Sometimes this is something as simple as a new follower on the story, other times it's more detailed reviews like this one: "So many times I just wanted to kick <Boy's> ass and kick it HARD... What an all time prick... And how strong was <Girl>? With all that life through at her she remained true, strong and loving, even to her <Boy>. You made me cry and cry I did and more than once. But it just shows how true to life you write. We can relate and that’s what’s so good about your stories. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again I love your style and look forward to reading more and more of your work." (Genuine review of one of my stories from a now very good friend).
This feedback, however great or terrible, however long or short, always gave me a kick in the pants to keep writing. They provided the one thing which is very easy to lose when you're pouring everything you can into a story, the one thing I may have lost a little of in recent weeks: motivation.
In writing my current series, I have had very little in the way of feedback. I've had some early and invaluable input by two Twitter friends (thank you Michelle & Louise, you know who you are). I've had a lot of input from my wonderful & ever-patient prereader (including many random, "Do you know of this expression/food/etc" at crazy, stupid times of the day & night for her). (Jen you know I love you for all the help you give me). I've had feedback from the publishers which launched a round of major revisions and added an extra sequel. On top of that, I have been getting bits and pieces of feedback on the next book in the series. However, compared to the reviews I was getting when I posted a fanfiction chapter, it can still feel like there is almost no feedback. It's not regular and recurring. Worse still, none of it relates to what I've just written.
I should note at this point, that the purpose of this post isn't to complain (or to put out a request for more pre-readers and feedback), it's just a statement about the nature of the beast when doing a task that is as solitary as writing can be. It's merely an observation about differences I've found in two versions of the same art-form. I do have to admit that it's made me much more inclined to leave reviews, or at very least star ratings, on Amazon or Goodreads for books I finish.
Today I will leave you with two questions: Do you go generally leave reviews for books you read? And would you like to see more posts about the differences I've discovered between writing fanfiction and writing an original series (maybe even including what fanfiction taught me and why I couldn't imagine what my series would be like if I didn't have that grounding)?