What Are Examples of Memorable Feedback That Has Influenced Writers?


    What Are Examples of Memorable Feedback That Has Influenced Writers?

    Writers often find pivotal moments in feedback, shaping the evolution of their craft. An Editor-in-Chief begins the conversation by sharing how rejection provides a reminder of the subjective and objective natures of publishing. Alongside their insight, we’ve gathered additional reflections, ranging from perspective on readers’ journeys to the importance of diverse viewpoints, that have left indelible marks on writers’ paths.

    • Acceptance and Rejection Are Not Definitive
    • Readers Are on a Healing Journey
    • Varying Pace Enhances Narrative
    • Impact Requires Authentic Connection
    • Conflict Deepens Character Relatability
    • Thematic Elements Enrich Storylines
    • Precise Language Creates Powerful Narratives
    • Diverse Perspectives Add Authenticity

    Acceptance and Rejection Are Not Definitive

    As a writer and editor, what has been most influential are the moments in which my work has been complimented, yet simultaneously rejected. I have received numerous responses for submissions in which other editors notify me that my work has been among the final works they have considered; however, the work was not ultimately selected as a result of limited space and editorial board considerations. I find this important as it presents both the subjective and objective nature of writing and publishing. For all writers and editors, it is important to consider that while objective focus and ability are important for publishing a piece, it is also important to understand that pieces are accepted as a result of multiple factors, and both acceptance and rejection are rarely, if ever, purely the result of the exact quality of one's work.

    Dan ZiebarthEditor-in-Chief, Greater European Journal

    Readers Are on a Healing Journey

    To remember that every time someone reaches toward learning, they are on an information-gathering healing journey.

    A reader found a healing haven that was enough to move forward, and life was no longer on hold. Motivated to change what no longer suits, they discovered opportunities to grow and to risk loving—and loss—again.

    Aldous Huxley summed it up when he said that experience is not what happens to you; it’s what you do with what happens to you.

    Dr. Diana Rangaves
    Dr. Diana RangavesSEO Writer, DianaRangaves.com

    Varying Pace Enhances Narrative

    I once had a publisher request that I 'cozy up' a mystery manuscript that featured a fabric-store owner. My instincts were against this because I felt it would interrupt the pace of the plot. I added massive passages of the main character observing the fabric in her store, noticing the texture of the textiles, getting lost in memories of having grown up in the store she had inherited. (I wrote these passages in a different color font so I could easily delete them—still not a believer!) When I gave the manuscript to an early reader, he commented on how much he loved the passages about fabric. He said, 'It slowed down the fast pace and gave me a chance to breathe.' It was then I realized the importance of varying pace, not just charging forward with one plot twist after another.

    Diane Vallere
    Diane VallereAuthor, Publisher, Polyester Press

    Impact Requires Authentic Connection

    Years ago, when I was a university journalism school student, I was working on an article about a longstanding local cultural festival. My publishing deadline was looming when I suddenly got a call from one of the festival organizers with some sad and surprising news: the event had just been canceled due to irreconcilable internal challenges and politics. My editor gave me the option to abandon the story, but the budding reporter in me couldn't let it go like that—this festival meant something to a lot of people. And so, I quickly pivoted, re-interviewed, and rewrote the article about why the plug had been pulled last-minute on such an important event.

    A few weeks later, a letter to the editor arrived in the school newsroom from the organizers expressing how much it meant to them that I'd written the story and been willing to switch gears at the eleventh hour to give them a voice. That letter was published, and I still have a copy. To this day, it serves as a reminder that for writing to have an impact, an authentic human connection must be intricately woven through all steps of the creative process—from choosing the topic or subject, to the planning and interviewing, all the way down to the anecdotes, metaphors, analogies, phrasing, and each individual word that's carefully selected to form those crucial audience connection points. To me, this is what truly makes writing come alive and what gives it three-dimensional meaning versus flat words on a page or screen.

    Connie Smart
    Connie SmartContent Writer and Creator, City of Edmonton

    Conflict Deepens Character Relatability

    Constructing a story where characters encounter various obstacles can improve their depth and relatability to the reader. Conflict serves as the engine of a narrative, propelling the plot forward and keeping the readers invested in the characters' journeys. It's the struggles and the triumphs over these challenges that endear characters to the audience and make them memorable.

    With rich conflict, even the simplest of stories can resonate deeply with your audience. Reflect on how each character in your next writing project faces and overcomes adversity, and infuse your story with compelling conflicts.

    Thematic Elements Enrich Storylines

    Exploring thematic elements urges a shift from focusing solely on surprising story turns to delving into complex ideas. By weaving profound themes into the fabric of the narrative, a writer imparts substance and prompts readers to think more deeply about the messages conveyed through the characters and events. Themes enrich a story by providing layers of meaning that can resonate on a personal level with the audience.

    The mark of a truly great piece of literature often lies in its ability to discuss bigger issues of human experience within an engaging storyline. In your next work, consider the themes you're passionate about and seamlessly integrate them into your narrative for a more thoughtful impact.

    Precise Language Creates Powerful Narratives

    Choose words with care and precision. Opting for clear, concise language can create a more powerful narrative than one obscured by overwrought prose. Clarity in communication ensures that the intended message is not lost amidst unnecessary embellishments.

    Each word should serve a purpose, either advancing the plot or revealing character, without detracting from the story's flow. As you craft your next work, prioritize precision in language to convey your narrative with assertive simplicity.

    Diverse Perspectives Add Authenticity

    Incorporating a variety of viewpoints can be particularly transformative, enhancing authenticity and depth in storytelling. By including a range of perspectives, a narrative can become a rich tapestry that reflects the diversity of real life and resonates with a broader audience. A story with diverse viewpoints adds complexity and provides a more engaging reading experience.

    It helps to break stereotypes and fosters empathy by showcasing different ways of seeing the world. As you write, actively seek to embody diverse perspectives in your narrative to enrich your storytelling and broaden its appeal.