One question I have struggled with and, likely will continue to just be befuddled about, is when do you share what you have written.  Particularly when the writing is going to be fiction length.
I struggled with this concept while writing The Trust.  Not knowing the protocol - translate that I just had no clue when to let others read what I had written - when I finished the first draft of the Prologue to The Trust, I decided to have another set of eyes look over my efforts.  
Not a success at all, but then not the biggest of failures.  The feedback I received was that the several pages of text read well, but since the Prologue actually was taking place in the middle of the book's timeline, it was only a slight bit confusing.  If anything the response and feedback was just, well, rather blah.
The main feedback was there simply wasn't enough there to know if it was good or not.
So I decided I needed to be a bit guarded in how I shared it.  This ultimately ended up with me not showing any further portions of the book to anyone at all until I was done.  I should point out that this gave rise to many questions as to there being any progress at all.
Probably not the best of ideas - but it then again worked for me.  
If you use my approach you'll be, well, writing in exile and in some ways in a vacuum.  That and all of the edits - and there were many - had to be done on one time.  
Writer's groups come to mind for me here.  I didn't use a writer's group for the actual writing, rather I would talk plot ideas to anyone who would listen.  If you use my approach and don't share till you're done, then the idea of a writer's group along and along sorta gets thrown by the wayside.  
If you do let people read along and along, I believe that it would be of benefit to generally try to keep people reading in order that way they have some sense of where the story had been.  The pitfall of having only a partial chapter, and perhaps pitfall is too harsh of a word, is that context can be a problem.  
So is there a right or wrong answer as to when to let others read?  Likely no.  For me I've found that if I have the entire product then then the feedback I get is better because it lets me take everything in context.
Well, at least a context that works for me.


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Comment by I. J. Parker on February 6, 2011 at 8:08am

From what I have heard, some authors pass the finished novel around. I like to get ongoing feedback, so I send off each chapter as it gets done.  My lone reader is the only person left from a writers group that met every two weeks and commented on the previous week's submissions. Fortunately, they operated on the sincere wish to make the thing better.  In other words: I got neither malicious attacks nor flattery.  What it did get was each individual's reaction, and that's a very good thing to have.


You might encourage your readers to focus on improving the ms. along with telling you when something really works for them.

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