Tag Archives: feedback

finally feedback! – #WhatImWriting

I’ll cut to the chase – a few days ago I received the manuscript feedback I’ve been waiting for! Yes, after seven weeks, three days, six hours and seventeen minutes (I may have made those last few numbers up) my inbox finally pinged with the editor’s opinion on my three picture book manuscripts!

picture books

And?

Well, it was pretty good! I mean, there’s stuff I need to work on, little bits to tweak in one of my stories, some alterations in another one and the third one possibly needs a large-scale re-think… hmm… but overall I was pretty pleased. It’s given me work to do without being too outfacing and also given me the sense that being published one day isn’t such a ridiculous dream. Well maybe – even writing that last sentence makes my self-doubt demon prick up his ears. But if he decides to launch an attack on my self-belief I now have this sentence (from the editor) to throw at him:

“You have three imaginative stories here, with a buoyant, humorous writing style and verses that read easily and well.”

I’m hanging on to that.

Anyway, I now have plenty to focus my attention on and the beginnings of a plan of action in my head. I know it’s going to be a long road to getting published but I feel I’m just that little bit closer now. And I’m determined to find some time this week to focus on the manuscripts. Life’s been so hectic recently but I think I’ve spotted a writing window later this week and intend to grab it! Carpe diem and all that.

Writing Bubble

in a spin – #WhatImWriting

leaves2This week seems to have flown by – I can hardly believe it’s time for another #WhatImWriting. Hooray! Chrissie is hosting this week so if you’re looking to link up, please head over to Muddled Manuscript.

I’m not certain what to write about for my post this week as my brain is flitting all over the place, but I guess the main thing to update you on is my picture book. I’ve been working on it a lot and have now shown it to two more close friends of mine, both of whom are primary school teachers (and mothers), and therefore have particularly useful perspectives. The feedback has been really good: both positive and useful. I’ve now reached the ninth draft and think I’m very close to something I’ll be happy to send off somewhere. But where?

Well, quite. So while working on the book I’ve also been looking around at publishers websites, checking out what they’re looking for and how to go about submitting. I found this blog post by Lou Treleaven a really useful resource: it lists children’s book publishers who are currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts.

I did have a bit of a crisis of confidence while researching though, as all the publishers said they get masses of submissions every week. Not that I expected anything different, but there’s nothing quite like seeing that fact in black and white! They all said it would take three to six months to get a response from them, if indeed you received any response at all. And of course, as all writers know, you’ve got to expect rejection. I suddenly felt very small, like a tiny Jelly Baby person clutching a flea-sized manuscript trying to get anyone to even notice I was there!

So I started wondering about the possibility of getting an agent. I know you don’t need to have one to submit work but I assume that it’s a huge help in securing a publisher. It’s means there’s someone else backing you up rather than your little manuscript just sitting in the middle of a huge pile of other unsolicited submissions. Like having somewhere more noticeable for Jelly Baby-me to sit perhaps? Or lighting to enhance my lovely juicy colour?

But trying to find an agent is a huge task in itself and I only have one little book – would an agent even be interested? I feel I need to research more here. Any advice?

There are lots of other things whirling through my mind as well at the moment: work-related issues, some family stuff and other questions to do with my writing too. I feel I’m in a bit of a spin trying to work out what to focus on. I’m in a bit of a spin in general actually. I don’t even know how to finish this blog post. Haven’t a clue.

Like this?

Muddled Manuscript

feedback – #WhatImWriting

Writing Bubble

 
As I set about writing this post for Week Four of ‘What I’m writing’ I can’t help smiling. The last three weeks of the linky have gone so well and we’ve had more people joining in every week! Your posts have been so interesting and inspiring and the comments have been amazing. Our little community is already a lovely place to be. Thank you so much to everyone who’s joined in (and to any new linkers, welcome!) Chrissie is hosting today so if you’re here to link up, please head over to Muddled Manuscript.

So, this week I’ve been mulling over more questions (I’m always pondering something or other). I keep finding myself thinking ‘oh I must ask the #WhatImWriting people about that’ as though I get to sit down for a chat over coffee and cake with you every week. I wish I did! There’s so much I want to ask, but to avoid this post going on till Christmas I’ll just stick to one subject this week: Feedback.

honest criticism

I rarely request or receive any feedback on my work. I’ve never shown the first draft of my novel to anyone (though I will when it’s finished, of course) and only show my husband work if I’m going to submit it… and I’ve made very few submissions. Obviously, I publish work on my blog and get feedback that way but I’ve never requested ‘constructive criticism’ which has meant that the lovely people who comment all say nice things.

When I first started blogging a year ago I was pleased when anyone commented at all, and for ages I was so nervous about publishing my work that there’s no way I would have courted anything but the most kindly of comments. Now though, I’m wondering if it’s time to break out. If I’m ready to risk hearing more. Dare I publish my flash fiction and ask ‘what do you really think?’

As nervous as the idea of hearing what people really think of my writing makes me, I’m aware that feedback is what helps us improve. How can we ever learn from our mistakes if no one tells us what they are? I could be missing out on a huge development opportunity. But is my blog the best place to ask for constructive criticism?

What do you do? Do you get feedback regularly from friends or family? Have you submitted work and got feedback that way (I know some places will offer it)? Do you ask for (and receive) constructive criticism on your blog? What feedback methods are your favourite? Am I weird for even worrying about this?

I’d love to hear what you think.

Oh and just to update you on the challenge I set myself two weeks ago – I managed the limerick I aimed to do and wrote not merely one, but two pieces of flash fiction but this month’s word count for my novel is a teeny three thousand words. I didn’t even manage the five thousand I set myself which was a much smaller number than I’ve done in any other month. Sigh. But you never know, maybe I’ll have a creative burst tonight! I can but hope.