If You Agree to Read for a Writer…

Just a few tips if you agree to read something a friend writes…from the writer’s point of view:

  1. If you agree to be a reader for a writer’s work in progress, be prepared to offer specific feedback.  The writer wants your help, they aren’t providing you with something fun to read solely for your entertainment.  If you aren’t willing to help then don’t agree to read until the manuscript is completely finished.
  2. Be aware the writer is depending on your feedback before they make further revisions.  Be prompt with your reading and don’t leave them waiting.  Some writers are working on a deadline, others are trying to continue their revisions while the story is fresh, before the inspiration runs dry.  Try to respect a writer’s time.
  3. Try to read the provided manuscript within a few weeks of receiving it.  If you can’t, please let the writer know…don’t leave them waiting and wondering (if you say nothing it gives them the impression you hate it, when in actuality you may not have read it yet so try to understand how they feel).
  4. Good and bad feedback is desired, don’t be afraid to offer constructive criticism.  In fact, be as specific as you can.  Don’t just say, “It was good” or “it wasn’t my style” and not offer anything else.  This wastes the writer’s time and it isn’t helpful at all.
  5. Writers are emotionally invested in their writing, they don’t expect you to have the same level of enthusiasm for it.  But, if you show an interest in their writing and talk to them about the details of their story, they will appreciate it.

That’s all for now, I’m sure more tips will come to mind later.  I’ve only given my first manuscript out for readers, some of them have been very good.  Others…well, not so much.  I don’t want to be rude and bother my readers to be faster, but some of them have had my manuscript for two months and haven’t offered me any feedback.  I have no idea if they’ve even read it yet, the waiting is killing me!  If they don’t have time I wish they would just say so.  If nothing else, it’s giving me a better idea of who to ask to be a reader for my next manuscript (the first draft of manuscript #2 should be done by the end of the month, yay!)

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3 responses to “If You Agree to Read for a Writer…

  1. Very good points. It’s one fear I have of having anyone read what I write. Not that they won’t like it, but that they won’t bother to tell me anything about it at all.

    • Too bad none of my readers will probably ever see this list. Even though I tried to explain to all of them before I gave them my manuscript what I wanted, I’m still sitting here waiting. I don’t want to bother them, but I’m beginning to lose my patience because they don’t seem to understand that I’d like to finish the project before I lose interest and inspiration for it. So it’s not a deadline issue for me, it’s making sure the creative spark is still there. How do I explain that to a non-writer? Well, one of them wants to be a writer so I thought they would understand and not leave me waiting for two months, but I guess not.

      • Sorry to hear that, some people just don’t “get it” and it’s not just with writing but in all areas of life. Punctuality is an art lost on a lot of people.

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