So what kinds of things do I want to hear about my writing from my readers ("readers" in my case means "family and friends")?
First of all, I want to hear what the reader liked about that piece. Not only is this nice because it gives me a self-confidence boost, but it gives me an idea of what worked the best in my story. It's also fun to see if the reader's favourite lines are the same as mine. (As it turns out, usually they aren't).
I want to make sure what I wanted to come across in my story came across clearly enough. If the reader is confused and isn't getting it, I need to fix that.
Obviously, this is really important. What isn't working? What do I need to fix? It's always good to get a second opinion. Sometimes I just can't tell whether something works or not, or if it's just in my head. That's where another person's perspective comes in handy.
This is one thing I really love hearing - what the reader was feeling while reading my work. Whether they were sad when this happened to that character, or whether they were shocked when that happened. I want to know what's going on inside the reader's head. I feel like these are the kinds of things big authors hear from their fans sometimes. :) I don't know, these things are just nice to hear. Also, again, it helps to figure out what works.
Hmm... I kind of feel nervous putting that on this list. Do I really want people nit-picking my work? For those who don't what "nit-picking" is... it's when you get down right to the tiny little details. (It's a phrase used often in my choirs, right before concerts :D). What I mean by nit-picking as far as critiques go, is that I don't just want an overview of "this was good, this was bad". I want my work to be completely analyzed, and thoroughly. This would be ideal, anyway.
However, I don't always want my work to be read with critiquing it in mind. Sometimes I just want people to read my work. It's funny, actually. Depending on the work, I'll send them to different people. One of my friends is excellent for providing the reader insight, without the critiquing part. I can always count on her to tell me her feelings on the work. Another one of my friends is an excellent critique partner who knows more about writing than my other friend does. I'll send her stuff I want to be critiqued thoroughly. Then another one of my friends I find loves poems, so I'll send her the poems I write sometimes. Um... well, that was a rabbit trail if I ever saw one. There really was no point to that.
What do you want from the readers of your work?