This past month I have been thrust headlong into editing, again. It has been a welcome break from writing our WIP historical fiction novel—I always find it beneficial to take time out from working on one project yet still feel productive. Our fantastic editor (shout out to Dr. Melodie Lindsay from Doclins) finished going through When the Rain Falls. I am furiously going through her corrections to make sure the final copy is ready for release. I have also been beta reading for a friend. Basically, I’m fully immersed in doing corrections right now. The writer’s hat is tucked away for the time being, and the editor’s hat is firmly in place.
All this giving and receiving feedback got me thinking about dealing with corrections. The suggestions our editor made are precisely those, suggestions. And the feedback I am providing on the novel I am beta reading is the same, only suggestions. How do you know what to take on board and what to ignore? How do you know what feedback to give and what to let slide? After all, everyone has a different opinion.
Deciding what corrections to accept can be a tricky thing to figure out. It’s a careful balancing act. On the one hand, you might like the original way you have written something. On the other, clearly, something about what you wrote didn’t sit right with your reader. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have brought it to your attention. It’s easy to dismiss some comments as ‘they probably misunderstood what I wrote’. But, if they didn’t quite grasp what was written, that probably means there’s an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
At my current rate, I am accepting around 80% of the suggestions from our editor. I believe that if she found a word or phrase that stood out, there’s no harm in changing it. Because, in all likelihood, other readers will pick up on the same issue. It makes no real difference to me as long as it doesn’t change the meaning of my sentence or influence our style.
How do you deal with feedback? What do you take on board, and what do you leave out? Let me know in the comments below.