queenofzan: (Default)
queenofzan ([personal profile] queenofzan) wrote2010-02-04 11:35 pm
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Blah blah no one cares

I hate it when my RL friends ask me for advice on writing. Not when they have some specific issue or something. But when it's a friend who thinks writing twenty pages of a story definitely means they're going to finish and publish this book and they might have to fix some punctuation errors or something and they ask "what I think"...

It's pretty uncomfortable for me. I mean, I know we all start somewhere, and that's where most of us start, but there are also a lot of people who get to that point and then never do anything with writing ever again. The friend in question in this case is kind of a flighty type in the first place, so I will believe his commitment to this story/writing when I see it.

But, like, I don't know what to say. My urge to constantly analyze things and talk about what makes writing good and point out flaws always fights with the knowledge that saying something too harsh to the wrong person can make that friendship awkward (or, depending on the person, nonexistent).

The problem in this case is that the key idea of the story really is quite good. It's interesting. There could be some interesting themes about fate and second chances and etc. It's the sort of idea where you hear it and you go, Ooh, I'd love to write that, except, you know, the person who came up with it is a good enough friend they'd call you on it and get pissed, and not good enough that you can ask to snag the idea.

I find I have this problem often enough to get very weary of it. I don't know how to tell people that the ability to put words in a row doesn't make them a writer, and while I applaud the effort, nineteen pages into a story (with many common beginner flaws and a slightly below average grasp of grammar) is a little early to be talking about publishing and the sequel you'll write.

THAT SAID, I did my best to be encouraging and compliment the idea behind the story and pointed out the most immediately fixable of its flaws (in this case, the flowery dialogue in a modern-day story) and to generally not be a bitch. But still. I feel like I ought to make up a sign. Something about not running a writing clinic. I don't know.