courtesy of Estee Janssen via Unsplash

Often it’s a big help to have early readers or critique partners read your manuscript and provide you with feedback. Here are some potential questions to ensure a productive process:

  • What did you like and dislike about the first chapter?
  • Where did you get bored? [To encourage honest feedback, I feel like this is better than asking “Did you get bored at any point?”]
  • Did you like the main character or at least understand where they were coming from?
  • Did the plot make sense?
  • What was confusing or unclear?
  • Are the characters sufficiently distinct or did you lose track of who was who?
  • Did the dialogue sound realistic?
  • What pulled you out of the story?
  • Was the story too long or too short?
  • Was the ending satisfying? What would make it more satisfying?

While you may not wish to ask every reader all these questions, they provide a starting point.

You can, of course, disregard feedback that doesn’t resonate with your vision for the story. But it’s such a gift to understand how various readers are interpreting what you’ve written.

Some early readers may prefer to provide feedback in a less structured way. I’ve had some who don’t provide written feedback at all, but who are happy to chat over lunch about their big picture thoughts. Based on my experience, it’s all immensely useful.

Best of luck as you engage with your early readers — hope this has been helpful!