Okay, say your mom/dad/sister/brother/cousin/aunt/uncle—you get the picture—hands you their newly finished manuscript to read. They’ve toiled and slaved over it for months, they put heart and soul into it. It’s their baby. You read it and it’s okay but doesn’t blow your mind. You’ve read better, you might even have read worse. Or worse case scenario it sucks to high heaven and you have to force yourself through to the end. (That’s if you can make it through without ripping out your hair.)
Do you know where this is going?
Would you be able to truthfully own up to the fact that it really wasn’t your cup of tea or would you be like those family members from American Idol who tell their loved ones how great they are when their singing truly sucks?
I’ve been thinking about this since having sent one of my manuscripts to someone recently, wondering if it’s not putting this person in an awkward position.
I’ve never critiqued any one’s work before. To be quite truthful I don’t know if I could be 100% honest if I didn’t like it at all, and maybe I’d try to talk myself into liking it more than I did especially if it was written by a family member.
I guess I’m wondering how people who offer critiques can do so honestly without fear of crushing someone’s dream?
I have to think that if the person in question were another writer looking for honest feedback it would be much easier than someone who was just hoping to have some validation for their work.
For those who have critiqued another’s work are you brutally honest if you just don’t like the story or do you sprinkle dollops of praise in with the criticism? If the person just couldn’t write worth beans would you discourage them from writing at all? And yet, what if the writing is good but the story wasn’t your kind of story? We’ve all come across those books. Does the fact that I don’t like something mean it shouldn’t be published?
Sorry for the many questions. Just a few things I’ve been mulling over in my mind. I wouldn’t mind hearing what your thoughts are on this.