When comments become collaboration…

One of the main reasons I began my blog four years ago was to use it as a place to feature my written work and to establish an online presence. At the time, I hadn’t written anything but the first rough chapters for what would eventually become my first novel. An unintended consequence of blogging was finding a community of writers (and readers) who would become invaluable sources of feedback and support.

There are some things to consider when you post your writing on your blog. Most of the fiction I’ve shared over the years has been in the rough draft stage. This is when the work is most vulnerable to criticism. The readers are going to find all the flaws and inconsistencies in the story, all the things you haven’t worked out to complete satisfaction. (Especially if you are writing by the seat of your pants!) Hopefully, your readers will be kind and constructive with their feedback and hopefully you have the spine to use the critique to improve the work rather than be hurt or insulted.

Occasionally, something really special can happen though… In posting sections of serial fiction, the readers may envision the plot heading in a completely different direction from the one you intended. The same is true of a short story. A reader may see the ‘what happens next’ when you see the ending. It is fantastic when your followers are invested enough in the story to comment and speculate about the next chapter. Even if you don’t use the idea a reader presents, having another perspective can inspire future writing. Now this is not to say that you should be driven off track by the demands of the reader. Nor should the reader feel impelled to impose their will on the writer. After all, this is your creative work. But having that collaboration among writers and readers can make the story even better than you had imagined.

44 thoughts on “When comments become collaboration…

  1. It’s very similar to having a jam session with other musicians. You start the chord progression, then someone adds a different chord and the song gets taken to a place not originally envisioned.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I know. I think J gets annoyed by me wanting her look at photos. She enjoys my work, but she’s not invested like I am. They’re my babies. I know what aperture was used, where I was standing, when there’s an object there I didn’t notice at first, etc. She just sees a pic. It’s different when it’s yours.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s so good that the vast majority of WP comments, in all areas, are supportive, and helpful. We seem such a nice bunch who are able to put any differences aside, to work for the common good. If only we could spread that to the world!

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    1. I agree! Its been a rare commenter that hasn’t been positive, even when giving a little critique. There is nothing worse than having something you’ve worked hard at and put your heart into being trashed by a troll! Indeed, if the world operated in that fashion, so many of our problems could be solved!

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      1. Well what a load of old crap 😦

        Haha, of course I’m joking, just jostling the WP apple cart. As you know Meg I’m usually ‘all about the art’ rather than the wordsmith posts but this was good to read and I totally agree, this collaboration just wouldn’t have existed back in the day with the author hunched over the typewriter by candlelight.

        I wondered how you’d feel about the blogging if you were just creating artwork rather than words though? Hypothetically of course.

        Would it be enough to post on Instagram / Pinterest / Facebook with just captioned images ? Of course you get the same immediate feedback though obviously there’s a fair amount of “fluff” rather than any critique as such – a pro/con of the ease of use and audience no doubt.

        There is a real reason behind the question incidentally, it’s not just an idle curiosity but as you’ve been at this longer than me I though I’d ask the doctor’s advice 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s a good question regarding artwork alone. Since I began with writing and only added my art to this existing blog, most of the comments I get on the artwork are also from my ‘writing’ readers. I wonder if I was starting from scratch if I’d have chosen WordPress as my online medium. That being said, I do follow other art blogs but my feeling is that there’s a lot less commenting compared to ‘likes’ – maybe commenting on art is more intimidating? Or because art is much more open to interpretation, would critique be as constructive? Mistakes in writing are kind of obvious, and a savvy reader can point them out without really insulting a writer (me at least) in the rough draft stage. How would that kind of feedback translate to art? It’s so subjective!

        Of course, for an artist, an art only blog or an Instagram or Facebook page are all part of the online presence we need to showcase our work. Even without the comments and feedback, it’s a way to attract people who may want to own a piece of your art. And there is a ‘pay to play’ kind of thing that goes on in the beginning. You need to go out and follow, like and comment in order to get people to reciprocate. After the blog is established for a while, then it sort of takes on a life of itself.

        As for collaboration, I’ve had two other writers use my illustrations for their stories with my compliments. But how cool would it be to create art along with an author writing a book and maybe get paid for it? That is when a connection made here would be absolute magic!

        I’m not sure that answered your question…. 🙂🙃🙂


  3. Oooh this is most appropriate for me! I’m up to chapter 20 of my book and not sure whether to simply keep on going or ask for any feedback at this stage. And besides, with Beta readers, how can you be certain that nobody will take your story and run away? Sounds silly, but after all the work, I’d hate to lose it. Any suggestions? Katie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t share with my beta readers until the first draft is finished. I suppose there is a risk in letting your story out there for public viewing. If that is something that really worries you, find non-writers to read your story. They can at least bring to your attention, the inconsistencies in the story, ideas that seem confusing and other big picture issues. Then when you’ve made adjustments, use a professional copyeditor to check your grammar, spelling and punctuation. My beta team consists of three women and two men who are all avid readers but not writers and I have a professional freelance editor for the final draft. I also have two other writers who I trust to give feedback who I am sure won’t be ripping off my stuff! Keep making connections, Katie. You will find your tribe!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My research finding beta readers to critique WIP has lead me back to our reading and writing community. Our followers, for the most part, are supportive and I embrace their criticism to improve my work. Its true, our posts may expose an inconsistency in a story.
    A writer was about to self-publish a story from a blog post which had story flaws. I discreetly brought up my concerns which were received appreciatively before they published.
    I hope my followers will do the same for me when I’m ready to take that plunge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that kind of feedback is so valuable. I would so much rather ‘embarrass’ myself among my blog followers than in publishing. Highlighting mistakes has been a source of material for blog posts, too. That way other new writers can see what I did wrong and how I corrected it! 😜

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, yes! I can attest to that. There are a couple of your stories I felt that way about. When you have a great idea going, the reader wanting to know what happens next is the best compliment a writer can get!


    1. You’re not wrong. When we begin any new endeavor we need experienced colleagues to offer suggestions and critique. Joining a writing group and/or finding one online is a good way to start. Best of luck!


      1. That’s a great way to get started. I knew what you meant. I did a lot of reading about writing in the beginning too. And I still follow lots of other writers for suggestions too! 😃


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