What do you do when a good friend or relative asks you to read her manuscript, give it a "critique" (or at least tell her what you think of it), and. . .it's not good? Not only is it not good, but it also breaks all the rules of writing--all the rules that first-time authors are definitely supposed to follow. She makes mistakes like changing points of view without any sort of pattern, using cliche sentences and story lines, and including improper grammar and punctuation. What do you do?
Do you save your relationship and tell her it's great? Do you tell her a few things you like and gently explain some of the mistakes? Do you offer resources she should read before she continues writing? OR do you just give a completely honest critique because she asked for it?
Some published authors I know won't read people's manuscripts for this very reason. They don't want to put themselves in a situation where someone close to them has hurt feelings. Let's face it--we 're all close to our writing; and even if we know there are problems with our story and we want to learn how to fix them, it still hurts when every single person who reads our work doesn't think it's brilliant.
It's hard to say no, however, when someone very close to you is excited about writing and asks you to read a manuscript and give your opinion. So, what do you do? Has this ever happened to you? How did you handle it? If you did give honest advice, how did the receiver take it? Did the person even listen to you?
On a day when we celebrate fathers (Happy Father's Day! to any dads or soon-to-be dads out there) and think about all the advice our own dads have given us over the years, I thought it would be appropriate to ponder this situation about giving advice (critiques), which is sure to happen to many of us writers at sometime in our lives.
post by Margo L. Dill, www.margodill.com
photo by AMagill www.flickr.com