Saturday, May 31, 2014

Who Is Your First Reader?

Steven King's first reader is his wife. According to him, she is quite helpful in terms of giving him feedback on his finished novel. Some people, though, think it a bad idea to have comments from your spouse, family member, or a good friend, because they tend to say good things about your work, trying not to hurt your feelings and at the same time trying to give you encouragement. Here is my thought:

1) If he/she says, "It's very good." Ask him/her, "What is good about it? The story? The theme? The way the story is told? Etc."

2) In my case, I show Wes my tanka and ask him to rate them: Great; Good; Problematic. Interestingly, those he rates "Great" are also the ones that I like. And, nine out of ten times, those poems get published after I submit them to journals. As to the "Problematic" ones, I ask him what the problems are and later, I rethink them and fix them.

3) Your first reader doesn't have to be a writer. Wes is not a writer. But he is a reader who reads widely.

So, when it comes to showing your finished work to your first reader, be creative and open-minded.

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