INSIDE THE ART, CRAFT AND BUSINESS OF WRITING for Film, TV, Books, Stage, Print or Digital Media (with Particular Attention to Comedy)
“Don’t pay any attention to the critics—don’t even ignore them.” — Samuel Goldwyn
1. Get feedback BEFORE re-reading your draft (if you can possibly wait)
2. Ask for the kind of feedback you really want
3. Get feedback from 2–3 readers per draft
4. Keep sending it to potential readers until at least 2 or 3 have read it and given you notes
5. Once 2–3 readers have given you notes, and you have re-gained a clear perspective, contact any other readers who still have the draft and tell them NOT to read it
6. Ask lots of follow-up questions
7. Thank your readers profusely
8. Take all feedback seriously
9. Take all feedback with a grain of salt
When revising your material, you want maximum feedback from (the right) other people. If you haven’t done this already, now it’s definitely time to think carefully about your ‘first responders’.
I recommend at least 3 but no more than 5 readers for each draft.
With too few readers, you won’t get enough perspective and each one will carry too much weight. With too many, the different perspectives start to get confusing—plus you want to save some readers to look at your next draft with fresh eyes. DON’T get into a group critique situation. It almost always does more harm than good.
In practice, you usually end up waiting impatiently for feedback and it’s ok to keep sending your draft to more potential readers until you get 3 responders. The more people you send it to, the likelier it is someone will finally give you some feedback before you die of old age waiting for them to ‘make time’ in their ‘busy schedule’.