Before Ken’s War was accepted by Melange Books, I asked readers for feedback on sections of it and, if I thought they had time and interest, I asked some people to read the entire manuscript.
This is a delicate, yet oh-so-important step in the writer’s editing process.
First, I had to surrender my ego to sincerely solicit comments.
Then, I had to find people who know how to express constructive criticism. The writers’ circle I attended provided a pool of readers.
I also wanted to choose readers with knowledge about aspects of the story. Because the protagonist in Ken’s War is male, I asked males to be among my beta readers. The story takes place in a military setting during the Vietnam War, so when mistakes were pointed out by a Vietnam veteran, I verified that the suggested corrections were accurate and used them.
Fanstory (http://www.fanstory.com) members pointed out areas in characterization that needed shoring up.
Thank your readers for their critiques. Do not argue with them about their comments. If you have to explain or justify your writing, it’s lacking something…you won’t be able to explain or justify your story to agents or publishers.
You’re the author. You have the final word. In the meantime, get feedback. It’s one way to make your manuscript even better than it already is.
“Ken’s War is vibrant with authority … Fowler’s elegantly written novel risks exploring the full range of teenage behavior and emotion.” Nancy Springer, award-winning author of YA books.