I highly recommend that you have every draft (including rewrites) read by a spectrum of readers that include at least 3 of these categories:
- Someone enthusiastic and supportive who will probably love it
- Someone critical who will almost certainly find flaws (perhaps professional ‘coverage’ – they can be brutal!)
- Someone working in the film / TV / publishing / theater industry
- Someone who lives and / or works in the world you’re writing about
- Someone who is a writer or has written
- Someone who already knows something about the project
- Someone who knows nothing about the project
- Someone you consider prime audience for the material
It’s not essential to cover every base on every draft, but the wider spectrum of feedback you get, the better perspective you’ll have. Try to cover as many categories as you can with as few people as possible. It’s a bonus when people will qualify in more than one (like a critical professional who knows nothing about the project).
WRITERS ADVISORY: DO NOT give a rough draft of your project to anyone who could hire you in the immediate future unless you know them really really well and/or other readers have already been wildly-enthusiastic about it. DO NOT burn a professional potential bridge with a half-baked rough draft.
The point is to get a variety of perspectives to help crystallize, confirm and / or deny your own feelings about the material. The fastest way to focus your own opinion is to hear what other people think. You’ll know immediately if you agree or disagree, but if you strongly disagree, double-check yourself. Sometimes you resist most the note you most need to hear.
If 2 or 3 readers have similar feedback, and you agree with them, and think you already know how to fix the problem, call any readers who haven’t read the draft yet and tell them to wait for the next draft. Fresh eyes are valuable. Don’t waste them if you already know there are things you want to rewrite and how you’re going to do it. Then do it.
I am available to read and give notes on a draft at any stage of the process. There’s more information about my consulting and coaching here or you can contact me directly at 323-717-4731 or email@example.com to discuss particulars.
This post was excerpted from my book, “How To Be A Writer Who Writes“, which also contains a lot more about getting feedback.