Giving Feedback

Posted: May 12, 2014 in Writing
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I occasionally read a friend’s work, a logline, a treatment, or a script and give feedback. I follow some simple rules when I do.

  • Don’t be personal: You don’t want to alienate your friend. Never use the word “you”, focus on the story, use it as a chance to learn about what works and doesn’t work.
  • Review all aspects of the story: Pay attention to formatting (scripts), structure, characters and mood. Is anything missing from the story?
  • Ask questions: Does something not make sense? Ask questions.
  • Give ideas/suggestions: Suggest ways that you might add to the story. The writer may use your idea, or it may be the spark for another idea.

The most important aspect of reviewing writing is trust. Are you trusted to give honest advice without being personal?

Here is one of my responses from a recent treatment for the pilot of a series I read:

 

I think it’s missing a punch, but I don’t have an answer for what that punch would/should be…AAGGH!!! 

Sorry I can’t give you more if I figure it out I’ll send it your way.

 

For me, the treatment was missing a gut punch at the end, the hook that makes people want to watch the next show.  Two days later I figured it out and suggested a change that was part of the story, but not obvious in the treatment. I suggested he highlight that bit of information to give the audience an additional reason to tune in again.

My suggestions may be ignored or used, it doesn’t really matter, what matters is that I gave them what they wanted, honest feedback.

If you are in a writers group, or helping out a friend, remember, give them what you would want, a straight forward honest reading of their work, with suggestions.

 

NOTE: I am still consider myself a neophyte when if comes to storytelling. I am always honored when my dear friends ask me to look at their writing. Their writing is far above anything I have written. They can easily produce 120 or more great pages for a script, I struggle to get to page 90.

So gather a circle of friends, or find yourself a writer’s group and get to work. Write. Review. Grow.

 

Did I miss anything? Don’t agree with me? Let me know, leave a comment.

 

Copyright © 2014 J. Power

All rights reserved.

 

 

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