The importance of feedback from readers

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I was talking with a reader of mine on-line earlier. He was asking about my next novel and I mentioned that the Knights Templar will feature significantly.I’ve edited the conversation slightly but it went something like this.
Jack Barrow:
The Templars are due to be a major theme of my next novel if I can ever get around to writing it.
A Reader:
That sounds right up my alley! I may have to get a copy when you are done with it. I’m nearly done with Hidden Masters, some of the humour in it is brilliant – “You breathe it in. You’ve got a cold, not constipation!” What area of the Templars will you cover? A comical quest for the Holy Grail?
Jack Barrow:
The Templars are involved on the Welsh borders in the modern world. I can’t say too much until it’s written.
I don’t recognise that quote. Are you sure you’re reading my book?
A Reader:
The scene where Clint is making a herbal remedy for Wayne’s cold. p.131 Templars story sounds good, how far along are you with it?
Jack Barrow:
Okay I remember, the infusion scene. That scene is one of the ones that might get chopped in the second edition. It doesn’t do much for the story but I suppose it does help develop Clint as a character. The new book is about two chapters done, but has been stuck at that for about 198 months.
A Reader:
That’s a shame, I do like the side scenes. I feel it gives an insight into their relationships with one another and the one liners are brilliant.
Ah, good luck with it. Lets hope it doesn’t take another 198 more.

Jack Barrow:
Oh, sorry, typo, it was meant to say 18 months but it does feel like 198. Interestingly though if the side scenes help to develop the characters then perhaps they should stay. Feedback like that is always useful. I might blog that.
So here I am thinking now that the bits of the story that don’t add much are more important that I thought. What can you do without feedback?

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