So, How Do You Like My Novel?

Every writer should bring drafts of their work to beta-readers, workshoppers, kind friends and family to read. This is for the simple fact that it’s literally impossible for us to see the blind-spots in our work. But, the problem is often that people’s feedback can be well-intentioned but yet not useful. Readers often don’t know how to tell you what’s not working, let alone how to fix it. And that’s assuming they’re even willing to risk their relationship with you to tell you that they don’t like (at least some part) of your work in the first place!

Luckily, story consultant extraordinaire, Lisa Cron, has given us some pointers on what kind of feedback we should ask for.

First, ask your readers to read what you’ve shared. At the end, ask them the following questions:

  1. What do you think is going to happen next?
  2. Who do you think the important characters are?
  3. What do you think the characters want?
  4. What, if anything, leaps out as a setup?
  5. What information did you think was really important?
  6. What information were you dying to know?
  7. What did you find confusing?

Walking the Goose, Part 52

Dogs are always barking at Goose. People don’t bark as much. But sometimes we get into it too.

Today, a guy is walking towards us and as he got close, Goose tries to jump on him. He gets startled and yells out, “Go ahead, make my day!”

It sounds like a joke. But he’s looking pretty angry. He keeps walking but is turned back glaring at us.

I yell out, “What are you so mad about!?”

He says, “You know what I’m talking about!”

I say, “Don’t be dick, man. No one’s hurting you!”

He says back, “Go ahead, come on over here! We’ll see what happens! You prick!”

I yell back, “You must be having a really bad day!”

He’s still walking. I can go after him. But really? Am I that guy? And he is bigger than me. I’m not actually interested in physically fighting him. Thankfully he isn’t interested either.

We’re just barking.

November 3rd

2.88 miles

Walking the Goose, Part 48

The lost Husky is back.

Walked by his house today and saw some movement from behind the gate. Got close, and there he was. At first he’s sniffing at Goose and Goose is sniffing at him.

I say, “Hey, look who’s here.”

Then the Chiwawa gets in on the deal. It starts barking up a storm. The Husky, of course, joins in.

They’re barking and yapping and screeching at us.

They can barely hear me as I say, “Welcome back, guys, welcome back.”

October 30th

3.54 miles

Walking the Goose, Part 47


Saw this guy today. Crawling across a rather wide sidewalk. Not really making good time, but slow and steady wins the race, right?

Odds are, he makes it.

But who knows.

A crow could come by and snatch him up. Some random human and step on him, on purpose or inadvertently.

I guess I could have picked him up and put him up on a tree leaf somewhere. But I didn’t. Maybe it’s a Star Trek Prime Directive thing or something. Who knows. But at least the little guy had his moment in the sun.

October 29th

3.32 miles

Walking the Goose, Part 46

There are two older women at the park. Each of them have three dogs.


One of them is crazy. I mean that, I believe, with a high degree of compassion. But I also mean it literally. In the clinical sense. Like she can’t test reality accurately. Paranoid Schizophrenia might be an appropriate diagnosis. But I was never really good at diagnosis.

I’ve never met this woman before, but as me and goose come up she’s yelling at us, “What are you doing! Are you crazy! Bringing your dog over here!”

Her dogs are going nuts. They’re little. Which means they’re loud and high pitched. I keep walking.

I tell Goose, “Don’t worry. Just leave it.”

As we pass she’s still yelling at us. And then not yelling any more. Just loudly complaining, “Oh my God, I can’t believe they did that!”

It’s okay. I want to confront her. But what would be the point of that.

Then there’s the other lady. She’s what you might call normal. She stops as we get close and smiles.

She asks me, “Is your dog friendly?”

I say, “Yes, too friendly.”

We let our dogs sniff each other a little bit.

She says, “Your dog is beautiful.”

She says it a couple times. I say, “Thanks.” Then we go on our way.

I wonder what makes someone one way and someone another way. Why one is crazy and one is sane? Genetics? Life experience? Bad choices. Bad personalities. Who knows.

There but by the grace of God go I, tho, right?

October 27th

3.32 miles