Long before a book is ready for the world, writers (hopefully) spend many hours to shape it into the best possible story it can be. Writing, rewriting, editing, and polishing this jewel of thought and care into a newborn book for audiences to enjoy forever. At least, that’s been my experience so far. I’ve talked about beta readers and editors before and how important it is to have their feedback in my process. What I haven’t talked much about is how I process that feedback and inject it back into my work.
Some things are obvious once someone else pints it out, and I have berated myself for not seeing that flaw myself. Other feedback outright enrages me, because the reviewer didn’t understand what I was trying to accomplish (usually my fault as well) or want to impose their idea over what I have on the page. The best feedback shows me something I hadn’t considered, and wouldn’t have thought of without a question or comment in the margin. Ultimately, the audience only has what is on the page to guide them and explain the story to them, just about anything they don’t understand or are unclear about falls back to me to have included on the page.
That is why I put so much effort into making each page, each paragraph and each sentence read exactly as I intend. I seldom feel successful, but when I do, it is glorious indeed. The highest praise I can expect is for a reader to comment about how a scene or character created the emotional response I intended. So be hard on your work as you write, but also give yourself some grace to improve your craft, to hit all the important points, and build up your work as you go.