When we writers start out, we really just want to hear how good we are. If we don’t hear it enough, sometimes we quit. If we don’t quit, then our mindset starts to shift.
At some point, you’re going to love hearing that people love your story, but what you are going to be looking for, at least before it’s published, is why they don’t love it.
Some of the feedback you get might be useless. Your beta reader just doesn’t like the genre. I am constantly teasing a crit partner that I wish he’d give me one happy ending.
But when you really want to make your novel work, when you decide that you want to see it on the shelves of a bookstore or listed with Amazon, you’re going to have to go out searching for the people who are going to give you real criticism.
Here is my book. Tell me what’s wrong.
The first couple times might sting a little. When you think you’ve nailed a character only to find out that readers do not like her. When you’re beautifully crafted backstory is seen as drawn out and boring. When a cool style you tried out is too jarring.
But if you keep going, if you keep pushing, if you keep revising, your going to get there.
Tell me what is wrong.
And when they tell you, it won’t hurt. It will get the wheels in your head spinning. The pieces will start to fall into place and you will see how this flaw is affecting your story, holding it back from being its best.
Neil Gaiman said “When people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right.When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.”
You know your story. You know the way it moves, the way it flows and where it needs to go. You know the hearts and minds of your characters. You might not know what is wrong, but you know what to do when you find out.
If you are at the point where you are excited to find out what is wrong with your work, you know that you are on the way to making your work right.