I prefer to work with individuals rather than a group and the person I've worked most with over the years is Accalia Leigh. Since meeting in high school writing has been a foundation of our friendship, navigating the intricate layers of plot, characterisation and world building a constant source of joy for us both. One of the most challenging aspects of assisting someone else with their book is providing feedback without rewriting their story in your own words.
The first full story I helped Accalia edit was 'Dance of the Chaos Winds'. It, more than the ones that followed, suffered from this aspect of me being a novice editor. Because I had particular word preferences, sentence structures and even punctuation styles I liberally applied these to 'Chaos Winds'. As a result, the story has a lot of my author's voice in it. What an author should do is suggest changes based on sentence structure, comprehensiveness and story enrichment, not make another's tale their own.
Thankfully, Accalia and me have increased our editing experience so this is not nearly as much of an issue anymore. Something I've found helps to eliminate this tendency is planning multiple editing sessions. The flow I usually follow is: Round 1 consists primarily of detail-oriented editing like sentence structure, word choice and comprehensiveness. Round 2 involves a deeper look at the story, characters and world, ensuring that each of the aforementioned is fleshed out, believable and interesting. Depending on how much editing is required in rounds 1 and 2, a 3rd round might be necessary so that the changes are well-integrated.
Accalia and I usually alternate between stories at different stages of editing to avoid boredom and errors linked to familiarity. An example is that, once round 2 of Story A is complete, we will move onto editing Story B in round 1. Once round 1 of Story B has been completed, we will then go back to Story A and perform a round 3 edit.
This sequence has worked very well and our stories are much improved by it. Having a dedicated writing/editing partner is amazing and should be treasured. It's just as important to have as many readers as possible review the story since, the more who do, the better it will become. Every person has their strength when it comes to narratives as well as their preferences. Incorporating the opinions of multiple readers will make the story the strongest it can be.
On that note, I want to say that you, the author, should not feel pressured to utilise all the recommendations you receive. You envisioned and wrote the tale so are the person who knows best what you're trying to say in it. All feedback is valuable, but what you implement should only bolster your original vision, not transform it into someone else's.
April Camp NANOWRIMO is next month. If you're looking for a community of writers to support your creative endeavours, it's a fantastic place to start!