Many confuse giving feedback with identifying grammatical and spelling errors. They are NOT the same. Nowadays, most word processing software programs can do the latter, but not the former. And in truth, until the next to last draft is on the table, correcting spelling is futile.
Giving feedback that helps the writer/designer revise is not only harder than it seems, but absolutely necessary.
In our project, we must give feedback on everything we design so that the product works smoothly, can be played and enjoyed with ease, and challenges at just the right level.
Our writing team gives feedback as we review drafts of scripts, storyboards, and song lyrics. Here are some of the questions two of our team members ask of the work in it’s first draft.
- Does it entertain? Or is it preachy?
- Is it clear and understandable? vs. Confusing?
- Is it tight? Or has the writer indulged in places where the audience loses sight of what is really going on at the writer’s delight? How can the writer trim the fat?
- Does the story follow the expected structure?
- Is the dialogue purposeful with plants and payoffs vs. dead ends and extra fluff?
- Is there a metamorphosis of the main character? What prompts their change? Is it plausible?
- Does it convey what the writer intended? (As identified by the writer)
- Are the voices consistent? Or do the character bleed together and become indistinguishable?
- Is there anything specific the writer has asked me to help with?
Karen begins with statements, but asks questions where she is confused. Frequently her confusion is because the writer is still confused. By asking the question, Karen forces the writer to face the issue and clarify. And finally, Karen draws a clear line between feedback and collaboration. If she has been asked to collaborate (which she is in this project) then she makes suggestions for the problems identified. If she is merely giving feedback, she leaves the problem-solving to the writer.
- The first page has to create the setting and it has to be interesting. Some start with clever dialogue like Sorkin and Tarantino. As long as it keeps me interested enough to read on to page 2.
- Typically, I don’t really care about spelling or grammar in the first draft. I only care if a story exists.
- I always look for a three act structure. A beginning (call to action). A middle (adventure). And end (resolution).
What do you ask a first draft?