare a little.

The other thing that is just absolutely intriguing to me is Kellie (my friend and host) told me that the ladies are interested in asking me questions about the writing process. This is a topic that I LOVE to talk about (technically I just love to talk, hence the whole writing and blogging thing), but much like the writing I am usually doing it with my fellow writers in a small circle. This is the first time I’ll ever be talking about it outside of that circle. I must admit that I feel a little titillated – I feel like a real author. There is also something electiraclly exciting about people who are genuinely interested in your work and passion. I truly can’t wait to share.

7 pm (GMT -4:00) my time tonight. Cross your fingers. Or don’t. I’ll post about it tomorrow-ish.

What Do a Beer Drinking Stuffed Rabbit and Chili Have in Common?

They both turn up on feedback night for my novel.

2013.04.08 Jelly Bean

Now in all fairness, Jelly Bean’s talent is more toward the annual delivery of chocolate eggs end of the spectrum. But Jelly Bean did pitch in and even found a great new friend in Liz.

As you can see from the evening’s beverage selection, I had a special beer (the one on the left below) reserved for those who might pan my novel. Although at several points we did threaten one of the reviewers with Schlitz, fortunately we never had to break it out.

2013.04.08 Feedback Chili

This was the first of two feedback nights I’m having for my 3rd draft (the Stylish Ladies will be on the 20th). For me, this was really a story of the good and the good. My mother actually called me today and asked how it went (that was pretty cool in itself, it’s still nice at my age to have mum take an interest in what I’m doing). What I told her was that I got some nice compliments, but the coolest thing was what they wanted improved. The theme was basically that they all really liked the world that I’ve created and they want more of it. That’s a cool criticism – “we like it, so do more.”

I think another way I can sum it up is to quote Liz (the one bonding with the bunny above): “It was a lot of fun. Your world and your characters obviously have more than enough life to generate fan interest – witness our debates about the nature of the <deleted (you’ll have to wait a bit longer for that one)> and character histories.” <– That is one of the coolest e-mails that I have received in a while and I was actually speechless (highly unusual) sitting in my seat, watching my readers debate the nature of my world, histories, etc. and answer one another’s questions.

The most interesting thing is that I came away entirely energized to work more on book 1 and fold in the suggestions, but bummed because I’ve already started book 2! Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of letting things percolate, which is why I like to take a month off from a draft after completing it. But it is a little frustrating. The one big upside is that I have started to weave some of the suggestions about my world and continually evolving characters into book 2. So Book 2 is actually benefitting from the feedback on book 1. And in a month I’ll go back and play with book 1 again.  🙂

OK, now I need to go Nano for a bit before I go to bed.

To Nano or Not To Nano Part II

Why not?  That’s how I’m feeling tonight at any rate.

I sat in the tub tonight (the Saturday night epsom salt bath is part of the ritual of soccer season at my age) and read the outline for AH2.  It’s decent.  It doesn’t blow me away, but then a first draft of an outline isn’t meant to.  IMHO if the first draft of your outline blows you away you either spent too damned much time on it or you are overly infatuated with your own work.  I see it more as a tool to prime the pump and give direction and significant parts of it are going to change later anyway.  </tangent>

The outline is competent.  Actually, a little better than I thought it would be.  Not any significant holes, no real corners worked into, and only a few minor loose ends that I can connect later in interesting ways or drop.  It’s better than the 1st draft outline for AH1, which it should be since it’s the same main characters in the same world and I’ve got one with them under my belt already.  It’s a good starting point.

So here I sit, two days (well a day and a half but who’s splitting hairs?) before the start of Camp Nano and I’ve got a good starting point.  Right now it looks like most of the feedback on AH1 isn’t going to come until I see the Stylish Ladies April 20th and I need something to do lest I suffer the withering of my writing muscle.  So, why not Nano?

As I’ve discussed before, if I go for it, I’m going for it whole hog (I think it’s fine to use that metaphor, my first drafts are somewhat pig-like).  Quite frankly as much as I’ve tried to rationalize to friends reasons that I ought not to do it, I keep getting a resounding “that’s OK, Go For It.”  As a complete aside, some times I find it curious that people are actually into and encouraging of what I’m doing here.  Regardless of my curious puzzlement, my friends seem to dig what I’m trying to do and they are helping to push me down the road.  And you know, that is a big part of why I am going to go for it.

Some how there is some sort of feedback loop or reciprocating circuit that connects people to you when they encourage you to a goal and connects you back to them.  I think it lifts both of you up.  I feel lifted.  I feel that it will be a tough month, but I feel like I can do it because of the encouragement and that I will do it.  And at the end of the month, I’m going to feel pretty badass!  I’ll have a completed 1st Draft of AH2 and all of the feedback that I need to charge into the 4th Draft of AH1.  Rock n Roll.  Why wouldn’t I go for it?

I’m Feeling Encouraged

And that’s not a BS line.

Eight days ago, as I described to a friend of mine how I had just finished the 3rd draft of my novel he asked to read it.  I want some non-writers reading it and he’s a Sci-Fi fan (and I’ve got a corner of my book in the Sci-Fi world), so I took him up on the offer.  Not only has he already finished it, but he has also already given me feedback!

There were three main takeaways that struck me from his feedback.  First, he said that my concept was fresh.  That’s pretty intense from a guy who devours about 3 books a week — he’s done some reading.  Second, he likes it, he is hopeful that it’s a series (it is), and he “wants more.”  OK, so I shall pause here for a completely self-indulgent “Wow!”  </pause>  Third, he has actually given me the most insightful feedback to-date on my main character and how to improve him.  Technically, I didn’t ask for that, just how to make the book better.  But that’s what he offered and I’m appreciatively absorbing it.  I am going to consider all of what he proposed and I will definitely incorporate some of it (most likely a lot of it).  There were other points too that were really useful.

As I was riding the high from that, I read Hugh Howey’s latest post on Advice to Aspiring Authors.  I follow Howey’s blog in large part because he has blazed a trail that I intend to follow.  As I’m reading it, I’m thinking to myself “Yeah, there’s no reason in the world I can’t move my timetable up — finish AH1 sooner, maybe by the end of summer, and yeah, why not push and start the first draft for AH2 like now!”  I mean really why don’t I push?  I love the advice Howey gives, which is to build your catalogue and readership and along the way become successful — I’m in!

So of course I laid out a more aggressive plan and timetable!  😀  Why not??

Along the way, in the past few days, I’ve had several friends read my blog and offer varying forms of encouragement.  That can not be underestimated!  The most humorous of which came late last night (I’m guessing after a few glasses of wine), in which a friend challenged me to stretch past my paltry 500 word goal for today.  So I responded.  I wrote 1000 words this morning by 7:30 am and sent her a note letting her know that I stretched!  This officially serves as my public “Thank You” to her because not only do I not mind a kick in the butt, but I also tend to respond well.  I did today and I am feeling really encouraged, a little high really, with where I am on my writing path.

With that, it’s time for a glass of wine and a movie.