What Peer Review Feedback is Valuable During the Editing Process?


    What Peer Review Feedback is Valuable During the Editing Process?

    Authors often find peer reviews an invaluable part of the editing process, providing critical insights that can transform a good piece of writing into a great one. An Author and a Writer/Filmmaker share their experiences, from valuing reactionary responses to clarifying period language, while we also present five additional answers that highlight the spectrum of feedback that can enhance an author's work. These range from embracing constructive criticism to the importance of incorporating grammatical corrections.

    • Value Reactionary Responses
    • Clarify Period Language
    • Embrace Constructive Criticism
    • Seek Objective Assessments
    • Adjust Narrative Pacing
    • Develop Characters Further
    • Incorporate Grammatical Corrections

    Value Reactionary Responses

    As much as I appreciate feedback on plot development and the highlighted areas that require tightening, I really value reactionary responses. Comments during high-stakes and tense moments let me gauge if I'm hitting my mark and how well these scenes are received. From there, I now have the option to either strengthen the moment or use their response as marketable praise pre-publication.

    Sv Filice
    Sv FiliceAuthor, SV Filice

    Clarify Period Language

    After writing my Gothic-Western novel, 'Iron Dogs,' one piece of feedback I received concerned a specific phrasing that a character used, which the reader didn't understand. For example, at one point, one of the characters says, 'We're up the spout,' which was a fairly common phrase in the late 1800s American West (when the story is set), meaning 'we're in trouble.' However, people back then would have used the idiom and would know exactly what it meant. The lesson I learned as a writer working on a period piece, and trying to maintain authenticity in terms of language, culture, customs, etc., is that some of these elements might be lost on today's audiences and need some form of explanation in the text. It can either be overt, as with another character saying essentially the same thing but in a more modern way, or the method I chose, which was to describe through their actions and demeanor what the phrase means. So, for any writer using colloquialisms, slang, or archaic idioms, be aware that you'll need to clarify the meaning of the words in some way, beyond the words themselves.

    Neil Chase
    Neil ChaseWriter & Filmmaker, Neil Chase Film

    Embrace Constructive Criticism

    Constructive criticism is invaluable during the editing process as it offers specific suggestions for improvement. This type of feedback not only identifies the areas that need enhancement but also provides insights into how to strengthen them. By focusing on the positives alongside the negatives, it ensures that the author feels encouraged while making the necessary changes.

    It offers a balanced view that helps in elevating the overall quality of the manuscript. Consider all constructive criticism as a stepping stone to refining your work and actively seek it out for the best results.

    Seek Objective Assessments

    Objective assessments contribute significantly to the quality of a manuscript by providing a fresh perspective on the content. An unbiased eye can catch inconsistencies and ambiguities that the author might overlook. Such assessments help to clarify the message and ensure that the content is easily understandable to the intended audience.

    A clear and concise presentation of ideas will connect better with readers. Strive to attain objective assessments in order to enhance the clarity of your content.

    Adjust Narrative Pacing

    Feedback regarding the pacing of a narrative is essential as it affects how readers engage with the story. A well-paced story will hold the reader's attention and make the reading experience enjoyable. When a peer points out sections that may drag or rush, it provides the author with an opportunity to adjust the tempo accordingly.

    Smoothing out the pacing can dramatically improve the suspense and rhythm of the narrative. Pay attention to feedback on pacing to ensure your story captivates from beginning to end.

    Develop Characters Further

    Exploring suggestions for character development can greatly add to the depth and relatability of the characters within a story. When peers provide feedback on characters, it helps to identify where additional backstory or personality traits can make them more compelling. Strong character development is crucial for readers to feel invested in what happens to them.

    This can turn a good story into a great one by making the characters feel real and memorable. Act upon character development feedback to bring your characters to life.

    Incorporate Grammatical Corrections

    Grammatical corrections play a critical role in the professional presentation of any written work. Precision in language and grammar helps in conveying ideas more effectively, avoiding potential misunderstandings. When peers point out grammatical issues, it not only improves the current manuscript but also helps an author learn and avoid similar mistakes in the future.

    A text free of grammatical errors reflects the writer's attention to detail and commitment to their craft. Incorporate grammatical corrections to enhance the professionalism of your manuscript.