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Writing a Book: Feedback Is Magical

For the past few months, I’ve put all my free time toward editing and gaining feedback on my book. Since finishing my first draft, I’ve added almost 30,000 words to the book—completely unintentionally. Many of these words came from rewriting scenes and adding some much need transitions to really make the story flow. It’s been awhile since I last blogged so I feel like I need to post an update on my writing journey.

I finished writing the first draft of my book in February 2016. I joyfully celebrated the end of my two year writing process, thinking that the end of this entire process was close to being over.

Hahahahahahaha.

I have one word for you.

Editing.

No one tells you just how long EDITING takes! Oh. My. Word. I have gone through all 350 plus pages of my book probably ten or so times and just when I think I’ve got it, I realize it needs so much MORE work!

However, I’ve found that getting feedback from others makes the whole editing process bearable. Now that I’m confident in my story, gaining feedback has been empowering and magical. If you ask the right people, their feedback can really refuel you. It’s also fun to hear what people think and what things in the book they identify with or react to. Things that were not a big deal to me were a big deal to others and that was really cool!

I let my fourteen year old sister read the first six chapters when she visited and I was so nervous because she is my demographic, young adult. And that age does not mince words—if she hated it, it was over. Thankfully, she liked it. She did tell me the parts that weren’t working for her, but I already knew they need more work, so she only confirmed that. She also loved a scene that I was ready to completely cut out. She almost had a heart attack because she ended up loving a character that was secondary to me. See? Magical!

I also gave my book to a good writer friend of mine. Her feedback as a writer was so helpful. She scratched out extra words and cut out whole sections that slowed the book down. And when I reread those parts, I realized she was absolutely right. Those parts were too descriptive and I think I wrote them for me, because I was still feeling out what I wanted to say. The book didn’t need them—in fact, it was hurting it.

One thing I will say though is while feedback is MAGICAL, don’t share your work until you are ready. If you’re still thinking through scenes, developing plots and characters, it’s probably too early to share. (Unless you want people to suggest major changes.) Wait until you’re at a spot that feels good, because  when you get feedback at the right time, it can steer your entire book in another direction and make it so much better!

I’m still knee deep in editing and focusing on perfecting sentences, but I’m very close to being in a place where it feels ready to send to an agent. Maybe another month or so away—hopefully!

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