Last week I put out a request to friends and family to read the first two chapters of my novel and supply feedback. The response was great, but the feedback they sent me back was even better.
By better, I'm not saying all their comments were positive. What was great, and oh so appreciated, was the fact they took time to read the chapters and give their honest opinions.
I asked two questions when I sent out the chapters:
1) Does the beginning hook you?
2) Is there anything unclear or confusing?
The overwhelming response was that yes, readers were hooked and wanted to read more (yay!). The second most common response was that there was some confusion in chapter two with all of the information I tried to impart.
Other comments included problems with pacing and needing more character development earlier. There were also some inconsistencies in the text that I didn't catch. All easily fixable.
I don't know why I'm surprised at how valuable this feedback is in going forward. It's given me confidence, but it was also a much needed reality check. Thanks to all who have read the manuscript so far and sent me your thoughts!