Good feedback helps the writer clarify the narrative — who and what the story is about, and what the protagonist has to gain or lose — and to see if the writer’s intent meets the readers’ understanding.
Feedback should inspire the writer to do better by identifying whether the goals work and what doesn’t. After many struggles, discussions, and lessons learned, our group has come up with some key practices for feedback.
On the 1st reading
-Read once through without any editing or note-taking.
-Put aside the story, think about what you’ve read and jot down thoughts and questions.
On the 2nd reading
-Keep the writer’s questions beside you as you read.
-Read through carefully, jotting notes in the margin.
-Develop a detailed summary at the end of the story.
-Avoid speaking to the author. Use language like “Here, I’m not sure about the intent…I think…” Critique the work, not the person.
-Take it to the page – when you have a comment, show evidence for it on the written page.