The ramblings and musings of author and musician Geoffrey Young Haney.
Much more coherent and loveable fare from his wife, Michelle.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Feedback: How Much Is Too Much?

Matty and I had a great night Tuesday. First we traversed the tornado-filled skies (I exaggerative... sort of) to hit GR's Baker Book House for a Q & A with a writer's guild. This wonderful group of ladies founded the Breath Christian Writer's Conference and were sharing a bit about their collective and individual journeys.

It really got Matt and I thinking.

1. Are there any guys writing anymore??? I mean, writing anything other than thrillers... I can't seem to find any.... sorry, where was I?

Oh, right.

The question of feedback came up. How many people do you share your work with? What's your critique process? How do you handle feedback? Is there such a thing as too much feedback?

So in the spirit of that last question, Matt and I have decided to "go off the grid," if you will, with our two projects that are closest to completion: The Sons of The Moon (a collaborative work of fantasy fiction) and Disciple 6 (Matt's comic book.) We both sort of felt that enough eyes have seen the behind-the-scenes of our projects; enough kind and constructive notes had been given; enough opinion had been thrown into the mix. It was time to pull back and lock in on our vision. And, you know, leave them wanting more. :D

Does this mean I'm through talking about The Sons of The Moon? Not a chance. It's just that the versions and excerpts and things that have bounced around the internet for a while will be cleaned up and done away with. We will be a seeking a COUPLE of beta readers for The Sons of The Moon come October, but until then the tasty peaks will come to an end.

There's a couple reasons for this:

1. The Sons of The Moon is on its fifth and final draft. It's been read by more than 20 readers at various stages of gestation. It's been queried and submitted twice to more than 30 agents. It's been read enough. Its been commented on enough. The feedback has been invaluable, but we've gotten to the point where its like "what can be left to say?" If we don't have a handle on this story yet, this story is doomed. We've got a handle on this story.

2. Too much second-guessing can really stall a project and leave it stale. I've seen this in my own work. When I was too focused on what a critique reader had to say or how to shift each and every suggestion or idea into some working part of the story, the writing was all over the place. It didn't flow - it was disjointed. Because I was seeing it through 10 sets of eyes instead of just mine (and Matt's.) I still think feedback is great. We will still have probably two different editors handling the final version of the manuscript before publication. But they will be professionals and their job will be to polish, not to impart those "readerly" opinions we've come to know and love (and loathe, at times...)

So what do you say, humble readers? What's your process for feedback and critiques? Do you share a lot while working on a project, or do you keep it closely guarded till its ready to see the light of day?

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